Philippe Minsart, Division Manager DevOps: ‘We’re seeing that all sort of companies are experiencing difficulties in completing their software projects successfully. They’re often lacking the people they need and so also the strength. Classic models for developing new goods and services are failing.’ Scalable and flexible help – in the form of Functionality as a Service (FaaS), paying for software features as you use them – can therefore offer some solace. FaaS is about receiving only the business values you want from software features, rather than keeping IT development under your own management and paying for all the necessary expertise and associated costs. Minsart: ‘FaaS isn’t limited to technology or a platform. It’s a way of providing our application services and ensuring the customer is getting exactly what they want and need. The unique approach used by our DevOps Factory, the platform where we provide these services, is indispensable.’
Clients actively cooperate in DevOps Factory
DevOps is a literal combination of ‘development’ and ‘operations’, which covers the entire software development life cycle, including operational maintenance, service management and continuous improvement. Realdolmen’s DevOps Factory brings the development and operational activities together with people working in a fixed and multifunctional team. They build and maintain applications with the highest level of commitment to unburden you and your team. Collaboration and knowledge sharing are important cornerstones in the DevOps Factory’s operation. And as a customer, you’re an active part of this too. This way of working (together) doesn’t just safeguard quality and efficiency; it also ensures fast delivery. ‘Giving the team collective responsibility helps us stimulate cross-functionality within the team,’ explains Minsart. ‘This benefits the quality and speed, because ultimately it’s all about delivering a continuous IT service to the customer. The fact that we work in fixed teams that stay together for project after project is beneficial for customers in another way too. The traditional transfer from the development team to the maintenance team is often accompanied by extra costs and can result in discontinuity, also on a human level. But in the DevOps Factory, we break down the proverbial wall between project mode and maintenance mode.’
From ideas to functionality with business value
As well as the fixed teams, the DevOps Factory also uses shared locations and tooling. Standardisation in terms of architecture and technology increases predictability, including when it comes to estimating the workload and insights into costs. ‘Combine this with the Agile Scrum methodology that we use, and you have leverage for quickly converting ideas into functionality with intrinsic business value. Because that’s what it’s ultimately all about, of course,’ says Minsart. Agile, as an extremely suitable methodology for responding to ever-changing circumstances, is an obvious choice. It’s an approach that inherently assumes business needs can and will change during the development process, so it works iteratively in short sprints, with regular feedback loops leaving room for change and progressive understanding. Minsart: ‘We have coaches to supervise this process on the work floor. Agile working relies on having the right mindset and applying it correctly, but it’s often implemented wrongly. A support team also provides assistance in specific domains such as architecture, quality control, UX and change management. And this latter aspect is not insignificant, because you need to do more than just deliver the desired functionality if you want to realise business value; you also need to ensure users can and want to cooperate. Only when you do that can functionality result in real business value.’
Financial benefits and flexibility
The financial benefits of DevOps and Agile working are well known: the short iterations ensure a lower rate of failure and a faster time to market, allowing the financial balance of software development to move in a positive direction. The permanent prioritisation and focus on business value are only invested in important and relevant functionality. ‘At least as interesting are the flexible contracts we use,’ says Minsart. ‘When business requirement changes, or if it turns out that the goal has already been achieved after a completed iteration, the process can be adapted or you can choose to use the remaining budget differently.’ Minsart: ‘Our added value comes from our flexibility, in the sense that the customer can upscale or downscale a team using a pay-per-use model. There’s no full investment required in advance, but rather an opex approach where you pay for a specific functionality and only that functionality.’ He concludes: ‘Functionality as a Service and the DevOps Factory result in maximum unburdening of all facets of software development and maintenance, with the aim of accelerating digital development with maximum returns from the investment. It gives you the handles you need to benefit from the new developments, trends and innovations that make your company future proof.’
Give yourself time and space to think about the future
Time is scarce and can only be spent once. Operational tasks often require so much attention that the development of an innovation strategy is pushed forward every time in agendas. Together with Realdolmen as a partner, you can look at what you can do more and better if you do not have to worry about anything else.
Read all about it in our new SimplICiTy magazine, you can download below.