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Anders is Vice President, Technology Strategy at CloudBees. He has 30 years of in-depth experience building commercial software.
We all know how traffic bottlenecks are a major disruption in our daily lives, causing delays during our commutes and preventing us from getting to our destination on time. Corporate bottlenecks can cause similar issues, dragging out the timelines for budgets being passed and projects getting started. Software bottlenecks cause the same problem. When the process of software delivery is halted or slowed, a company’s vision of becoming a product-led enterprise can seem further away with each delay.
While most DevOps teams have made significant strides through the implementation of continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) and application release orchestration (ARO) to power software delivery, many organizations still operate with siloed developments that are disconnected from broader business functions.
Software Delivery Management (SDM) is a way to bring software development and delivery teams together.
Data silos prevent data from being available to everyone in an organization — from engineers to QA testers — and can cause major delays in the delivery process. Once some of these silos get broken down, there is still the issue of visibility for the rest of the organization — who need insights and visibility to the data.
The limits of CI/CD
Even in companies with a mature CI/CD pipeline and a full, company-wide commitment to DevOps, there is often no end-to-end insight into the value stream, where products are stuck — or get jammed frequently — and where delivery bottlenecks slow down delivery to customers.
CI/CD often doesn’t provide the data needed to measure how well the software organization is creating value for the business. Without a way to measure that, software organizations have no way to know if they are improving. Companies cannot foster the collaboration necessary for successful DevOps implementation if there is no visibility across all the stakeholders involved. Businesses don’t just need speed and agility when it comes to software development, they need actionable insights to ensure that software is developed with the right functionality to meet the business need it was designed to address.
How Software Delivery Management Can help
While software bottlenecks can be a major problem for enterprises, Software Delivery Management (SDM) aims to break down the bottlenecks that delay the process of delivering software — along with increasing visibility within an organization. Essentially, SDM is a way to bring software development and delivery teams together, so that as software is developed, there is continuous alignment across stakeholders driving the creation of business value. The process extends the feedback loop to encompass the entire application lifecycle, from issue creation to end users interacting with the application.
Breaking Down Silos and Eliminating Bottlenecks
Just like DevOps breaks down the walls between the development and operations teams, with SDM all artifacts and data is integrated into a unified common data layer. The key information is connected and easily accessible, giving each individual and team an unprecedented level of insight into bottlenecks and inefficiencies. It allows them to communicate better, understand each others’ needs, and ultimately make software that isn’t just bug-free, but also addresses business needs and creates value for the customer.
The four pillars of SDM — common data, universal insights, common connected processes and all functions collaborating — are designed to break down data silos and ensure that visibility into data is available across an enterprise. This ensures collaboration and connection between all teams and business units. With insights into the software delivery process from SDM, it’s easier to see where bottlenecks occur.
Paving the Way for Better Business
With Software Delivery Management, everyone from the software organization — including product marketing and customer success — has access to the same set of data and one unified platform for collaboration. Product marketers have a clear idea of how a feature will work, when it will be ready for deployment, and the types of customers it’s best for. Customer support teams have visibility into when new features will be released and can alert developers to patterns in support requests. As the feedback loop widens to include product marketing, documentation teams and customer support, developers get more valuable feedback that leads to intelligent iterations and software improvements. And of course, developers get the satisfaction of seeing how the features they build lead to concrete business results and customer adoption stories.
The goal of enterprise software development isn’t to create the software as fast as possible or to create the most technically sophisticated application, it is to use the software as a tool to create business value and to create that value as quickly as possible. When development teams have more time to focus on the creative problem-solving that software development requires, organizations begin to move closer towards software-first, product-led goals.
Similar to DevOps, Software Delivery Management not only brings together different parts of the engineering department but facilitates collaboration between engineering and sales, marketing and other business units. The ability to bring business strategy and software engineering together is critical to creating applications that are as effective as possible at meeting the business goals.
No one wants to be stuck in traffic; SDM is the fast lane that is needed to escape congestion and accelerate enterprises in reaching their destination.
Feature image from Pixabay.
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