How Is DevOps Incorporated in SAFe?

 

Q&A with Kreisler Eng, CSM, Agile Practice Lead

We caught up with Kreisler Eng, cPrime Agile Practice Lead, to comment on DevOps and how it works in conjunction with SAFe™, the Scaled Agile Framework. Kreisler is a delivery practitioner and problem-solver, and knows how DevOps and SAFe together can help an organization become faster, more accurate and more productive.

Question

Kreisler, how do you define DevOps?

Answer

Some say it’s a culture shift. Some say it’s all about tooling to improve software delivery and software maintenance and performance. We think it’s all of the above. It comes from the mindset of a culture of shared responsibility, for Development and Operations to work together to continuously deliver business value through software. And yes, there’s a lot of emphasis on using tools to automate work so it is cheaper, faster, and easier to maintain and scale when releasing and supporting software in production.

Question

How is DevOps incorporated in SAFe?

Answer

Dean Leffingwell, creator and chief methodologist of SAFe, recently announced his CALMR Approach to DevOps in SAFe. In summary SAFe promotes continuous integration, continuous deployment and release on demand. C – Culture. A shared responsibility for development and operations. A – Automation. Automate the CD pipeline, dynamically spinning and tearing down development environments that emulate production, test automation, and deployment automation. L – Lean flow. General push for smaller batch sizes of software delivery, limit WIP, provide real-time visibility of software. Increase predictability, accelerate feedback, reduce rework, increase release frequency and lower costs. M – Measurement. Measure flow through delivery improvement. For example, use Kanban to map out the entire delivery pipeline, measure cycle time, lead-time, and use telemetry for all applications and servers. R – Recovery. Enable real-time monitoring, enable faster recovery. Redundancy, and scalability.

Question

Does this help a fast-growing company scale?

Answer

Absolutely! It makes things easier and cheaper particularly as you scale, as tasks are automated and there is a lot quicker feedback to developers and Operations teams – which is what fast-growing companies need. The faster the feedback loop, the faster the company is learning, and the faster it will outpace its competitors and the marketplace.

Question

Is it possible to scale DevOps to a larger organization without SAFe? What are the problems with that?

Answer

Of course. SAFe is the leading Scaled Agile Framework but it is only that – a framework. The DevOps culture and movement is agnostic, whether you’re using SAFe, a custom framework, or other scaling frameworks such as LeSS or DaD.

Question

Who benefits most from incorporating DevOps in SAFe? The team members, or the organization they work for?

Answer

Everyone! SAFe and Agile practices and processes themselves are very powerful in the delivery cycle upstream. Upstream meaning from the inception or discovery of a vision, product, idea, or problem, down to product road-mapping, release planning, product backlogs, to user stories and development and QA of the product features. But from there, we typically see organizational constraints. The Development organization is rushing to release features, but the Operations teams are struggling to support fires in production and maintain stability, all the while attempting to address the growing queue of features waiting to be deployed. This is where DevOps comes in and drives home the point that Development and Operations go hand-in-hand, and must collaborate while driving toward one goal – which is releasing business value together.

Question

Why should management care about this? How do they see the benefits? Why would the want it in their company?

Answer

A few words: faster, cheaper, higher quality, better predictability, higher productivity, and the ability to recover faster. This is quintessentially the true definition of enabling business agility.

Question

Does DevOps + SAFe bring speed to a software team, or accuracy? Does one or the other get sacrificed?

Answer

Both. Speed and accuracy. You’re taking out the manual work that is typically cumbersome and error-prone, and treating everything as code. Nothing gets sacrificed if you’re willing to invest in DevOps and SAFe.   Release more value from your organization together with cPrime DevOps + SAFe

SAFe is the fastest way to deliver the benefits of DevOps for a large organization. cPrime offers DevOps consulting and training, SAFe Team Training, Portfolio Management, Consultants to help effect organizational change and train managers, and more! Click on the links to learn about our approach to SAFe and DevOps.