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Organizations that can simplify the software development process, reduce costs, and improve delivery speed and accuracy are the ones that experience continued success in their development efforts. 

By choosing modern and efficient approaches to development such as DevOps, they can reduce software delivery complexity. However, just embracing some DevOps tools is not enough to drive sustained business value. Organizations must be able to constantly assess their DevOps maturity level and take steps to improve their DevOps efficiency and throughput. 

The Purpose of DevOps Maturity Assessment

• Every organization today is at a different level of DevOps maturity: 

• some have broken processes, siloed tools, and no automation 

• some others have defined ALM/DevOps processes, scattered tools, and no automation 

• Some others have defined ALM/DevOps processes, integrated tools, and the right level of automation. 

Irrespective of what level of maturity, all organizations aspire to get the most of their DevOps efforts: they want to get end-to-end visibility into their DevOps lifecycle, reduce the number and impact of bugs, and improve operational delivery excellence.

Organizations that have embraced or are looking to embrace DevOps to deliver applications and associated changes at higher speed and evolve faster, need to be aware that DevOps is not a one-time activity. 

Why DevOps Maturity Assessment?

Regular assessment is critical to spot bottlenecks, identify areas of opportunities, and drive efficiency improvements.

• Given the pace at which technology and customer needs change, assessments help answer some critical DevOps questions, such as, do the DevOps strategies continue to be aligned with larger business goals? What are the tweaks that need to be made to ensure alignment? What efforts should be taken to improve the DevOps outcomes?

• Assessment not only helps in determining if the processes being followed are in line with business objectives, but it also allows for outlining current maturity and identifying a roadmap of improvement areas. 

Types of Assessments

Organizations that want to get the most out of their DevOps efforts can gain a lot by carrying out Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment.

• Qualitative Assessments: Qualitative Assessment enables organizations to interview cross-functional teams about current processes, challenges, and improvement plans while enabling them to make the necessary changes to improve ALM & DevOps outcomes. By providing end-to-end insights into existing processes, it helps teams understand their current DevOps state and the tools and processes they need to collaborate better, identify issues faster, and improve product quality and time-to-market.

• Quantitative Assessments: Like Qualitative Assessment, Quantitative Assessment helps organizations in assessing their current state of DevOps, quantify objectives, and build a roadmap to align DevOps goals with organizational goals. By breaking down the complexity of the software delivery process, it helps teams better plan their investments, improve software development and delivery, and achieve maximum ROI. 

Through Quantitative regular assessment, organizations can

• Baseline where they currently are and measure their DevOps progress from there. They baseline their current baseline so that they can quantify and measure progress w.r.t baseline as they iteratively make progress in the processes, systems, and culture. 

• Benchmark where they are with respect to reference companies' points in the industry. These reference companies can be from the peer group within the competitor or sometimes from other industries as well. e.g. Amazon releases software updates multiple times a day. 


Process of Assessments

To get a clear idea of what DevOps processes are underperforming, performing as expected, or overperforming, the right assessment approach is important. 

Here are some tips for setting the right process for assessment:  

• Questionnaires for Assets: The first step in setting the right DevOps assessment process is to begin by having a questionnaire for each asset or function. Questionnaires can act as clear indicators of DevOps maturity; they can help in probing the output that is produced in comparison to what was inputted. They can also help understand how quickly information flows between different functions as well as the challenges or bottlenecks in the existing DevOps process. 

• Mode: To understand the level of maturity of DevOps, organizations need to use the right mode of assessment. Interviews, surveys, or a mix of both at various levels are great ways to achieve detailed findings of what various team members feel about the DevOps process, the challenges they face, the changes they expect, and their personal recommendations on how to improve the DevOps process efficiency. 

• Evaluation: Continuous evaluation of DevOps processes, tools, and practices can help establish the desired maturity level. Organizations must constantly assess the effectiveness of handshakes between teams/departments/ functions and drive efforts in improving communication and collaboration between them for the faster accomplishment of business goals. 

• Analysis: In addition to setting up questionnaires, surveys, and interviews with key DevOps personnel, organizations must also constantly work towards analyzing their DevOps processes while answering key questions such as: 

How well are processes defined?
How well are processes being followed? 
How well are processes systemized or handshakes integrated? 
How well are processes automated?

Conclusion

For many businesses, the path to DevOps success is not straightforward: not because of the wrong process or the wrong tools, but because of the inability to have a process in place for continuous DevOps maturity assessment. 

Given the fact that DevOps is not just about adopting a handful of tools but about developing a culture of CI/CD, the continuous assessment helps evaluate the current DevOps abilities and ensures every team member is aware of the changes or improvements that need to be made for improved results. DevOps maturity assessment is critical to ensure that software delivery processes are aligned with business goals and products are shipped faster - without compromising quality or speed-to-market.

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