How to scale DevOps: Tackle 7 common time-wasters

How to scale DevOps: Tackle 7 common time-wasters

From bad handoffs to over-production of functionality, these issues will slow down your DevOps work. Here's how to identify and minimize them

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5. Over-Processing

Are you asking newcomers of the team to relearn legacy and undocumented code?

This is probably the easiest of all the waste types to solve. It refers to putting too much effort into things that are not really required. Examples include investing time and resources in things that are not essential to the feature or the system, or asking newcomers of the team to relearn legacy and undocumented code.

To avoid this, help individuals focus on the key feature functionalities that deliver the proper value through clear user stories. Additionally, slotting enough (but not too much) time to implement features can help individuals stay focused and avoid redundant code. Lastly, developing with the mindset of future re-use can help overcome complex functions in the product that can be handled by new employees once the original developers shift away from the team. 

6. Over-Production

Over-production waste results from developing features and products that no one will ever use. Many readers will have experienced such waste. To resolve it, focus software development only on the right stories to develop that are clearly attached to epics, initiatives, themes, etc. Proper and frequent reviews within the feature team can identify deviation from the agreed-upon scope and help team members stay in the right delivery lanes. 

7. Defects/Rework

Also, painfully familiar to many people is the waste caused by the amount of quality issues that lead to defects and code re-work. Implementation of fast and timely feedback through proper CI with build-acceptance automated testing — mixing various types of tests from unit through functional, integration, and end-to-end — will reduce the number of escaped defects.

Identifying your own DevOps slowdowns

As is the case in so many aspects of software development, there is no "one size fits all," and some teams will identify with only some of the types of waste described or will identify subsets of waste specific to their own organizations.

One thing is universal, however: To scale and mature DevOps, it is vital to understand the types of waste that DevOps teams carry and what implications those have on operational costs, business efficiency, and the customer experience. With that knowledge, teams are then in good shape to start tackling waste. After all, knowing the nature of the problem is always half the battle. 

[ Want to give your team a greater sense of urgency? Get our resource: Fast Start Guide: Creating a sense of urgency, with John Kotter. ]

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