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2017

Have you ever noticed that it’s the high-performing teams that ask the best questions of themselves? They challenge themselves, think ahead and consistently work to validate team direction and priorities by asking the right questions—frequently. 

 

For service virtualization (SV), perhaps the most important questions teams can ask are, “What does our organization want our SV solution to look like?” and “What changes should we pursue at key milestones along our SV journey?” Teams that don’t ask these questions early and frequently in their journey and that don’t consider various scenarios will lag behind teams and their organizations that pursue SV progress by openly debating these questions.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

In a previous post, I pointed to the need to establish a maturity model. Within this model lies the development of roles, templates, processes and procedures that drive the scale organizations desire. Organizations that recognize the importance of establishing rules for delivering SV capability adopt SV more quickly with better alignment to desired business outcomes. These organizations define strategies and establish processes and procedures that address questions such as:

 

  • Who owns a given service?
  • How is the service federated and supported?
  • What criteria determine whether a service is managed through the service catalog?
  • What is the governance and support model that best suits the way we deliver SV projects?
  • How are skills, infrastructure, knowledge, maintenance and support managed and by whom?

 

Federation

Most organizations create some form of SV federation, but few examine the extent to which they should federate versus manage centrally. Fewer still create a single factory concept that delivers all aspects of SV to other departments. Establishing a federated model is important because it combines strength and scale with the flexibility of autonomy by creating natural divisions of work that maximize organizational investment. Using the list of functions below, think about your organizations and whether federating these functions would provide new benefits:

 

 

One approach to defining the most appropriate federation model is to align the functions listed above into a RACI model that maps to the existing organization. For example, skill development and self-learning might be the responsibility of an education department, whereas SV project and program management activities align with project management office functions. The RACI model drives the conversation about role identification and results in development of a potential execution model depicting the best way to support the SV-related activities.

 

Communities of Practice

More organizations are beginning to understand the value of implementing an online community of practice (aka learning network, domain or practice area) for sharing ideas and improving performance. People need a forum where members can ask questions, exchange ideas, learn from others, and mine SV intelligence to solve issues specific to the organization’s use of SV. In a community that’s limited to your organization, you and your colleagues can share and reuse proprietary information, governance processes and procedures, and sample SV patterns. The community of practice is an integral element of federation and self-learning.

 

As always, questions and comments are welcome.

 

Learn more about how CA Services helps customers with their Service Virtualization implementations.

 

Prior series posts:  Maximizing Your DevTest Investment on Your Way to SV MaturityMaking the Most of Your Service Virtualization Assets; Change Management: A Key Element of Your SV Strategy; SV Requires Transformation at Scale to Drive Maturity; On the Path to Service Virtualization Maturity: Measure Outcomes, Not Output

Hello Continuous Delivery practitioners! As CA World ’17 fast approaches, excitement is building.

If you plan to attend, please visit my colleague krath05 at the Agility Zone, or attend his session on aligning Agile and DevOps initiatives (see below). Also on hand, practice leads for our Continuous Delivery Services, my colleague Raja_Chockalingam and I SummerWeisberg will be hosting customer meetings.

We’re in for a leading-edge conference that’s all about removing barriers between your ideas and your desired business outcomes. Luminaries will share fresh perspectives and show the powerful features of CA Continuous Delivery solutions.

If you’re attending #CAWorld, check out the session list and plan ahead to get into your preferred sessions. Below is a preview of some of the hot topics I recommend. If you have any questions please contact Adam.Frary@ca.com.

 

Automation Tech Talk: Release Automation, Continuous Integration with an Eye on a Strategic DevOps Plan

Wellcare’s goal was to use CA Release Automation to automate software deployments. The company transformed release processes across 24,000 deployments by the end of 2017. This session covers Wellcare’s challenges and outcomes, including saving millions in release costs. An incremental, value-based roadmap and support from CA Services rewrote the way WellCare releases software.

Government in Your Hands: Using Digital to Reduce Costs and Improve the Citizen Experience

The GPM initiative was designed and developed by CA, based on challenges reported by citizens and governments in Brazil. GPM combines CA products and services to establish and provide a better connection between government agencies and their constituents, reducing costs and improving the user experience.

Case Study: Building a Wall Around Sensitive Customer Data: Strategic Insights from Economical Insurance Using CA Test Data Manager and Services in a Guide Wire Environment

Economical Insurance introduced CA Test Data Manager to mask and protect customer data and improve data quality and quantity through automated synthetic data generation. The ability to create robust, on-demand, highly customizable data generated cost savings by minimizing time between request and consumption across the company’s continuous delivery pipeline. CA Services established a Test Data Management (TDM) Centre of Enablement and grew Economical’s TDM team to enable self-sufficiency.

