Tuesday, 20th October 2020

DevOps organisations struggle with software deliver challenges

Sharing information between siloed teams, communicating, quantifying costs and developing holistic processes to deliver software emerge as top issues.

A survey released by Accelerated Strategies Group (ASG), and commissioned by CloudBees, shows that enterprises continue to struggle in their efforts to deliver software efficiently and strategically. A majority of respondents experience problems in leveraging information to make data-driven decisions, communicating between teams and management layers, dealing with “software sprawl” and accurately quantifying the cost of feature delivery delays. However, the researchers saw evidence that many organizations have been able to tackle some of the facets of modern software delivery management, but there is still much room for improvement.

These findings, available in the 2020 State of Software Delivery Management Report, illustrate a larger problem: The need for a new approach called Software Delivery Management (SDM). Software Delivery Management is the alignment of processes, practices, tools and organizational structures that allow teams to share information and collaborate more effectively. Being proficient in SDM promotes the delivery of software in more efficient and predictable ways, driving definable business value.

“The survey validates what we’ve known for some time – that software value streams are being blocked by inefficiencies across teams, tools, technology stacks and delivery processes,” said Shawn Ahmed, senior vice-president and general manager, Software Delivery Automation, CloudBees. “Software Delivery Management can remediate these flaws and remove blockers from the process of getting software to market. Adoption of SDM will help organizations accelerate their digital transformations through technology rationalization and modernization, process improvement, culture evolution and implementation of organizational change.”

Respondents to the survey, conducted by Accelerated Strategies Group, included IT practitioners, managers, leaders and C-suite executives from small, medium and large organizations in the United States and nine other countries.

The research found that a large majority of respondents’ firms face significant challenges that the principles of SDM can alleviate. For example:

● 84% of respondents said the inaccessibility of information got in the way of their ability to do their jobs and/or make data-driven decisions. Respondents attributed this to organizational and functional silos impeding the free flow of information to IT practitioners and senior leadership.

● Nearly two thirds (65%) said they’re unable to quantify the cost of feature delivery delays, blocking their ability to accurately project overall lost opportunity costs.

● “Software sprawl” is rampant and hinders data-driven decision making due to multiple technology stacks across multiple generations of technologies in use within organizations. This also negatively impacts collaboration.

Many organizations have been able to tackle some of the facets of modern software delivery management, as evidenced by 61% of respondents saying they are able to shorten lead time for feature delivery and 67% saying they are able to prioritize development of features based on expected business impact. However, it is clear there is still much room for improvement in achieving a complete SDM strategy.

Based on the research, ASG identified three key capabilities to help organizations increase software delivery efficiency. Organizations need to:

● Quantify the impact of investment in software delivery: More than 50% of survey respondents can’t compare developers’ time spent on new feature development vs. time spent on retiring technical debt. SDM principles support universal insights - visibility into data across, as well as up and down the end-to-end software delivery process, and accessible to all functions within the organization. Opportunity cost (ignoring technical debt) and business value (new feature development) can be surfaced, as well as many other metrics and learnings.

● Enable software delivery teams to communicate and collaborate effectively and efficiently: More than 60% said functional silos still exist in their organizations. With an SDM strategy, sharing information aligns processes to software delivery activities, enabling maximum collaboration between all functions and teams within and around the software delivery organization.

● Have end-to-end visibility into the value flow of their software delivery streams: More than 50% don’t have access to data from tools across multiple applications and projects. SDM principles support a common data model that unifies and democratizes data from tools and systems in use, providing the visibility and actionable insights needed to measure and manage development progress. Stakeholders throughout the organization have access to the relevant software delivery data they need in order to perform their jobs effectively, at any time.

“We’ve just scratched the surface when it comes to SDM,” said Mitchell Ashley, CEO and managing analyst with Accelerated Strategies Group. “The need is there, and the survey shows that organizations driving in the direction of SDM are gaining traction. These organizations mature at faster rates than their peers and, going forward, they will position themselves more strategically for competitive advantage.”

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