De-mystifying DevOps…Continuous Improvement & Innovation (Part 1)
In the last blog post in this series, we looked at operations readiness and optimization. The increased control and efficiency from the Operations Control Center is what allows organizations to capitalize on new opportunities for improvement and innovation.
Allocating time for continuous improvement of solution operations and enabling business innovation are two areas where integrated quality management complements DevOps concepts.
The second of Gene Kim’s ‘Three Ways’, amplifying feedback loops, seeks to shorten feedback cycles. For example, quickly capturing user feedback to after solution updates allows organizations to more quickly learn and react. This calls for communication channels that allow stakeholders to access and react on feedback. However, earlier touch points and iterative interactions with the Business during exploration and design phases yield better results in user satisfaction and acceptance. Enter the Quality Manager for Business Process Improvement.
From an organizational perspective, a working, controlled interface between the different lines of business and the IT organization units is vital for maintaining user and business owner satisfaction as well as for understanding and resolving any issues that impede business processes. The goal of the quality manager for business process improvement is close collaboration with business units to improve performance and usability of live business processes; identify top issues and improvement potential of end-to-end business processes; and make transparent exception reporting based on business requirements.
In order to improve the performance and usability of live business processes, the first step is to establish an interface to business units. Identifying a business process owner as a counterpart and establishing a regular cadence. This is necessary to understand business users, how they work, and what they do need. There are many opportunities to engage the Business to solicit user feedback including meetings and surveys. Feedback can also be automated to detect issues before users are affected. One example of automation is, for example End-User Experience Monitoring.
Whether it is user feedback or alert-driven, it is up to the Quality Manager for Business Process Improvement to identify top issues and improvement potential of end-to-end business processes. An analysis of the top issues with their impact on core business processes, most critical interfaces, or major technical components provides the context that informs the follow-up actions to the feedback. Business impact should be defined and agreed between all key stakeholders. They should also jointly define the exit criteria and a definition of a clear action plan for resolution. While many IT and Business teams may be involved, the Quality Manager for Business Process Improvement oversees the execution of the action plan and verifies progress.
The Quality Manager for Business Process Improvement follows a typical approach that drives continuous improvement by shortening the cycles of feedback to quickly get the necessary information where it’s needed – to those optimizing the usability and tuning the performance of live business processes. In the next post, we look at the role of Quality Management for Business Process Improvement in enabling innovation.