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Plutora Blog - Agile Release Management, Release Management

Idea to Delivery: 3 Ways to Align IT Teams With Business Outcomes

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Business is demanding better, faster delivery of value from IT so it can compete in a market that’s moving at breakneck speed. How can IT accelerate business outcomes if it’s taking nine months to complete projects?

First and most important, align IT teams with business goals: acquire new customers, retain current customers, and boost revenue. When IT understands its role and significance in supporting those outcomes, it will earn a seat at the executive table.

Scheduling is critical

Transaction systems need to be rock solid, which is why platform releases are often six or nine months in the making. Business logic may need to be adjusted on a quarterly basis to support business changes while the User Experience layer may demand continuous updates for competitive reasons.

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Gartner Layered View of Applications

Pace layer map – Gartner.

Functional testing is table stakes but with customer-facing web-based applications, you should not forget to verify reliability, performance, or security. Performance testing needs a lab configured with high-performance network and additional servers to generate test load.

Making sure that the right environments are available at the right time and managing conflicts to support the highest priority need is critical to avoid unexpected delays. For example, making sure the performance lab is going to be available for the critical 10 days to keep your project on track.

Organizing for success

As digital business takes over IT, you need experts and leaders that know how to properly manage skilled resources and evaluate the latest tools. Traditional IT organizational structures built on a system management model with groups such as desktop support and similar technology ‘towers’ have reached their limits.

You may have considered a structure organized to support IT outcomes such as Plan – Build – Run. This structure was intended to break down the silos and empower teams to work across technology domains to facilitate performance improvement objectives.

Plan Build Run Structure

In 1999, Proctor and Gamble created an innovative Shared Services organization including finance, accounting, human resources, and later IT. Many companies are now adopting this as the next phase in their evolution to align more closely with business outcomes. Shared Business Services teams focus on accelerating and raising the value delivered to their business counterparts. No matter how you’re organized, the modern release lifecycle is a complex team sport.

Coordination avoids surprises and delays

Every project is a team effort. All the members of the release team play critical roles in completing the right activities at the right time. And everyone is dependent on their teammates for those tasks so that the whole process of developing, testing and preparing a release for production follows corporate guidelines. There are also many dependencies between activities and teams so everyone needs regular coordination to ensure accurate task completion.

Getting the information each stakeholder wants entails regular meetings with all the teams. Status updates and irrelevant questions leave no time for discussing risk and mitigation.

Starting and keeping releases on track takes a lot of effort. Mastering all the tools and a ton of data is a headache. But that’s only the beginning. All the disconnected systems mean spending half your time processing spreadsheets. Free up your time by automating data collection and sharing. Manage all projects, releases, and testing from a single system. Get updates in minutes.

Say goodbye to spreadsheets. And say no to daily meetings.