Are you tracking business value as it flows through source code, binary artifacts, and all the way to the end user? Learn how to unify portfolio planning, agile development, and continuous delivery to deliver more value to your customer in this overview of our webinar, Unify Agile & DevOps with VersionOne.
What is unified Agile & DevOps?
Unified Agile and DevOps is the integration of all the people, processes, tools, and information across agile portfolio planning, agile project management, and continuous delivery efforts. To improve DevOps and Agile to their full potential, you must integrate all these pieces into a single unified value stream, providing stakeholders across all phases with the information and management insight needed to make better decisions.
“Agile development practices are an important part of a DevOps strategy, as they support continuous production of quality code to be deployed. Using Agile without DevOps or DevOps without agile typically results in limited business value since either practice in isolation is, at best, just moving the constraint on the product of software. We need agile and DevOps to close the loop between delivery and business outcome and value.” – Gartner
Value Stream Maps
Creating a detailed and accurate value stream map is the first step to unifying Agile & DevOps. The image below, from Gene Kim’s book The Phoenix Project, depicts how complex our value streams are.
A value stream is all of the steps required to create and deliver something of value, such as a feature or product. Your value stream starts at ideation, continues through development as value is created, and ends when the feature, product, or service has been delivered to your customers.
Both Agile and DevOps share the same core mission, to streamline the flow of value from idea to end user. A value stream map lets you see how value is currently flowing and empowers you to optimize how value flows.
Value Stream Mapping
The best way to map your value stream is to participate in a value stream mapping workshop. Above you can see an image of a value stream mapping workshop we recently hosted. Value stream mapping is a critical step that can’t be skipped. You can’t effectively streamline the flow of value without having a shared understanding of how that value flows.
Tracking Business Value Through Your Value Stream
The next step is to track business value through your value streams. Business value is decomposed into smaller and smaller chunks as strategic ideas are broken down into portfolios, epics, features, and finally user stories. They are then reassembled as they flow through delivery into source code, artifacts, packages, and releases.
Agile organizations are really good at tracking value on the left side of this diagram, but it is very difficult to continue tracking the value as it flows into delivery for several reasons. The first is that it is very difficult to describe business value.
Defining Business Value With User Stories
A user story or defect is the best unit of measure for tracking business value. It would be nice to track how much revenue or customer satisfaction you are delivering, but these are very ambiguous and hard to determine.
Mature Agile teams are very good at estimating and prioritizing user stories. The next user story should represent that highest value item of work and if estimated correctly user stories should be of a similar size. These two aspects make user stories the ideal unit of measure for delivered business value.
The Challenge in tracking User Stories In Delivery
While it is pretty easy to track the progress of user stories through development, once the stories are done and you convert the backlog item into source code and binary artifacts it is almost impossible to track.
VersionOne provides you the ability to continue tracking user stories as they are converted into source code. This enables you to optimize the people, processes, tools, and information across agile portfolio planning, agile project management, and continuous delivery —unified Agile & DevOps.
How VersionOne Unifies Agile & DevOps
VersionOne Continuum™ enables you to track user stories and defects through delivery. The image above is a screenshot of Delivery at a Glance (DAAG). DAAG provides clear visibility of how your portfolio, epics, features, user stories, and defects are progressing through delivery.
The left side column in the screenshot above shows several portfolio items. To the right of that column are the phases of delivery. The blue boxes represent user stories that make up the work in the portfolio item.
These blue boxes enable you to see how your portfolio is progressing. Each blue box provides the details you need to know about that user story. The blue boxes also alert you to potential deployment risks. For example you are able to see if a single user story is split across multiple release packages.
You are able to easily drill up and down as needed. It is simple to drill down from the portfolio item into the features that make up that item. You would then see a similar screen as the one above showing you how each feature is progressing.
Continuum links your portfolio, epics, features, user stories, and defects to every code change made through delivery. A link inside your user story, epic and so on, will take you to a manifest showing all the changes, commits, and builds that relate to the work item. Continuum will also provide you the level of risk for each change.
I hope this overview helps you better unify Agile & DevOps. This was just a portion of the guidance provided in our recent webinar. Check out the full webinar on-demand to see how to Unify Agile & DevOps with VersionOne.
VersionOne is a registered trademark of VersionOne Inc. and Continuum is a trademark of VersionOne Inc.