DevOps is a Boost Caboose for Agile Methodology and Software Delivery
March 02, 2017

Matthew Hines
CA Technologies

A recent trip to Mountain View gave me a sick feeling in the stomach as I saw them everywhere – Google's heavily automated self-driving automobiles.

If that's what you want to call them. To me – someone who revels in the thundering sound of Ducati motorcycles or the not-so-subtle growl of modified BMW sport sedans – those little white bumps designed for people who would rather text than drive represent something altogether different, a threat to my personal freedoms.

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OK, I get it, I'm probably half the reason some people would prefer such a machine; I want to go fast, and I want you to get out of my way, and if you don't I'm either going to pass you or lean on my horn until you move over to the slow lane where you belong. What do you expect? I grew up driving the streets of Boston.

Discussions of apocalyptic futures where they take away my keys aside, like many other gearheads, I'm obsessed with the online (TV?) program "Roadkill", brainchild of Hot Rod Magazine editors David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan. For those unfamiliar, the show involves these two grinning automotive jackals (bless their hearts) wrenching on self-titled "junk" in the name of exhaust-spewing, tire-killing hilarity.

Typical Roadkill projects involve stuffing a supercharged Chevy big block into a 1974 Jaguar , mating an old Monte Carlo body to a late-model NASCAR chassis to put it on the street, and converting a 1950 Ford F6 industrial pickup truck into a smog-belching wheelie machine. [Insert fist pump.]

But I digress…

The fact is that in one particular episode ["The Boost Caboose!", Ep. 57], Finnegan and Freiburger did something pretty innovative. In an attempt to improve on the leaf-blower-into-supercharger setup they had previously implemented on a 1978 Chevy Monza, they developed an even more effective form of forced air induction [more air into supercharger = more power = faster, in theory].

To increase the level of thrust blown into their motor, they put another huge engine on a trailer pulled behind the car, with that engine blasting air into the Monza's supercharger.

Voila! The "Boost Caboose" was born, and minds were blown everywhere. A secondary engine pulled on a trailer for the explicit purpose of increasing the output of the primary engine. Yow!

DevOps is a Boost Caboose for Agile and the SDLC

If your work or interests involve building software, and not noodling with cars, thanks for sticking with me to this point – here's where I stitch together the connective tissue of this analogy.

In many ways, DevOps is its own form of Boost Caboose for application of agile methodologies within the modern software factory and SDLC/ADLC processes.

This point was reinforced by the recent report published by researchers Coleman Parkes, Accelerating Velocity and Customer Value with Agile and DevOps.

In the initial Coleman Parkes report, we saw a litany of interesting results based on a survey related to agile and DevOps practices, including:

■ 81% of execs believe that both are critical to digital transformation

■ More than 80% are using each to some degree

■ Advanced agile users see a 40% improvement in time-to-decision

■ Advanced DevOps users see a 42% improvement in speed-to-market

■ 88% of advanced agile adopters, and 87% of advanced DevOps users, see an improvement in all-important customer experience

Additionally, in looking at the specifics of using agile and DevOps in concert, respondents indicated that adding DevOps practices to an agile working environment boosted new business growth by 63% more than using agile alone. Impressive.

In a set of additional results not published in the initial report, there's more fuel to the "Boost Caboose" [agile + DevOps = SDLC horsepower] fire. According to the Coleman Parkes data, organizations that qualify as both advanced agile and advanced DevOps practitioners saw overall speed-to-market increase by over 44%; those same organizations saw customer satisfaction grow by over 52% and new business increase by over 50%, overall.

Importantly, advanced agile and DevOps shops also experienced over 53% improvement in employee productivity, and over 50% increase in the quality of their development.

So, there, you have it, strong proof that leveraging agile and DevOps together can and will have a significant impact on a lot of key indicators that likely show up on the bottom line. Some say you can't do DevOps without agile, but if you're trying, or haven't yet jumped into DevOps, perhaps you should take a closer look.

Plus, consider that only about a third of those organizations involved in this study said that they've deployed either practice widely; meaning, there's still a ton of work, and related benefits, left to appreciate.

In the meantime, I'll keep saving up for that Tesla.

Matthew Hines is Principal Product Marketing Manager, DevOps, at CA Technologies.

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