Did You Mean DevOps or DevOps?

Depending on who you ask, DevOps is a suite of tools, a team of individuals, or a new corporate culture.

DevOps is another word starting to lose its meaning in today’s marketplace.

Ask an Engineer and DevOps is a set of tools or programming languages to take code from the Developer, package it up, and promote it through environments to production.

Ask a Product Owner and DevOps is a separate team of individuals maintaining the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment pipeline.

Ask a Senior Manager and DevOps is a culture inside the organization to promote interdepartmental communication and breaking down barriers.

Three opinions: a suite of tools, a team of individuals, or a new corporate culture.

More often than not when an organization is looking to solve problems with throughput from the product teams, a DevOps group is assembled to bridge the silos between various parts of the organization. Unfortunately, instead of bridging the gaps between the silos in the organization, a new silo is created around a set of new tools aimed at Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment.

Instead of connecting groups, the organization now has another team competing for precious budget, is bringing new tools and processes into an already complicated technical stack, and in the end the core problem still remains.

In the F5 State of Application Delivery report for 2017, DevOps was only selected by 20 percent of the 2,197 respondents as having a strategic impact on application delivery. Software as a Service (SaaS), Big Data, and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in the public cloud were far ahead of DevOps in strategic impact for the organization.

Overall, DevOps was selected as having strategic impact by just 20 percent of respondents. Among those in executive roles, DevOps was identified by only 17 percent, well below front-running SaaS (42 percent), big data (41 percent), and public cloud (IaaS) (39 percent). Among those identifying as having DevOps and cloud-related roles, DevOps took third place with 39 percent behind SaaS (44 percent) and big data (42 percent). This is in spite of evidence that organizations are engaging in at least the automation and orchestration aspects of DevOps.

However, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report published by The Linux Foundation and Dice, DevOps skills (59%) are second only to Developers (72%) as the most sought after position. Organizations have a real need to solve operational throughput problems to get products from the napkin to in front of the customer efficiently. Simply having a DevOps group inside the organization is not getting the job done. Clearly there seems to be a disconnect between the strategic value of DevOps and the drive to continue to build a DevOps team.

Given all of the confusion regarding how DevOps is defined and the strategic impact to an organization, it is important to have a single definition communicated throughout the organization. 

At Trility Consulting, we believe the delivery of testable, secure, software to production on a regular, repeatable cadence is the responsibility of everyone on the team. There are no walls, there are no silos. It all starts with amazing Product Owners, Developers, and Delivery Engineers who are focused on delivering an exciting application development experience. Everyone on our project teams are dedicated to diving in and understanding how we solve business problems together. 

When you hear a member of the Trility Consulting team talk about DevOps, we are talking about our commitment to the business problem at hand and delivering value to the clients we have the privilege to serve. As a team, we are focused on delivery.

Don’t Forget the “V” in MVP

Security, operational readiness, reproducibility, and scalability must validate the viability of a product.

Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, is a common term used by business leaders and product owners to help drive quick, iterative, product development to get products released to market faster. The goal is to release just those core features necessary to put the product in front of customers to learn about customer needs and validate assumptions prior to larger investments in a new product. Release quickly, release often, and adjust the product based on feedback from customers.

Product teams today do a great job of focusing on the M, Minimal. Constantly asking the team and business stakeholders when new feature requests are made, “Is this a requirement for MVP?”, helps prioritize development efforts and keep the team focused on making a timely and relevant release. Business stakeholders on a regular basis can see the features being developed during frequent demos and can provide direct feedback which goes back through the same intake process grounded by the same question focused on releasing the MVP. When the cycle is managed by a proactive Product Owner, it can be an extremely efficient way to get ideas from a napkin at lunch to a product in front of customers.

Where Product teams struggle is with making sure the V, Viable, is taken into consideration as a team. Security, operational readiness, reproducibility, and scalability are all important parts of any product which helps validate the viability of a product. Unfortunately in the race to production, these items fall by the wayside and show up on the backlog. When the team does release the product and receive customer feedback, they’re often stuck in a challenging position of either picking up the items in the backlog tagged as After MVP or continuing to refine the product to keep customers engaged. As it should, the focus remains on the customer and meeting the business objectives for the product. The weight of the backlog eventually causes cracks in the team, cracks in the product, and a new round of questions for business stakeholders to consider regarding whether to refactor, rewrite, or sometimes, a new MVP to fix the problems from the previous MVP.

Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, Security by Design, Test Driven Development, Performance Testing, Infrastructure as Code – these are all terms many development teams are familiar with and actively promote inside organizations today. However, many of these items are the first things added to the backlog during MVP development when teams are racing against the clock. We need to do a better job as Engineers communicating to business stakeholders that each of these items are individually, and collectively, an important part of making a product viable.

We can still meet the needs of a minimal product by constraining the conversation in each case to the product being developed. The product may not have a need to support a thousand requests a second for the MVP, but we should ensure performance testing frameworks are in place and exercise the product on a regular basis so issues can be discovered early and often during the development process. The product may only require a small amount of simple infrastructure to be deployed to support the MVP, but the infrastructure should be built and deployed in code alongside the rest of the product so as needs change the foundation is already in place to support rapid growth. The product may not have a requirement to support a security standard for the MVP, but the application should be built following a set of standard security practices and validated regularly with automated testing to support a growing customer base. 

Viable – the ability to work successfully and securely.

Product teams need to ensure when MVP is defined, the product’s ability to work successfully after release is front and center during the development process. Minimal helps you get to the first release; Viable ensures you make it to the second.

Compressing Time-to-Value Requires Understanding What’s Valuable

Knowing the cost of all the things in a software delivery chain doesn’t mean you’ve provided value to the customer.

The definition of value is subjective. Measuring expenditures is objective. If you ask someone in your company or team to define value, what do you think they will say? Will they discuss financials? Will they discuss projects, software releases or widgets created? Do you or your team define value to a customer by counting things?

As a quick exercise, define the value of your pants; not in terms of money, but in terms of value to you. Simply put, can you measure the value of your pants? Simpler yet, define the word itself – value. Like choosing wine, art, and music, defining value is subjective to whoever is shopping.

In business, we use cost accounting to count things. Ironically, cost accounting does not define value for a customer, nor does it delight a customer. It simply counts things.

When we use cost accounting to measure, we’re being fiscally responsible. However, the focus on the cost of things leads companies, teams, and individuals to perceive that cost of acquisition, cost of ownership and return on investment math defines value. While the company that sold you pants can measure their investment throughout the entire supply chain down to the point of sale, that math doesn’t define how you value pants, their brand or company. Were you able to measure the value of your pants? What would make you purchase a second pair of those pants?

Taking software projects and breaking them down into people, time, and cost helps us count things. In order to deliver product and service solutions to customers, we count things. Does that seem weird? Does it seem weird we can count all of the things in a project, feel good about ourselves, and still have no idea what the customer actually values?

Does knowing the cost of all the things in a software delivery chain mean we know when we’ve provided value to the customer? Unfortunately, it does not. It only suggests we know how to count.

If we can objectively count money, but we cannot easily measure a customer’s perceived value of things, as business and technology leaders and team members, how do we increase the probability of making first-time and recurring sales? Most of us are in business to make a living. Making a living requires money, which requires sales. If we don’t know what a customer values, how do we make sales?

“What!?” you say to me. “I’m not a sales, advertising or marketing person. That’s their job to do that rubbish. I just deliver stuff.” I’m not a marketing, advertising or sales expert either. However for those who are, as a technology leader I can help them do their jobs better by providing shorter time to revenue windows which helps them discover shorter time to value windows for both the company and the customer.

In other words, marketing, advertising, and salespeople need options every moment of every day to adapt to varying customer scenarios, gain market-share, crush competitors and make money to pay our salaries and business expenses. And they need them now, not when the business and/or technical teams can get to it.

What is the time between having an idea and delivering the idea in order to delight a customer and generate revenue?

In your company, is the flow of a product solution from beginning to end smooth like fresh ice on a hockey rink and as fast as a hockey puck? Or is it more comparable to the starts and stops of a muddy, variably pothole laden road? Figuring out time-to-revenue and time-to-value factors depends on understanding how product solutions flow through your company.

If you build software solutions and/or run software operations for a living, what do you think about the following questions?