Assess and Guide Your DevOps Journey Leveraging Industry-Leading DevOps Research

DORA, a group of preeminent DevOps researchers, scientists and experts, is the force behind the annual State of DevOps Report. CA has partnered with DORA to offer a unique assessment service for organizations in any stage of DevOps maturity. By leveraging DORA’s expertise and research, the assessment service can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses in your DevOps program, helping you craft a roadmap for achieving your DevOps objectives. You will gain an understanding of how the assessment works and how to create a roadmap to more fully integrate all levels of testing, including security, into your secure software development lifecycle.

Accelerate Your Plans to Become a Modern Software Factory by Aligning Agile and DevOps Initiatives

Initiatives dedicated to Agile and DevOps are largely run on different cadences with sometimes competing objectives. Each transformation needs the other to be successful, and neither transformation can meet its objectives without being aligned with the other. In this session we will share real experiences where we challenged customers to align these efforts and the business results that occurred.

Speaker: Thomas Krall

 

For related information, check out the #CASERVICES Continuous Delivery blog series featuring a number of posts from J_NeSmith.

I mentioned earlier in this blog series that not many organizations are able to avoid “the adoption chasm.” Even after initial service virtualization (SV) success, organizational progress on the SV journey can stall or regress as organizations undertake efforts to create scale and operationalize. As successes occur, organizations inevitably add governance and process-oriented tasks. High-performing teams are often asked to document more thoroughly. Status reports and deadlines receive more scrutiny. Teams are expected to follow a new set of good practices, and post-its listing tasks proliferate on Kanban boards. The list of expectations and commitments grows, which translates to longer task lists for team members. Leaders tend to generate reports and measure project success based on completion of outputs.

Please understand: I am not discounting the importance of identifying, managing and reporting on SV project commitments. I am proposing that we avoid quantifying SV value in these terms.

Keep Your Teams Focused on Outcomes

Distinguishing between outputs and outcomes may seem like semantics to some and be nebulous to others. A colleague of mine uses this analogy to distinguish the two:

If you wanted to improve your fitness (an outcome), you might purchase fitness gear, join a health club and schedule workouts (all outputs), but these outputs alone would not improve your fitness. On the other hand, if you engage a personal trainer, he or she would ask clarifying questions to define “fitness.” Do you want to improve strength and stamina? Do you want to get closer to your target body mass index? Are you interested in improving heart health and/or reducing cholesterol levels? Answers to these questions help the trainer design a regimen that helps you achieve your desired outcome—improving your fitness. Similarly, the trainer measures your achievements based on your desired outcome, not the number of stations you visit in each workout.

We must understand and communicate the business outcome(s) that SV helps us achieve. Organizations that successfully identify and measure SV’s production against business outcomes will have greater success than those reporting on outputs. We increase the level of stakeholder buy-in when we communicate how SV is helping the business achieve its desired outcomes. The graphic further illustrates outputs versus outcomes:

Look to Metrics for Help

Measuring outcomes can be difficult because it requires connecting SV with business-relevant data. IT teams should rely on their business counterparts to identify simple, trackable metrics that gauge value. However, the metrics must be more impactful than simply the number of virtual services delivered or the number of times a virtual service is used.

Key concepts to think about when defining metrics are:

  • Do not substantiate the value of SV only once. Do it for every SV project.
  • Express metrics as they relate to outcomes. You may have to answer the question “Why are we doing this?” many times to identify the outcome the business is seeking.
  • Use metrics to incentivize and/or create healthy competition among development teams.
  • As part of your decision-making process, measure the potential value of a virtualization against the cost of building the virtualization; SV may be prohibitively expensive in some circumstances.

Develop SV Project Selection Criteria

Selecting the wrong projects can affect team morale and diminish SV ROI. Organizations can avoid many problems by establishing clear SV project selection criteria and adjusting them as needed. Consider these criteria:

  • A well-articulated business problem or challenge
  • Stakeholder sponsorship and commitment
  • The existence of before-and-after metrics for developing value statements
  • A good understanding of complexity and data dependencies
  • Availability of skills and project team willingess to support SV

SV adoption and transformation are personally significant for people involved in these projects. The above tactics can help teams focus on delivering long-term success.

My next blog will peek into federation and communities of practice. Your comments and questions are always welcome.

Links:

Maximizing Your DevTest Investment

Making the Most of Your Service Virtualization Assets

SV Requires Transformation at Scale

Change Management: A Key Element in Your SV Strategy