How to Achieve Improved Time to Value

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colorful illustration of the devops lifecycle

Engineers and developers are under tremendous pressure to update and release new software on a regular basis, with the idea being the faster the better.

While at first glance, such a strategy makes sense – the more that can be delivered to the market the better. A company’s developers may be able to increase release velocity by a significant factor, perhaps as much as 300%. In addition, developers may be able to increase productivity by as much as 200%. The engineering team’s performance is graded by its release velocity and how that velocity increases (or decreases) over time. The faster the release velocity, the better the grade.

However, release velocity and developer productivity are engineering, not business metrics.

The reality is that release velocity is only one part of a larger consideration.

As opposed to engineers and developers, CxOs are under tremendous pressure to delight customers with value while delivering on key business results. So, beyond engineering metrics like release velocity, or developer productivity, CxOs are more interested in business insights. And, they are focused on business results of revenue, profitability and other financial measures that are business, not engineering metrics.

The Intersection of Business Metrics and Engineering Metrics: Time to Value

While release velocity is key to monitoring engineering efficiency, businesses will need to know its impact on the Time to Value as a key performance indicator (KPI).  Time to Value is a company explicitly enhancing the value of their products in the market, and the time taken to deliver value to both the organization and its customers. 

With that said, below are tips to improve Time to Value.

Seven Tips to Achieve Improved Time to Value

To better align business and engineering metrics to improve Time to Value, an organization can consider the following seven tips:

  1. Complete a maturity assessment focusing on people, process and technology. Compare that assessment against the DevSecOps maturity index and industry ranking. From there, build an actionable roadmap complete with remediation plans and visibility to insights.
  2. Develop continuous delivery as a service, complete with end-to-end DevOps delivery as a service; continuous improvement to release orchestration; and compliance governance across everything on a continuous basis.
  3. Ensure CI/CD pipeline hardening by building and refining continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines; addressing security and regulatory needs within those pipelines and establishing value stream insights to monitor flow and performance.
  4. Employ 360 value stream insights: Improve organizational velocity, quality, compliance of releases by implementing value-stream insights. Organizations should also identify and establish team targets and drive continuous improvement while also tracking and accelerating DevSecOps maturity.
  5. Pursue “extreme automation,” progressing from automated to autonomous testing. Companies should also implement programmable infrastructure to truly deliver continuous deployments while also implementing shift-left culture into processes to support security and regulatory compliance.
  6. Eliminate chaos by setting up and orchestrating chaos experiments across your environments; establishing mechanisms to track various experiments to help prioritize services that need attention and where vulnerabilities may lie; and automating failure scenarios and remediation to eliminate costly downtimes.
  7. Employ a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) Checkpoint, which enables an organization to establish transparency into binding licensing requirements; implement tighter security controls, complying to “copyleft” legal obligations within third-party code; and streamline licenses, reduce code bloat and improve supply chain resiliency.

If your Time to Value is not improving, even as your release velocity gets better, it means nothing for the business. Continually improving your Time to Value KPI assures that business and engineering metrics are measured hand-in-hand to bring the real business value.  And then enhancing release velocity will have significant meaning and purpose.

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