In the past three parts we have looked at Why (part 1), What (parts 2a and 2b) and How (parts 3a and 3b). In this last part we are going to look at Who and distil down to the essentials of what Orchestrated Application Delivery is all about.
It doesn’t matter what your development processes look like, nor what methodology you’re following nor which platform you are developing for. Whatever your technology topology you will find that automation will significantly improve how you deliver applications.
Of course, it is all about the process and not the tools. But it is easier to improve automated processes than it is to improve manual ones; to enforce compliance, to obtain metrics, manage exceptions, and report on status… when automation is in place. So the rule of thumb here is “automate then optimize”. Of course, this results in the automation of bad processes. But it is going to be easier to fix that bad process in the long run.
So, who do we start with when we want to automate processes? The short answer is: we start where the most pain is being experienced. Automation brings rapid relief to organizational issues. These are often within a silo and can be implemented quickly, as all the decision-making authority is in one command structure.
They are, equally often, between silos, managing the boundary conditions and hand-offs, and can be implemented here too with speed and efficiency, though with more negotiation as two (or more) groups have the decision-making authority. As a result, it is essential to have senior management commitment to the automation project.
Whether it is managing the exchange of tasks and artifacts or just keeping track of status, the importance of automation cannot be understated. Incredible amounts of effort are expended in every IT department doing manually what could be done with automation. You need to find a champion on each team, in each silo, and involve them in every step of the automation process. Empower them to make the decisions for their team and make them responsible for communicating the project detail to their team members.
As we enter the deployment phase, your virtual team needs to celebrate the victories and highlight the benefits that are being accrued from the automation. This means regular comparison of the results with previous baselines of data so that the productivity gains can be shown and that the error rates can be seen as falling.