Keep cALMs and do mindful SAP DevOps
Implementing the DevOps optimization approach in your company keeps popping up in your mind,
but you still hesitate, if this is an appropriate way for your business? Feel free to ask yourself the following questions:
- How might we support the necessary Cultural mind-shift?
- How might we increase the Automation level of our plan, build, test, deploy and run processes?
- Is my company able to build software in a Lean way?
- Am I aware of the appropriate KPIs to drive my DevOps initiative? How do I want to Measure?
- Which possibilities do I have to focus on the necessary social-networking tasks?
How is Sharing of feedback organized?
- Which technology in a SAP landscape is able to support my plans?
- Are the right people in charge with strong leadership and communication skills?
What is the meaning of DevOps?
DevOps is consisting of two compound words: development and operations. Always be aware of the
optimization approach of DevOps which lists plan, code, build, test, release, deploy, monitoring and operate by the tool-chain for DevOps. Still, it’s not all about tool-chains it’s about culture.
The questions above implement the importance of the first C, which clearly stands for culture. I am certain that managing the cultural shift is the master topic. Let’s take a look at the other issues concerning a DevOps approach:
Jez Humble is co-author of The DevOps Handbook, Lean Enterprise and the Jolt Award winning Continuous Delivery. He named cALMs as a conceptual framework for the integration of development and operations teams, functions and systems. (see http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/CALMS).
Do you have suitable leaders and communicators on board?
According to many organizations and companies, DevOps leads you to competitive advantage – if you do it right and if you emphasize the “people management” as the all-dominant part of it, only.
All experts are outlining that DevOps needs a “cultural shift”. To be more specific. I’m talking about the organizational and behavioural modification. For this process, leadership abilities are required. The question is, who will take responsibility and who will cause this crucial process to flow? Find the names in the following blog post:
According to that blog post, directors of development are the ones who are responsible for driving DevOps initiatives, followed by chief architects and finally the managing directors. The “new” role of the enterprise architect is very important especially if we take a look at the SAP agile implementation approach
Technology in SAP that does support SAP agile implementation based on DevOps principles!
I want to share with you my 101 of “how to DevOps in a scaled SAP implementation approach”:
Again I follow the cALMs framework.
- The Cultural change is the kingpin of the entire DevOps approach. Convincing your teams to change their behavior is essential. Start with a piloting team. This challenge can only be mastered by a fervent team. Establish an appreciative and open communication habit in that team. Convince your business units to give continuous-feedback. An easeful way is transparency about issues, requirements, work packages, work items and releases.
The solution readiness dashboard is appropriate for that.
- Automate as much as possible.
For an SAP approach use the following tools along the DevOps tool chain.
(a) Planning IT-PPM projects and releases in Solution Manager
(c) Build the increments by using the requirements, work packages and work items of
Focused Build. (see https://blogs.sap.com/2017/03/08/how-to-ensure-document-steering-and-release-management-with-sap-solution-manager-part-1/) for more information)
(d) For deciding about the testing scope switch on usage procedure logging (= UPL) or the SCMON (ABAP call monitor) and consider taking advantage of BPCA (business process change analyzer).
(e) Release all the release components. Make use of the Release Dashboard.
(f) Use the possibilities of SAP Focused Build for deploying and write a feature-list for your
(g) Monitor and operate your solution by means of SAP Solution Manager. You can use the IT-
Servicemanagement Dashboard here.
- Use Lean principles like Scrum or KANBAN. A partner of SAP (bsc solutions) provides a practical Scrumboard, which integrates with the Focused Build API. (see picture as follows).
(picture copyright bsc solutions).
If you ask me personally, … there is the aspect of Leadership, too.
Mindfulness is giving you an edge there but let me get back to that in a moment.
- Measurement in SAP Solution Manager is done by data providers and dashboards.
See an example I showed at the DSAG technology days in Stuttgart (February, 2018).
These data providers and dashboards should be available according to my informations with SP2 of SAP Focused Build on top of SAP Solution Manager 7.2.
Learn more about Focused Build here:
How to ensure customer mission-critical processes with Solution Manager and Focused Insights – Part 3)
- Sharing. My preferred principle in that area is known as Wikinomics. This means using the corporate Wiki or an ESN (enterprise social network) to share relevant content. For me the portfolio-backlog (highest level epics and product requirements) and the resulting feature-lists and functions-list of a release should be posted there.
Wanted – the mindful leader.
For mastering the transformation challenge of establishing DevOps!
You can’t lead others if you aren’t able to lead yourself. You need a clear head for that.
An SAP employee (program manager) states:
[..] “Mindfulness really clears your head and lets you approach your tasks in a more structured way” This is the reason why SAP has started a global mindfulness practice in 2013. (source and more information here: https://news.sap.com/keeping-a-clear-head/). Mindfulness is a leaders way to get focussed even more and to improve the social skills needed to lead a successful DevOps team.
Additionally Peter Economy defined in his blog post https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/the-9-traits-that-define-great-leadership.html that leadership embodies amongst others:
How can you strenghten your DevOps team leaders?
Train your teams and leaders in Mindfulness. Fight against the “wandering-mind” and get more and more focussed. Please be aware that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. … Do everything possible to make your leaders happy as said here:
[Why is]… mindfulness getting this attention? Because preliminary research suggests mindfulness contributes to personal health, happiness, resiliency, and effectiveness.
All this will help you to master the challenge you are facing while changing the organization to DevOps.
Turn it ON again!
DevOps is an interesting topic, I've been reading the books and I love the stories of how plants and IT departments were turned around with these principles.
I've tried Focused Build in the meantime and I've presented it to a couple of customers as well. Also interesting in terms of the capabilities and possibilities that are closer to DevOps / Lean principles compared to before.
I started trying out certain aspects to help improve team performance, like the kanban board and I also like this.
Chris Kernaghan presented a nice slide deck at SAP Inside Track Paris on this topic as well and the hardest part is the cultural change according to him.
It's definitely a more difficult task at hand in terms of pursuading an organisation (in case of external consulting) to go for this cultural change as it's beyond what I'm doing normally as being "core business". So yes I'm convinced that this is interesting / a good way to go but it's not directly what is happening at customer side which then also limits the opportunity rate to a certain degree in terms of putting Focused Build in place.
It makes sense when they go "all in" in terms of using all those scenario's / options in SAP Solution Manager Focused Build. If they opt out for many things, it's less effective and less differentiating.
Love to hear your thoughts on this.