Many projects undertaken by enterprises are low profile, operational undertakings that seldom make headlines. These are the day-to-day, care-and-feeding efforts that keep the enterprise humming along: software must be updated, systems migrated, and supporting business processes evolved. These operational projects can pull from different budgets and are usually exempt from requirements to develop business cases and justify expense.
Mitigate Risks of Operational IT Projects
By approaching operational projects differently from strategic projects, enterprises miss out on the opportunity to innovate, reduce costs, and mitigate risks. Changes are often not reviewed by IT with the same rigor, exposing the project (and the organization!) to a variety of potential pitfalls, including:
- Implementing nonstandard or unsupported architectures or technologies that increase technical debt, risk and add cost
- Failure to comply with regulations and policies leading to legal issues
- Competition for IT resources adding significant delays
- Isolation from business stakeholders means decisions are made in a vacuum
Thankfully though, your IT department likely already has processes in place to mitigate these risks through DevOps practices. Even though your project may not entail writing code, the core DevOps principles can help your project achieve success.
Apply Core DevOps Tenets
- End-to-End Responsibility: Assemble a team including representatives from infrastructure, dev, QA, and support to gain insight into the project’s life cycle
- Continuous Improvement: Teams should challenge themselves to adapt and improve
- Effective Feedback: Identify what works (and what doesn’t) and share across teams
- Emphasize Automation: Remain focused on delivery by automating as much as possible
- Encourage Transparency: Share designs, progress, risks, accomplishments, and feedback to increase visibility across the organization
Treating operational projects like strategic projects can be a boon to your organization’s delivery cadence, reducing risk and driving success. The guidelines suggested above are a starting point for integrating these projects into the IT workstream, increasing visibility into the status of all projects and the demands placed on your IT teams. Implementing these core DevOps tenets can help shape a clear path to success, regardless of the obstacles presented.