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2017

To make genuine, transformative progress through Service Virtualization (SV), organizations should adopt a 360-degree view that connects four critical elements: the technical SV solution, people, process and measurable business outcomes. By explicitly focusing on these elements and how they intersect, teams can develop effective tactics to improve SV maturity, increase scale and derive greater value from their SV investment. Additionally, when teams map the value of SV to business outcomes, they connect SV to business priorities, help validate and demonstrate SV contributions and establish measures for ongoing improvement.

Start with People—Your Most Important Asset

Organizational and individual resistance to change can impede the best plans and greatest opportunities for SV adoption. Organizations can beat this inertia by helping people answer the question: “Why change?” To be convincing, the answers must connect to business outcomes and their value. Some tactics to employ include:

  • Showing how SV aligns to executive priorities
  • Educating line-of-business and IT leaders on ways to communicate SV’s importance and relevance in achieving business outcomes
  • Developing an accountable core team of knowledge experts and deploying them on campaigns that support the use of SV on high-impact projects
  • Identifying processes and methods that impede change within the organization—and eliminating them
  • Allocating resource time to integrate SV into application lifecycle methods and processes
  • Communicating business outcomes facilitated by SV via lunch-and-learn sessions, internal demos and communications.

Process, Process, Process to Drive Scale

The absence of process-related artifacts, templates, and metrics that report value can inhibit organizational success. By creating reusable patterns and templates, SV can be operationalized at scale, thus delivering the greatest value and exposing new opportunities for SV adoption. Formalizing the following activities helps in developing scale:

  • SV discovery processes
  • SV project backlogs and pipelines
  • SV support processes
  • SV skills, learning and self-enablement processes
  • SV asset management and support processes
  • SV utilization metrics, socialization and consumer advocacy processes

Be Driven by Outcomes, Not Outputs

Organizations often find themselves trapped in the paradigm of socializing the value of SV by expressing value in terms of output, not outcomes. Whenever possible, don’t use an output metric to describe an outcome. Consider the impact of project value statements for the same project communicated by the PM in two different ways:

  • Example A: “The team had a virtual service with 900+ million hits and other virtual services with 500+ million hits.”
  • Example B: “We used SV to build better applications faster by ensuring that customer-facing applications could handle expected transaction volumes without experiencing outages and by providing a platform that enables daily performance tests rather than monthly or quarterly tests. Our approach resulted in reducing volume-related outages by 80%, completing performance testing 97% sooner in the application lifecycle and reducing infrastructure costs by $100K per quarter.

 

In example A, the numbers are measures of output; they don’t quantify or qualify how SV contributed to achieving a business outcome. We can only assume that the results had an impact on the business.

 

In example B, I can hear executives asking, “How did you do that? Can we replicate these outcomes?” It’s easy to feel the pride and excitement of everyone who contributed to these outcomes and to wonder if the focus on business outcomes motivated them to raise the bar for SV scale and value even higher!

 

I welcome your comments and questions below.

 

Links to previous posts:

Maximizing Your DevTest Investment on Your Way to SV Maturity

Making the Most of Your Service Virtualization Assets

Change Management: A Key Element of Your SV Strategy

To sustain progress and achieve substantial business value, organizations should aggressively integrate Service 

Virtualization (SV) into their software development lifecycle (SDLC). In fact, this may be your most important move in driving meaningful change that leads to increasing IT value.

 

Although this type of change is critical, it can also be overwhelming for many organizations, given the pressures on IT regarding time, budgets, competing priorities, staff availability, etc. Fortunately, metrics demonstrate the value of SV, and these metrics can be convincing when presented to business leaders.

 

Given the availability of metrics, why do many organizations miss the opportunity to leverage SV to drive change - specifically to transform processes?

 

Perhaps the reason is that change requires change.

 

Change is perpetual in IT, which may explain why the industry isn’t short on change management methodologies and practices. It seems that most standards bodies assume that process improvement is a technical challenge rather than a social and cultural challenge. Another perspective is that automation will compel needed change.

 

A change management function must focus on developing principles, practices and processes that enable organizations to improve software development outcomes by paying attention to the cultural and social aspects of change. Some key questions addressed in change management are:

 

  • How are data-rich SV metrics used to obtain buy-in at all levels of the organization?
  • How do organizational process changes related to SV mitigate IT risk?
  • Which SV-related change initiatives bring about the greatest organizational value?
  • What process improvement metrics aid in evaluating the success of change?

 

SV activities and maturity strategies such as business process alignment, staffing and organizational alignment, and initiative identification and measurement intersect with change management. Organizations benefit by identifying a skilled practitioner who understands these intersection points and defines and facilitates the necessary cultural and social changes. Change management activities that focus on the following questions can help:

 

  • How does change management drive executive and stakeholder understanding of value?
  • How does SV alignment with executive initiatives increase business value and outcomes?
  • What assessment approaches best measure the impact of behavioral changes?

 

Focusing on these areas helps teams develop a change management ethos that can be socialized across stakeholders at all levels and connects directly to desired business outcomes for SV. One of the best places to start is by identifying a talented SV practitioner or team who can step beyond the technology to link process and cultural/social changes to benefits the organization will experience due to change. In doing so, the SV conversation and its value is elevated to the enterprise. When organizations elevate the conversation, the discussion shifts from a focus on technical outputs to SV’s impact on desired business outcomes.

 

Stay tuned. The next blog examines people and process changes that help drive the value of SV. In the meantime, your comments and questions are always welcome. 

 

Previous posts:

Maximizing Your DevTest Investment

Making the Most of Your Service Virtualization Assets