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DevOps, Agile and the Story of Stone Soup

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The old folk tale about “Stone Soup” provides valuable lessons for agile development and DevOps.

Once upon a time, there was a hungry business with a CIO under pressure to feed the business with innovative new applications and services. All while doing more with less …

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DevOps, Agile and the Story of Stone Soup

  1. 1. DevOps, Agile, and the Story of Stone Soup
  2. 2. I love the old folk tail about “Stone Soup.” Hungry travelers with nothing more than a cooking pot, water and a large stone manage to get stingy townsfolk to contribute ingredients to the “stone soup” they were cooking. As the soup was cooking, it always seemed to be missing something each time it was tasted. A villager would “remember” that they had a carrot or an onion at home, then run and get it. Finally, after all the villagers had each contributed something to the soup pot, everyone shared a great meal.
  3. 3. It’s a perfect example of crowdsourcing … but the idea of “stone soup” also provides valuable lessons for agile development and DevOps. Let me tell my IT version of the story.
  4. 4. Once upon a time, there was a hungry business … … with a CIO under pressure to feed the business with innovative new applications and services. All while doing more with less. Undaunted, she shakes things up by introducing agile development into the organization. “No more long cycle times and infrequent change. It will be a continuous flow of value to the business from the IT organization.”
  5. 5. But it was not so simple … Compliance holds up a release because of serious control breaches. Call center operators are also being flooded with complaints about the reliability of a new mobile app. IT Operations insist that every production change go through a rigorous change management process.
  6. 6. “Where is the problem?” the CIO asks. “No issues on our watch,” claims the IT Operations manager. “We’re just tired of picking up the pieces after shonky releases, especially when we’re constantly being called in after hours to figure out application outages.” In Security, the manager’s response is similar: “We’re just doing our job. The last release had to be halted because the exposures in the new code base were off the charts. “If only they had called us earlier.”
  7. 7. Suddenly, the light goes on for one of the development teams. “What if we involve folks earlier in helping make our agile soup? “What if we accept that while being brilliant code chefs and super at cooking apps, we’re lousy at providing complete, secure and resilient services?”
  8. 8. And so the teams start to invite other groups to their soup-making IT sessions.
  9. 9. IT Operations gets involved. The development team tells IT Ops that they’re cooking up a new set of apps based on microservices-style architecture. This includes a new programming language and NoSQL database, and asynchronous messaging over Restful APIs, but there are performance concerns … Happy to participate, the Ops team gets involved, providing advice on network latency issues and modern monitoring requirements … … so a “resilience carrot” gets added to the soup.
  10. 10. Over in Security, analysts are asked for advice. “We suck at security,” admits the development team. “Can you provide some guidance on securing these new applications and the open source components we’re using?” “No problemo,” says Security – providing solid advice on data encryption, mobile gateway security, and security auditing, giving the dev team API access to a range of security features they can easily stir into the app.
  11. 11. Pretty soon, word about the tasty ‘application soup’ starts spreading, and more groups want to get involved. The API team gets advice from the Web team on how to use service virtualization and test data management tools to simulate constrained systems and speed development. The App Support group is invited to discuss how establishing monitoring in pre-production will give developers early warning into code-related defects. Both teams agree that supportability should be major design consideration … especially when folks are dragged out of bed at 3:00 a.m.
  12. 12. Over time many other groups get to add key ingredients to the soup. In heavily regulated industries, that could be the compliance team, or in an Internet of Things project, industrial designers and plant engineers. Even vendors with experience in implementing agile at scale could be called in as “trusted advisors” – your soup tasters. Plus of course – finance, the call center, the IT service team and HR could get involved to improve the business potential, quality, reliability and supportability of new applications.
  13. 13. … and so our intrepid CIO and her business colleagues loves the new Agile and DevOps soup. Apps are delivered faster, with increased quality and a better customer experience. Business grows because the company can now engage customers at scale. The soup is fuel for their digital transformation.
  14. 14. The moral of the Agile Soup Story: It’s not how agile you are at cooking stones, but how you get others to contribute to the broth.
  15. 15. Get cooking with your own Agile and DevOps Soup. Read the eBook: DevOps and Agile Operations: Insights from the Experts

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