  • Why are there so many steps to get from idea on a napkin to implementation?
  • Why are there so many tools in the delivery chain?
  • Why does it take so long to find out if we broke something that worked yesterday?
  • Why can’t we know whether the product meets company standards all of the time?
  • Why do we test so late in the process potentially delaying our project?
  • Why can’t we know if we’re compliant with industry regulations every time we build software, every day of every week instead of during third-party audits performed quarterly and annually in arrears?
  • Why can’t we deliver small portions of the larger solution that can be marketed, advertised and sold along the way instead of waiting for everything to be finished before we can even begin advertising, selling and making money?
  • Why can’t we find a way to deliver at the highest quality and highest velocities at the same time? Why are they treated as mutually exclusive?
  • Is information security and performance really something I have to kick down the road until later?
  • Why does it seem like our projects are black boxes of magic until the very end?

Consider this: Sales people are expected to provide verifiable value that is daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually measured in qualified leads, follow-ups, sales and revenue with non-negotiable baseline margins, but people who build software products take as long as they take and spend as much as they spend?

If you're responsible for delivering solutions that enable customer delight resulting from sales, marketing and advertising successes, the distance between having an idea and realizing the ability to make money with said idea is called – time to revenue. 

The distance between having a product and knowing what product the customer actually wants to buy is called – time to value.

Question: Organizationally and operationally, what do you need to change in order to realize shorter and more frequent time-to-value discoveries?

If you’d like help figuring out how to compress the time it takes to get from an idea to making money while also including security, performance, quality and reliability from the beginning (instead of later), we’d like to help. Or if you’d like help determining how to more quickly and frequently discover, rediscover and provide recurring value for your customers, the teams at Trility Consulting know how to help you get from where you are to where you’d like to go.

We evaluate your business goals and current state of operations. Then we work with you to implement solutions which help you get there. We use 100% software-defined, continuous delivery behaviors including continuous test-driven development, continuous inspection, continuous compliance, continuous vulnerability assessments, continuous penetration testing, software-defined infrastructure, serverless architectures, secure enterprise-class cloud ecosystems and more. This is simply what we do and how we live even for our own projects – and we’ve been doing it for quite awhile.

We’ll help you discover what time to value looks like in your team and operation. And your customers will thank you for it.

ShowPal Launches Another Product

New Iowa-based startup offer product for showing a home without an agent or homeowner.

ShowPal, a Des Moines, Iowa based start-up founded by Chad Torstenson, recently launched its next product which enables showing a home without an agent or homeowner present.

Adding to the existing Property IQ product, ShowPal now provides the additional abilities to list, show, buy and sell your home without an agent should you choose to do so. And if you decide a bit of help along the way would be handy, ShowPal will provide the additional service of a broker!

The ability to perform autonomous home showings is the next in a series of products and services planned by ShowPal designed to make the process of selling, showing and buying properties safer, easier and cheaper for everyone involved.  To custom build these products and services, ShowPal engaged Trility, to help design, build and deliver their cloud and on-premises based software solutions. 

Trility Consulting focuses on helping companies adopt, build and operate in secure enterprise cloud ecosystems so companies can focus on serving customers.

Visit ShowPal’s site or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Nick Cardamon joins Trility Consulting

Serving as Senior Account Manager Nick will work with new and existing clients.

Trility Consulting is happy to announce that Nick Cardamon has agreed to join the organization as a Senior Account Manager responsible for client relationship management!

Nick comes to us with a long history of managing relationships and projects with other companies including his own. And in our interactions with him through time and different situations, we knew we wanted to work him!

Nick is involved with acquiring new clients, projects and teams, as well as, staying involved with existing clients to ensure Trility Consulting is consistently performing at and above commitment in each and every relationship.

Our entire leadership team is always available to serve our present and future customers. And with the addition of Nick Cardamon our team is a bit larger and more capable to bring value to you and your organization.

Welcome Nick Cardamon to Trility Consulting!

Eric Gerling joins Trility Consulting as CTO!

He’ll continue to work with clients in determining what problems or goals they seek to address.

Trility Consulting is happy to announce that Eric Gerling has agreed to become the Chief Technology Officer for the organization!

