Friday, September 21, 2018

Your Dad's DevOps is Dead

Agile.  Test Driven Development.  DevOps.  All of these terms represent phases that the application development community, as a whole, have gone through for various reasons.  Whatever the reason, however, they all miss the mark.  Yes, I just said that.

Several years ago, I conducted a webinar entitled Agile is Dead.  The title wasn't only incendiary to those who attended; I even heard from the agile project management solution's product team who decried my title as an attempt to force them into irrelevancy.

"Never mind that," I told them.  "Listen to what the content is all about."  What was the content then, and why am I bringing it up now?

Back then, I argued that Test Driven Development was a fallacy because the one thing that was immutable was the release date.  Forcing developers to spend time developing test cases to be solved and that leaves developers less time to write the code that satisfies the test cases that they developed.  It was a relevant point then, but it's even more relevant now.

Remember:  there are a bevy of companies that do the same thing as your company.  Many of them are smaller, more nimble (by definition) companies.  And so giving your customers any excuse to go to them is a bad idea since, after all, your customers simply want to accomplish their own goals, e.g. by a new knick-knack that they feel they need.

Don't believe me?  Ask Amazon, which calculated in 2012 that it would lose $1.6B (that's billion) in revenue because of a 1 second delay in their shopping cart processing code.  1 second would cost them 10 digits of revenue.  And that's not just theoretical either - the news is littered with similar examples where a poor customer experience resulted in a huge impact on revenue.

Going back to my original point:  DevOps is dead.  In fact, I'd argue that it was never alive in the sense that it was the driving force behind business decisions.  Instead, it was the result of the recognition that the consumer landscape has irrevocably changed and, if companies aren't more mindful of the perceived value of the end result, their customers will leave.

Consider for a moment that statement.  A poor customer experience will result in a drop in revenue.

In March 2017, a study was conducted by Customer Gauge to determine the impact of Net Promoter Score (NPS) on revenue.  What they determined was that a 10 point increase in NPS corresponded to a 3.2% increase in revenue.  And while they didn't look at the converse of that conclusion (i.e. how much revenue is lost due to a 10 point drop in NPS), it's reasonable to conclude that there will be a drop of similar magnitude.

What does this all mean?  It means that you should stop focusing on whether development and operations can come together, hold hands, and sing kumbaya.  Instead, there should be a recognition that all parts of your company need to work together to ensure an exemplary customer experience.  There is no development or operations.  There is only the brand of your company and the effect that each individual has on that brand's value.

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