In previous posts we’ve talked about the importance of organisational alignment and how application delivery organisations should ‘structure for success’ when pursuing customer-centric digital transformation.
The final two pieces to the puzzle in this series are around the processes and technology. The process ensures that you move forward in the right way and that technology helps you to deliver the best possible outcome.
Organisational alignment demands that those running IT - and those tasked with application delivery - are fully attuned to the needs of the company and its customers. However, it’s not a case of aligning early and then retreating – processes play an important role in maintaining engagement beyond the initial lifecycle phases.
Organisations that commit to continuous value delivery always need to know that what is being delivered is having the desired effect. The installation of frequent quality checkpoints and reviews make this a reality.
Application delivery organisations need to be ready to act quickly on comments and requests that come their way – to avoid the embarrassment of fast feedback and slow responses. There should be little in the way of unnecessary siloes and hand-offs that reduce momentum - teams should be empowered to implement changes efficiently without the need for escalation. Leading performers boost business confidence in them through their obsession with ‘telemetry’, measurement and delivery cadence and are not afraid to open the digital delivery ‘flight-deck’ for all to see.
Forrester and others are currently extolling the virtues of value stream mapping (VSM) as a great way to quantify progress - giving business stakeholders visibility of the delivery pipeline, how value is being added, where work is stuck and how effectively budget is being spent. This is a giant step away from the ‘black-box’ delivery model and painful scenarios which reared their head in the TSB debacle.
For years, people have also been suggesting that testing needs to come out of the shadows and ‘shift-left’. In our experience, this still doesn’t seem to be happening enough - or happening as far left as it should – hampering the ability to ‘engineer’ quality into releases and meaning instead that it needs to be retrofitted.
Incidents like the ones we’ve all read about recently should surely be a driver for testing being considered earlier and the end of old-hat thinking and assumptions about the end results.
The modern customer is unable and unwilling to wait forever for those end results either – we’ve all become rather impatient. Delivering quality is one thing, doing that at speed is quite another.
From a technology perspective, speed is greatly supported by automation throughout the SDLC – supporting continuous integration, continuous delivery and instantaneous regression testing. Nowadays, new applications are extremely complex and are often nestled in yet more complex digital ecosystems – the impact of the smallest changes in one system be felt elsewhere and early detection is 9/10ths of the law here.
At ROQ, we adopt a truly independent view of quality assurance and testing deliver services that start with an in-depth understanding of what our clients are trying to achieve and by when. For several years we’ve been vocal advocates for the shift-left agenda, the adoption of modern application delivery approaches and the use of automation throughout the SDLC (at the unit, API and GUI layers).
We’ll be discussing these themes in more detail on the 28th of June at our CIO Roundtable in Manchester focused on ‘Pathways to Customer-centric Transformation’. This event will touch upon many of the aspects covered in this series of articles and will be enriched with real-world examples from the likes of Worldline, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Lookers plc, Seadrill, Royal London, and Think Money Group. For more information please visit our CIO Spotlight page.