Years ago, I was working on an organizational transformation project with a client that could create code very quickly, but would then let it sit on the shelf for months before actually deploying. There was digital velocity within their development teams, but then the process would break down, resulting in an inability to branch and merge code to move it out the door to customers in a quick and reliable way. From an antiquated environment structure to a bureaucratic change management process, there were quite a few bottlenecks.
Let’s picture a railroad. The train moving down the tracks is made up of your tools, processes, and methodologies. Your teams are the people who get on the train and understand how to operate it. And the velocity is how fast the train moves.
In my previous example, the train kept breaking down because their tools, processes, and methodologies weren’t sound. Once we fixed those bottlenecks, the train went from taking 6 months to get to its destination to one day. Talk about digital velocity.
The terms “digital velocity,” “digital transformation,” “business modernizations,” “innovation,” etc., are more colloquial today than they were years ago. In the dawn of COVID, the pace of digital transformation accelerated faster than it ever has before, and that pace continues to quicken. In fact, in 2022, spending on digital transformation is projected to reach $1.8 trillion, and by 2025, global digital transformation spending is forecast to reach $2.8 trillion.
We know moving fast and leveraging enabling technologies is table stakes today. As leaders, we need to move our trains as fast as possible without falling off the tracks. Let’s dive into three ways to increase your digital velocity:
- Agile Methodology is considered the new normal and is a fundamental component of driving digital velocity at any organization. If you haven’t fully embraced the Agile manifesto yet, you risk being behind the curve. But following the rules of the methodology is essential. Place code over development, collaboration over documentation, and listen to what your team needs to give you agility without being weighed down.
- DevOps complements Agile methodology and is the new standard for how you should promote code. It merges and integrates your teams to ensure a diverse range of skillsets working across the entire project lifecycle. Collaboration and combined workflows aid continuous delivery which ensures high velocity.
- Virtualization and containerization play an integral role in driving velocity in the software delivery lifecycle. From being able to greatly reduce your IT expenses, to reducing downtown, and promoting interdependence and DevOps, virtualization brings a never-ending amount of efficiencies to the business. As companies begin dipping a toe in with cloud computing, virtualization and containerization are core ways to immediately gain speed, while reducing overall IT costs.
Lastly, while not essential, consider Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), which is when those who are responsible for code switch places with dev team members to fully understand the entire project, resulting in improved production. Historically, there would be division between production support and development teams and sometimes even separate books of knowledge and libraries but what we have realized today is that continuity is essential at helping drive velocity.
So… what is one concept or initiative you can drive forward in your business tomorrow to start to get your train moving fast and in a purposeful direction?