Eric has been acting in the capacity of Chief Cloud Product Architect, Principal DevOps Engineer and Principal Software Engineer helping our Fortune 500 and SMB customers determine how to adopt and evolve into predictable, repeatable, secure enterprise cloud architectures, platforms, and operations.

Eric is typically one of the first people working with customers to help determine what problems or goals they seek to address, provide multiple options to meet those needs and then be part of the leadership team that implements the solution path alongside the customer.

While continuing to work in the aforementioned capacities, in his new role Eric will also spend time exploring business growth opportunities for Trility Consulting, consult with Trility Consulting’s partner company, IronBench, as well as, work to ensure that business and technology solutions provided by Trility Consulting are consistent with today’s and tomorrow’s industry best practices.

Trility Partners with Amazon Web Services

Services include cloud adoption, migration, implementation and evolution to multi-level continuous cybersecurity solutions, and full-spectrum application and systems development.

As a result of the experience gained while helping start-ups, SMBs and Fortune 500 and 100 companies adopt and operationalize AWS, Trility Consulting is proud to announce its official partnership status with Amazon Web Services.

Trility Consulting is a Des Moines, Iowa based people-first, full-stack solutions company built to help our customers and partners meet and beat their goals. Our efforts include cloud adoption, migration, implementation and evolution to multi-level continuous cybersecurity solutions, and full-spectrum application and systems development.  

Our focus is understanding your needs, providing you multiple solution paths and implementing the most valuable, mutually agreeable solutions that enable you the greatest flexibility to change as your goals change.

We’re available to help you define and refine opportunities, discover solution options and directions, coach, collaborate, lead, develop and deliver on your needs now.  If you’re considering cloud adoption or migration, wondering how cloud changes cyber-security for you, or want to build and evolve software solutions and operations in the cloud, get in touch with us.

APN Consulting Partners are professional services firms that help customers design, architect, build, migrate, and manage their workloads and applications on AWS. Consulting Partners include System Integrators, Strategic Consultancies, Agencies, Managed Service Providers, and Value-Added Resellers.

Trility Consulting and IronBench Partnership

Products focused on cloud adoption, cloud operations, and information security and regulatory compliance behaviors.

Trility Consulting now offers IronBench’s cybersecurity suite of products and offers custom builds.

IronBench of Des Moines, Iowa, launched in January 2017, is a product company focused on cloud adoption, cloud operations, and cloud-focused information security and regulatory compliance behaviors.

Product Offerings

IronBench Cloud Config is designed to help companies securely adopt and evolve cloud ecosystems.

IronBench Compliance Navigator helps understand organizational regulatory and compliance status in relation to pertinent industry standards.

Trility Consulting, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, is a professional services company focused on discovering what goals customers would like to achieve and then helping them get there through lean, continuous delivery behaviors.

Contact Trility Consulting or IronBench if you’d like to discuss opportunities together!

The Great Experiment

We are here today because people joined together to define, implement, vigilantly defend and evolve an idea.

Today we celebrate the July 4th, 1776 birth of a nation – the 241st birthday of the United States.

Every year we celebrate the independence of this nation from all other nations and peoples. And because there are so many of us who are all so very different, we tend to celebrate the independence of this nation, and our individual autonomy, in many different ways including with food, fireworks, friends, family, heritage, outdoor recreation, sports and the arts.

Independence Day is also a time for us to remember those who came before us, those who paved the way for our today, as well as and in particular, those who paid the ultimate price giving their lives for this country. People who chose to do what was necessary at the time so that generations of people would benefit well into the future.

There is good reason for some historical figures, then and now, to refer to the United States as a “grand experiment.” What an experiment to watch generations of people, all with varying histories and perspectives, come together and fight to forge a nation based upon a singular idea – the freedom of and right to self-governance.

We are here today because of an idea. We are here today because people, generation after generation, choose to join together to define, implement, vigilantly defend and evolve an idea.

How difficult it must have been to form an idea and take a stand all those years ago. How difficult it has been to protect and evolve that idea every day, month and year since. How difficult it will continue to be for us today and the generations that follow.

All for an idea for which I am grateful to benefit. All for an idea for which I am grateful to contribute.

All for an idea.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Preamble to the Declaration of Independence