What this Journey is about?

Most big organisations* treat software delivery very similar to delivering a baby. Yes you read it right, delivering a baby

  • First trimester – This is the initial kick ass design phase. Everyone comes together, engage in lots of intellectual discussions and develop a very solid design. But the couple is still excited so hardly any pain is felt.
  • Second trimester – This is equivalent to a development phase. As it normally goes with second trimester, not many issues are felt in this phase. Have you ever seen big enterprise digital project going red during development? Never.
  • Third trimester – This is where the problem starts. All the false promises from the development phase comes head on. Integration issues start, deployment fails, legacy system fails to integrate with modern digital systems
  • Delivery – This is the final cutover night. Painful but what we see at the end is beautiful. Something to die for.

Now imagine, we have to be agile and adopt continuous delivery. Have 10 deploys a week. Yes you heard it right, deliver 10 babies in a week. How does that sound. No No No.

Based on my experience , after doing extensive research and talking to leaders in this space, I have concluded that software delivery even for this big organisation doesn’t need to be treated like delivering a baby. It needs to be equivalent to manufacturing a car.

So how does that work?

  • Systematic process of building something amazing and moving things from one conveyor belt to another conveyor belt with the main objective of reducing waste and removing any impediments
  • Focussing on Automation and reducing dependency on people and thus eliminating errors
  •  Significance given to people and collaboration between different groups to create a high performing team

 

 

Obviously what you get in the end is a car, rather beautiful car, which everyone cherishes and enjoys. I am sure we can always build 10 cars in a week and still be as excited to build the next as opposed to delivering 10 babies in a week

This is my journey and view point on how we can deliver digital experiences for this big enterprises and move them from “Delivering a baby” to “Manufacturing a car” or should I say “Manufacturing a great car”

 

Everyone can build a car and that is the journey which most big organisations are going through, but then to build a great car, you need to change how you look at things. There are three key things which you need to focus on and change if you want to build a great car as opposed to a car

  • Experimentation culture – How to build a culture where people are not afraid to fail. Infact lets go further, how to build a culture where people are given incentive to try different things
  • Automation – Automation with a NO OPS mindset i.e. Automate with a mind set that there is no operations team. NOOPS
  • Measurement – How can we measure what we are doing and link it back to the outcome. Be it business outcome, technology debt or delivery model. This is what creates a smart working environment for everyone

* Big organisation/Enterprise in this context includes more than 500 staff in IT, more than 100 engineers, one who has a omni channel presence and if transactional then during normal peak takes more than 10,000 order per hour. Even if you are not one of this, I believe you will still get some benefit from using a few concepts which I have/will outline in this blog.

I would be delighted to hear from you if you have any positive or negative feedback on my thoughts. Also, if you have any specific topic you would like me to cover, please post the same and I will try my best to include it in upcoming blogs.

 

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4 thoughts on “What this Journey is about?

  1. To extend your analogy though:
    Pretty much anyone can make a baby. All it takes is a little know how, a bit of practice and usually (if you live in the UK) a lot of alcohol. The process is organic and unless disaster strikes (which, alas, it can frequently do) you will, with a bit of effort, deliver something.

    However building a car requires a factory! Factories require planning, logistics and an entire infrastructure, which is costly. Add the fact that there are relatively few people around who know how to build and maintain a factory, and that those people are typically not the same people who will work in that factory building cars, and the cost increases.

    So while I agree with the sentiment of the post, I think you may have oversimplified the transition from one state to another – which can be additionally complicated by still needing to look after the baby!

    My question would be how does a business know where the sweet spot is, between investing in the factory infrastructure against another drunken fumble resulting in a second baby? How can this cost be quantified and justified?

    • Very valid extension to the analogy
      The transition is never ever easy. Infact it is one of the most complex shift in the mindset. This is the reason not many people/large organizations have being able to transition.
      As far as large enterprise scaling for digital is concerned, due to very nature of digital, question for business is not “Why and when” to transition but it is more about “How” to transition. This is not optional. If you may make a choice of not transitioning assuming it is only “Second” baby then it will be a big mistake as with digital if you make that choice then you will spend most of your life in hospital maternity ward

  2. These analogies really resonate with me. I think this is a really nice way of looking at it. I also think dav3green makes a great point when asking what the business case is for moving from the baby approach to the car approach. I’d love to see more exploration on the trade offs, or decision criteria, that would factor into whether a particular organization truly needs to change. Yes, we all know that we need to move our digital experiences along at the rate of change of customer behavior, but I think that only applies to certain parts of the enterprise technology on which those experiences are built. So how do we decide where to invest? What is the nature and scale of that investment? I think we need to find the set of decision criteria that tell us what investment to make, and how to make it (if, and only if, it makes sense for a particular enterprise to change).

    I’d also love to see a post on what the car version looks like in practice. What does it take to build a manufacturing line? How should it operate? What are the tools and processes involved?

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