There are significant benefits for teams looking for help on DevOps practices and applying them across the organization. For those not used to the concept, DevOps is the union of people, processes, and tools to automate the construction of software, enabling the continuous delivery of good experiences to users, which is one of the values of agile methodologies.
Agile transforms software management into an iterative process, allowing cross-functional product development teams to quickly adjust to changing market and customer requirements. Developers are responsible for building and operating the software and they will make the right trade-offs between developing functionality (new features) and operability (performance and stability).
While we cannot apply all practices to product development, it is incredibly beneficial to adopt the following 3 DevOps principles:
In the context of DevOps, we recognize that operational software is complex, especially in fast-growing businesses where you’re pushing the limits of scale and speed.
In this environment, incidents happen, and it is essential to treat them not as failures but as opportunities to learn and improve processes. And this continuous improvement will only occur when those involved know that they will not be penalized for making a mistake and, thus, will be more open to correction. Hence the principle of Blameless Culture.
How does this apply to product teams?
The vast majority of PO’s (Product Owners) are focused on creating new and better experiences for the user. Whether you’re revolutionizing local travel or a restaurant responding to the pandemic with an online ordering platform, you’re unlikely to build the perfect experience right away.
The key is to create a culture that celebrates experimentation, regardless of whether the results prove success or failure.
Metrics and Measures
A successful DevOps process requires immediate feedback and readily available action on the systems the team is operating. That means KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) about service uptime, application response time, operational load, and more. For a good user experience, every user interaction needs to be measured.
This focus on measurement is significant for a PO.
Every new feature or UX tweak should start with a guess about the metrics we expect to adopt. Data must guide decisions about the roadmap, and changes must have the ability to track impact.
You Build It, You Own It
Another vital principle of DevOps is ownership culture.
To clarify, the team that creates a feature is the team that operates the code. If there is any failure during production, the team that made it will be notified, and they will be responsible for correcting the oversight. The same principle can be applied to owning a digital product. Large PO’s and their extended teams think of the product or property area as a business with metrics that they are responsible for moving autonomously to prioritize a roadmap that produces the results the company needs to deliver.
To conclude the development of the ideas presented here, we can say that the strategies outlined within the principles of DevOps, optimize delivery, and all practices are applicable, even for areas not intended to write code.
Celebrating lessons learned from unsuccessful experiences, using data and metrics rather than instinct, and investing in product improvements that have already been created can seem counterintuitive. Still, these practices will ensure that your company delivers extraordinary experiences for your customers.