Rationalisation of DevOps toolsets and processes for improved delivery
Our utilities client supplies core services to South Australians every day. They were experiencing an increasing demand for the rapid delivery of high quality and reliable products and services while remaining nimble to supply the best possible outcome to their customers.
A core part of this challenge was how IT was able to support the business to achieve its outcomes. In the past IT had struggled to supply the level of service required through inefficient processes and disparate toolsets.
DevOps is an increasingly prevalent practice applied within organisations to affect a culture of shared ownership for outcomes, driving increased product delivery velocity and improved service reliability.
Chamonix was engaged to review our client’s practices and tooling to derive a strategy for uplifting their delivery capability through modern tooling and process improvement.
We commenced the engagement by analysing the client’s current state practices and tooling through the lens of people, process and technology. To derive a better understanding of the current state, we assembled a stakeholder group with both IT and business representation and asked them to respond to a stakeholder survey. The survey was based upon the annual DORA State of DevOps report, asking respondents to rate their current practices across a range of well understood DevOps capabilities. We then followed the survey with targeted stakeholder interviews, exploring specific survey responses in greater detail as well as topics not covered by the survey. By further analysing both the survey responses as well as notes from the stakeholder interviews, we were able to identify those delivery capabilities that were perceived by stakeholders as strengths, as well as those perceived as weaknesses and potentially requiring attention. This served as input to documenting the client’s current state practices and tooling and deriving a fit-gap score for their current DevOps delivery capabilities.
In parallel with the current state analysis, we reviewed industry and technology trends that may have been applicable to the Strategy. Combined with a better understanding of the weaknesses in the client’s current state capabilities, we identified areas such as integrated ALM/DevOps toolsets, cloud and software as a service, containerisation and infrastructure as code that could potentially contribute significantly to improving these weaknesses.
With the client’s focus on tooling, we proposed a target state architecture that rationalised their multiple disparate DevOps-oriented tools to consolidate on Microsoft’s Azure DevOps cloud-based software as a service product.
The toolset would support the management of work, provide version control of software artefacts, and enable automated builds, test execution and management, and automated deployment. Critically, by using an integrated toolchain, the client could obtain end-to-end traceability of work and the change required to deliver it: from its initial definition, to the source code that realised it, to the build pipeline that built and tested it, to the test cases that were used in its testing, and to the release pipelines that deployed it to any environment.
Based on this, we documented the anticipated change impact across people, process and technology, and proposed a range of subsequent initiatives to implement and configure Azure DevOps to meet the client’s needs, to re-engineer processes and migrate artefacts to the new toolset, to pilot and measure the use of the new toolset in support of specific DevOps capabilities, and to further analyse capability weaknesses to identify additional improvement opportunities. Our proposed target state architecture was anticipated to lead to a 27% increase in fit-gap score – from a low-moderate capability to a high capability – and a 53% reduction in operational expenditure through license cost savings as a result of the toolset rationalisation.
The engagement culminated by presenting a walkthrough of the Strategy to key stakeholders with overwhelmingly positive feedback: clearly stakeholders were keen to get started implementing and using the new toolset to improve their delivery capability!