Your Goals Could Be Holding Your DevOps Teams Back

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Your Goals Could Be Holding Your DevOps Teams Back

In the era of Agile, organizations are increasingly moving their IT service management teams toward a DevOps world. There are significant challenges to transforming ITSM to DevOps, but one of the most significant is goal setting. In today’s face-paced business environment, it’s important to establish the parameters for measuring success and determine which objectives teams need to meet to accomplish business goals.

Goal-setting tends to be centered around the SMART framework; specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-based. When your goals fit into these five criteria, the belief is that the goal is achievable, allowing companies, teams and individuals to reach continued success. But, what if these goals are actually holding your business back? By creating goals that you know from day one are achievable, are you limiting your potential? 

Innovation rarely happens when meeting expectations. For many businesses, setting lofty goals can create a culture where people feel safe to fail, and understand that experimentation is essential to moving forward. 

Setting Lofty DevOps Goals

Goal setting is more than placing milestones and checking off accomplishments. High-reaching goals can be an extremely powerful motivator with a significant impact on the entire organization.

Consider the common DevOps goal, achieve a product development and release cycle that encourages continuous development. This isn’t a goal that can be checked off a list at the end of the year, it’s an ongoing team mission that factors into every part of the development lifecycle. But, it’s also a goal that empowers other areas of the business to be motivated, and provide the best solution to your customers. If DevOps teams are working toward continuous deployment, sales teams have a new competitive differentiator that helps your business stand out in the marketplace, and customer service teams can work towards having more customers adapt to this release cycle. 

For DevOps teams, big goals can mean better collaboration between teams, departments and stakeholders, optimizing planning and delivery of IT projects. In short, setting higher aims can:

  • Reduce new release failure rates
  • Improve the frequency of deployments
  • Shorten mean time to recovery
  • Decrease time to market

DevOps teams can lead the charge to success that can’t possibly be achieved with ordinary goals.

DevOps On Demand

The entire DevOps premise rests on transforming companies into agile, adaptable organizations that can scale with time and as business needs change. In ITSM team settings, releases are often discussed in terms of weeks. DevOps allows teams to work on a time scale of days, but what if companies set goals in hours?

Focusing on continuous improvement and delivery is key here, but it’s not without risks. Buggy code and incompatibilities abound, but there are ways to decrease these pitfalls. First, break down any barriers or information silos that can hinder communication between various IT teams, as well as those that exist between the marketing, finance, and C-level departments. Stakeholders across the organization need to be accessible to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that they have mitigated all known risks for new releases.

Automation is another important aspect. Being able to “set it and forget it” means DevOps teams can move on from each project quickly without worrying about deployment. This includes effective performance management tools that provide proactive alerts with detailed assessments of current or potential problems, allowing DevOps teams to discern exactly what the issue is and how to fix it, and fast.

Take Big Chances

Continuous improvement is an admirable goal, but complete transformations are better. Ultimately, the biggest risk of setting middling goals is a loss of potential. It’s imperative that DevOps teams take big chances, learn from their failures as well as their successes, and optimize risk management with the requisite tools. Organizations need to build an environment where DevOps are keen on experimentation, aren’t afraid to fail, and thrive on a cycle of constant adaptation.

There is a place for realism, of course, but not in the sense of setting lower goals. Instead, be realistic about building the teams, processes, culture, and technology infrastructures that can be conducive to success.

Rob England, an instructor of ITSM and DevOps practices, recommends setting goal that might seem crazy to help ITSM organizations move into a DevOps world. Find out what these goals are in our white paper, 7 Crazy Goals to Start You On Your ITSM Journey to DevOps.

The Importance of Experimenting and Risking Failure

There are many examples of organizations that were founded on an experiment, think Microsoft and its beginnings in a small garage, or Google as a research project by two PhD students. Before Google came on the scene, internet surfers relied on applications such as Ask Jeeves, Excite, and Lycos to search and find what they were looking for. Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page had a vision of better search results through machine learning and algorithms, but their early ideas were taking a long time to come to fruition. They almost gave up, and they reportedly declined a deal for a guaranteed million dollars and pursued their dream instead. Today, Google is one of the biggest internet giants on the globe.

And their belief in experimentation hasn’t stopped, in fact quite the opposite is true. Consider their purchase of the one small company called YouTube, or move into tools like Google Docs, Google Maps, and cloud-based storage solutions like Google Drive. Although Google may not have set out to achieve online domination, they certainly weren’t settling for mediocrity.

Experimentation and risk-taking, failing fast, and pivoting to new ideas are foundational parts of success in the tech world, and DevOps professionals know that best.

As events unfold during a service outage or deployment, the hand-off from tool to tool and ill-defined communication processes slow organizations down. xMatters is a service reliability platform that helps DevOps teams automate workflows, ensure infrastructure and applications are always working, and rapidly deliver products at scale. With xMatters, no matter how unrealistic your DevOps goals may seem, you’re closer to achieving them than ever before. Try xMatters for free today!