Dev-Ops Transforms Traditional Business For The Mobile/Digital Marketplace and Fast
Ross Clanton who is an advocate of Dev-Ops and until recently played a key role driving technology transformation at Target, is the guest on The Guardian Podcast with Ryn Melberg this week. The Guardian Podcast can be heard on iTunes, Soundcloud or at www.rynmelberg.com. With a career in IT development, Clanton first recognized dysfunction in the industry five years ago and found that the Dev-Ops approach was a way to break through ‘silos’ that so often hinder work and progress at larger organizations.
Large Enterprise Conversions
Clanton shared that he was interested in larger organizations and working at the corporate level to help engineer Dev-Op transformations. At its core, Dev-Ops is a tool that helps companies evolve into a mobile and fully digital environment. Its origin was to deliver software faster and with fewer ‘bugs’ than was possible with traditional project management. But in a larger way, Dev-Ops is a set of development team practices with a unique culture. “At its core, Dev-Ops is about community and those practicing it want to share,”
Clanton said. “As people get more focused on transformation and are more active, there is a recognition of the value of sharing experiences and information. Communities of like-minded people are at the core of Dev-Ops. There are lots of definitions of Dev-Ops, but my views are that it’s about a culture optimized for agility coupled with learning and sharing modern technology practices. ”
Breaking Silos With Flash Builds
Clanton lamented the amount of time it took to get anything done working traditionally, across departments and functions inside big companies. He believed that using Dev-Ops could erase months of delay and was able to prove it with experimental ‘flash builds’. In a tryout to prove his belief, Clanton and his team had two sprints where the team would build something worthwhile, get feedback, and use that reaction to improve the product. “The work from the flash builds took a single day where it would have taken 16 weeks had we done it the old way,” Clanton said. “It was easier to get people to accept the idea of Dev-Ops after they witnessed that success.”
In fact, that success led to business requests for similar results. Clanton evolved the flash build from a single day’s experiment into a regular service that was offered to internal customers. He later led a ‘Dojo’ where a team of experts would collaborate with different teams to accelerate learning and help them drive results based on the principles of Dev-Ops and Agile. At its peak of productivity, the Dojo could work on ten different parallel projects with eighty people involved.
Future of Dev-Ops
Clanton sees Dev-Ops as a positive cultural force inside business but with a few caveats. “People doing the work have to embrace and believe in the process. Without that it will be hard to succeed,” he said. “Get everyone to embrace the process from the most senior IT executives to the person at the bottom of the organization. And get them all to learn to pivot quickly, adapt to changing needs, and focus on adding value.”
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