Raise the issue of DevOps in a company meeting and one of the questions on the table will, inevitably, be about the benefits of DevOps. And there must be some, to justify the time and effort it will take to adopt new processes, and probably invest in additional software and training as well.
All of which sounds perfectly reasonable, until the different stakeholders involved – the CEO, the CIO, and the IT Manager – start to list those benefits.
A problem inevitably arises because each stakeholder will be looking for benefits that are alien to the other stakeholders.
CEOs, for example, want to lower costs and increase revenues. CIOs, on the other hand, regard improved operational support and faster fixes as the major priority. And IT Managers? They’re driven by the faster speed of releases and a lower volume of defects.
The key to understanding why this happens is an MSc research project conducted by David Linwood, a highly experienced IT Director. He wanted to discover what the real benefits of DevOps are and ended up with no less than 24.
The top three – the faster speed and lower cost of releases, improved operational support and faster fixes, and a faster time to market – shouldn’t come as a surprise. What may well come as a surprise is what happened next.
David Linwood took another step and looked at the same benefits from the viewpoints of CEOs, CIOs, and IT Managers. He refers to them as ‘lenses’, and each lens produces a different list of benefits. For IT Managers, the most important benefits that emerged are:
- The faster speed and lower cost of a release
- A lower volume of defects
- Improved frequency of new releases and features
- Enhanced application performance
- Better mean time to recovery (MTTR)
- Lower change failure rate
- Smaller number and cost of resources
While the first benefit remains the same, improved operational support and a faster time to market have disappeared. There’s good reason too. IT Managers probably do regard these factors favorably, but they’re more concerned with those that they will be judged by and their performance measured on.
So from their point of view, the frequency of releases, reduction in defects, and enhanced application performance are all far more important. This said despite the fact that those three benefits are completely absent when looked at through the lenses of CEOs and CIOs.
A word of caution
Recognizing the benefits that IT Managers seek from DevOps is one thing, but as we’ve seen, CEOs and CIOs have a different point of view. When the benefits of DevOps are considered from their perspective, different stories emerge.
CEOs want a faster time to market and higher quality products, while CIOs need better operational support as well as good processes across IT and teams.
So if you’re looking at ways to introduce a DevOps initiative, it should be framed around the benefits everyone can gain, rather than the differences that exist.
And if you’d like to know more about David Linwood’s research – and find out how to calculate the ROI of database DevOps – you can also download The ROI of Database DevOps whitepaper.
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