DevOps has introduced an abundance of valuable practices, tools and techniques to how we deliver products. DevOps done well means that we are now in a position to have ever shorter feedback loops at ever higher levels of reliability and maximum ability to service our applications.
However, many organisation’s do not think sufficiently broad about their delivery pipeline, which, in fact, must be treated as any other high value corporate asset and which can, in fact, lead to competitive advantage.
Considering this, it should come as no surprise that delivery pipelines, too, must be treated with a product mindset, as we would any other product or service.
Just add ‘product’
Product management is the frequently missing ingredient that elevates DecOps and the resulting delivery pipelines from a technical necessity to a full on corporate capability and asset.
Product thinking, or rather a product mindset, focuses our efforts on real users’ needs. It allows us to iteratively evolve products and services so that we can learn, thus creating something that is truly valuable within the context of any given moment, while allowing adaptation to future needs as and when they arise.
No ‘sane’ engineering team would build a customer facing product without product skills. So why should this be different for the product / service – our delivery pipeline – that we use to build products?
Bringing product thinking to DevOps
What I am suggesting is not a new methodology, but rather to bring together, the best from service design, product management and DevOps, disciplines that historically are not considered closely connected.
For an implementation team this can mean as little as adding some product considerations to their work, assigning the task of ‘product owner’ to an existing team member, or it can mean full fledged adding of a product capability including a dedicated role and related activities explicitly. Whichever approach is right will depend on your team, context and initiative.
Is this for me?
If you are sponsoring the build of a pipeline a product thinking will ensure your team is focused on delivering value. If you are managing the implementation or operation of a pipeline product best practices will give you confidence to prioritise the right things; teams overall will get better guidance, direction and goals on what to focus on, and individuals a clearer understanding of how to best address real users’s needs.
Blog series: DevOps Leadership
Want to know more?
Here are a number of additional resources that you might find interesting…