This blog explains how to apply my Seven-Step Transformation Blueprint to containers.
Digital transformations are hard. Many organizations falter while trying to transform their people, practices and technologies to meet strategic objectives. Each organization is different. What works for one may not work well for others. Nevertheless, after being involved in more than 80 large digital transformation projects, I have learned that organizations that follow a disciplined blueprint are better able to keep their digital transformation strategies and projects on a path to success.
Digital transformations require skilled leaders and engineers that have a profound understanding of continuous testing, DevOps, DevSecOps and SRE practices. Leadership and engineering solutions require the persistent, methodical application of those skills and practices toward leading and designing solutions that achieve business and team goals.
While driven by visionary ideals, engineering requires practical, disciplined, progressively refined implementations using carefully chosen dimensions of people, process and technology solutions. At any point in the engineering life cycle, the goal is to achieve a balanced solution while evolving practices towards maturity.
The engineering blueprint prescribes seven steps for achieving and continuously refining digital transformations methodically, no matter what the goals or current levels of maturity are. The seven steps are visioning, alignment, assessment, solution, realize, operationalize and expansion. Each step considers people, process and technology aspects of the transformation.
Step One – Visioning
Top leaders define a strategic vision for the organization’s digital transformation including a motivating vision statement, measurable goals, team values and major implementation tactics.
Identify senior sponsors that will own the transformation at the strategic level. Include key partner organizations that need to be strategically aligned to the transformation. The use of containers can be called out as part of the implementation tactics supporting the vision.
Step Two – Alignment
Leaders and key team members who are most important to the implementation of the transformation align specific measurable goals and tactics for selected “model” applications. Specific measurable goals regarding containers would be set at this step.
Step Three – Assessment
For the current state of selected applications, capabilities are discovered and assessed, deep-dive assessments are conducted for specific topics and a current state value stream map is created relative to the organization goals. My earlier blog, Containers Practices Gap Assessment, explains my recommended approach for conducting an assessment for containers.
Step Four – Solution
An expert team performs analysis of assessment data and formulates a future-state value stream roadmap including themes, epics and user stories and obtains alignment with key stakeholders.
My earlier blog, Containers and Kubernetes in the DevOps Value Stream, explains how to derive a future-state value stream map and solution for containers.
Step Five – Realize
Proof of concept (POC) trials are conducted to validate solution choices. The solution is validated with selected applications and use cases. Training is conducted as the solution is deployed to production. Governance practices for the new solution are activated.
Step Six – Operationalize
Deployed improvements are monitored and controlled with metrics. Retrospectives are conducted to create actionable, prioritized lessons learned for continuous improvement. My earlier blog, Enterprise Container Platforms Optimize Operations, provides context for this step and potential ongoing improvements as the use of containers is expanded in step seven.
Step Seven – Expansion
Once continuous flow (the first way of DevOps) is realized for a select set of applications with containers, the organization can safely expand the solutions to other applications across the organization. Further transformation cycles will lead to realization of continuous feedback (the second way of DevOps) and continuous improvement (the third way of DevOps).
What This Means
The seven step transformation blueprint described in this blog can help organizations leverage the value of containers as an important part of their digital transformation. To learn more about how to apply the blueprint to containers and other key elements of digital transformation, refer to my book Engineering DevOps.