Product management is a difficult process, and managers use whatever advantage they can get to enhance their products. The most important aspects of Product Management are the ability to deliver a feature rich product, of good quality, very quickly to the market. Not only that, but it is imperative in the “app” to continuously deliver in shorter cycles and react quickly to the market.
So how can DevOps provide that silver bullet to deliver your IT products?
- Automation – a cornerstone of DevOps is the ability to deliver a good portion of your delivery cycle, and if your looking to speed up your time to market, automation can do wonders. This can be as simple as replacing the majority of your human testing with automated scripts, significantly reducing your effort. It can also be automating repeatable deployment processes.
- Quality where it matters – how often have your developers had to wait for their build to get to testing for days on end, only for it to get kicked back? Why quality check your delivery while your building it? This is a core principle of continuous integration where you continually build, check, and test your code and inform developers immediately (often within the same day) if any issues arise. Also using more sophisticated code analysis tools can take some of the guesswork out of quality. The end result is ensuring quality is rigorously built into your process up front so you never have to reduce your functionality for the sake of making that delivery.
- Shorter Release Cycles – with automation you can begin to shorten your release cycles from months to weeks and even days if required. This means that when you are focusing on requirements you don’t have to stuff nice to haves because you know the next release is more than 6 months away. This has a tendency to focus your product management on what really matters thus reducing the overall effort, or releasing resources to work on only those high priority high return features
- Visibility – drowning in powerpoints and excel sheets? DevOps can deliver visibility across your delivery stream, with the ability to provide metrics and enforce detailed KPIs. If you have SI’s delivering, then you can have them sign up to actual code quality KPIs rather than quality on acceptance (as that’s too late in the cycle). DevOps will give you proper command and control of your delivery process.
- Cloud Power – whether you are using private or public clouds, the ability to codify machines and deliver them as if they were code means you can collapse operations as a development task, and reduce the operations effort it would have taken for manual deployment.
These elements together will supercharge your delivery mechanism giving you an edge of your competitors, all while getting your costs under control, and freeing your Product Management to focus on innovation.