Across the board, IT development organizations have been adopting approaches that allow for flexible and emergent requirements, faster development, automation of processes, frequent updates, and operational excellence. Agile development processes are one key aspect of this shift. A key value of agile is continual involvement of project business sponsors, flexibility with requirements, and the emergence of a “minimum viable product” (MVP). An MVP is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development, taking advantage of the continuous feedback mechanisms to incrementally enhance and improve.
More mature organizations have also adopted a DevOps approach or “development to operations” that coordinates the entire delivery chain spanning development to deployment. A key aspect of DevOps is the automation of the chain to reduce cycle time. It is this approach (among other factors) that allows organizations such as Amazon to deploy 10,000 changes per day.
Despite the advantages of Agile and DevOps approaches, many organizations also face challenges. One challenge is the difficulty in integrating architecture into the Agile approach. A second challenge is that while DevOps greatly increases the speed and efficiency of development, this often comes at the expense of strategic alignment. At a project level, organizations are deploying software faster, but at an enterprise level, they don’t know if they are deploying the right things, or just heading faster toward more debt and redundancy and less consistency and interoperability.
While the speed is important, it is the right things at the right speed — the “speed of business change” — that is critical to success in the new economy. Business operations (BizOps) is aimed at enabling the speed of business change. And while DevOps and Agile are critical components of any business or digital transformation (DX) initiative, they are not incompatible with architecture; in fact, they are better with architecture.
Earlier this year, we published BizOps: The CIO’s Guide to Multiplied Business Transformation (IDC #US44873518, February 2019), which discussed one perspective of BizOps as “a decision support mechanism for connecting business functions together to enable the smooth operation of the company.” This document will examine a different interpretation of BizOps, sometimes called “BizDevOps,” which is about extending the continuous feedback loops of Agile and DevOps to include business strategy and architecture.