Today I will share my high-level process and questions for reflecting and improving an organization’s delivery process and outcomes.

First, review the Aspects of Software Delivery Performance (DORA) that generate improved business outcomes:

  1. Deployment frequency
  2. Lead time for changes
  3. Time to restore service
  4. Change failure rate

Second, imagine what the ideal delivery process looks like in a target state. I like to think about the target state first so that I don’t get trapped optimizing an existing process instead of evolving to a better one. I usually start with a SIPOC table that describes the delivery processes’ inputs, internal process steps, and outputs. I find the SIPOC form a simple structured way to prompt thinking in the right places. Then I transfer that information into a “marketing” page for its intended customers. Next I review the delivery service offering with my customer ‘hat’ on to check and see if they would understand it, buy it, and love it (or at least like it 10x more than the current thing).

Third, project the delivery process and system onto a Wardley Map. This helps identify process and system components required that were missed in the previous step. Now can also be a good time to map out your current state or you can do it later, but it’s fine to defer for now.

Fourth, project the internal delivery process steps onto the top DevOps organizational topology models under consideration. Then annotate the model with

  • with the names of actual (or placeholder) people on each team that can execute on those responsibilities
  • organizational and system-level capabilities that might be missing such as: automation skills or ability to provision compute via API

Fifth, now map the existing delivery process and try to create a sequence of changes wherein you can migrate from the current state to the target delivery process by moving and replacing components on the map. Write this sequence of migration steps down; you have just seeded the migration program’s work breakdown structure. Once that exercise is done, it’s a good time to summarize the expected outcomes, positive and negative, for transforming to that model — particularly probability of success.

This produces much of the information needed to have an informed, critical analysis and discussion of delivery process and organizational change options. If you’d like help with this, let me know — it’s precisely the kind of thing I do in advisory engagements.