02 Oct 2020

DevOps Economics

It's the Economy Stupid

Why is DevOps such a big deal?

This month we take a macro level look into the critical basis for the DevOps movement. As with anything transformative, it is driven by results…economic results! Within the defense domain we often hear that “this DevSecOps thing is for the software engineers, it doesn’t apply to me”. In reality, DevSecOps is foundational to digital transformation we see occurring across commercial, government, and defense industries.

The core aspect we need to consider when applying DevOps to our programs is that continuous flow is the objective. That continuous flow must be applied throughout the value stream to the greatest extent possible. We have a status-quo of continuous stop/review/approve that must be overcome. To achieve this continuous flow requires us to think very differently about how we deliver real mission value. Consider past economic transitions such as the shift to extensive factory automation. This was no more a “robot thing” than this is a “software thing”. Both are “economic things” and the robots or the software are the tools that drive the transformation. To achieve the expected outcome the entire value stream must be considered and analyzed using core lean principles. Lead time, flow time, active time, and wait time must be assessed throughout the entire process. Wait time must be eliminated or reduced. Active time must be analyzed for efficiencies or automated where possible. Quality assessment, safety, and cyber resiliency must be inherent in the process, ensuring value can be continuously delivered with confidence.

I encourage everyone to find a copy of the recent white paper “Into the Matrix” published by Dr. Will Roper of the US Air Force. Unfortunately, it is not marked for public release so I cannot post it for you. This 19 page paper is both informative and entertaining. The critical take away for me was an emphasis on the true meaning of digital transformation. Recognize that replacing a paper form with a MS Word document doesn’t deliver the required value of a digital transformation. Replacing drawings for an aircraft with CAD alone doesn’t deliver the required value. It is a question of how that digital artifacts integrates into the deliver process, supports test and analysis, and can be established sufficient confidence to move from digital to physical quickly, affordably, and with high quality that matters most.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the virtual meetup this month. I’m considering a move to a hybrid format in future months depending on how the COVID situation evolves. The safety of our community remains the #1 priority, so nobody will be asked or expected to do anything that makes them uncomfortable. If we can make it work, I’d like to keep the hybrid format for the long term to allow participation by our friends from across the country. E-mail me if you have a preference or ideas on how we can proceed and improve!

This month’s DevOps Economics presentation is posted as open source to our GitHub repository.

If you can’t make it to our meetup, remember to subscribe to the DevOps for Defene YouTube channel.


Image taken from Pintrest.