5 Habits of Highly Mature Software Organizations
What does it mean for a software organization to be mature? The truth is maturity doesn’t have a clear-cut definition. But as it turns out, mature organizations — defined as those that have had successful DevOps transformations, regularly exceed business objectives and have substantial year-over-year revenue growth — do share five habits in common.
1. Automating Software Delivery
Automation lets dev, ops, and shared services teams focus on the tasks that generate revenue, rather than on herding cats, because they know established best practices will be followed every time. A team at Autodesk, for instance, saw a 10x improvement in productivity when they adopted continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD).
2. Treating Release Orchestration as a Business Imperative
Software releases and compliance audits should be boring and easily repeatable. Visibility should extend beyond singular pipelines. Release orchestration ties together the tools, automation and data to provide a well-worn path to production, enable end-to-end visibility of release and pipeline health, and enforce governance, security, and compliance — all without hindering flexibility.
3. Adopting Best-of-Breed Solutions, But Judiciously
Industry-leading point tools will always exist. The ability to adopt new tools to capture competitive advantage is a hallmark of DevOps done well. Highly mature organizations need a platform that embraces those technologies, while providing compliance, governance, security and enterprise-class features.
4. Practicing Value-Stream Thinking
Knowing whether what you’re doing is of value to your customers can help you eliminate waste and optimize costs and resource utilization. For instance, if your performance testing is taking 30 minutes, but acceptance testing is taking 20 hours, you know where to focus your attention, and fast.
5. Using Feature Flags for Safer, Faster Software Delivery
Feature flags are often maligned. When implemented by hand, they can create technical debt due to ad hoc tangles of conditional logic in the codebase. But mature organizations like MacMillan Learning know that a software-automation platform with robust feature management eliminates that technical debt. Brydin Eckert, product manager with Macmillan Learning, says that “fast flexibility using flags allowed Macmillan to quickly deploy and release new features, gather feedback and iterate the product without interrupting what was already in production.”
Maturity in your organization will look different than in your competitors, of course, but one thing is certain: The reward for maturity is high. Forrester reports that high-maturity organizations are almost three times as likely to be growing at 15% or more year over year.
If you’re not already on board with the five habits outlined here, what are you waiting for?
To assess your own software delivery maturity or review Forrester Research’s six key recommendations for reaching software delivery maturity, check out Modernizing Software Delivery with End-to-End Automation, Orchestration and Collaboration.