TAG | Agile & DevOps
It seems like every article, tweet, blog post I read someone has a different definition of the same buzzwords – especially in technology. Mentioning cloud or big data on a tech blog is like bringing sand to the beach. That’s one of the reasons why we made The Real DevOps of Silicon Valley - to make fun of the hype. I got to thinking… has anyone taken the time to shed some light on these ambiguous terms? I investigated on Urban Dictionary and this is what I found…
IT According to UrbanDictionary.com
(Not kidding, look it up…)
1. CLOUD COMPUTING
cloud com·put·ing, noun.
“Utilizing the resonance of water molecules in clouds when disturbed by
wireless signals to transmit data around the globe from cloud to cloud.
‘I use cloud computing so I don’t have to worry about viruses, I
only have to worry about birds flying through my cloud.’”
“Agile is a generalized term for a group of anti-social behaviors used by office workers to avoid doing any work while simultaneously giving the appearance of being insanely busy. Agile methods include visual distraction, subterfuge, camouflage, psycho-babble, buzzwords, deception, disinformation, and ritual humiliation. It has nothing to do with the art and practice of software engineering.”
3. BIG DATA
big da·ta, noun.
“Modern day version of Big Brother. Online searches, store purchases, Facebook posts, Tweets or Foursquare check-ins, cell phone usage, etc. is creating a flood of data that, when organized and categorized and analyzed, reveals trends and habits about ourselves and society at large.”
“When developers and operations get together to drink beer and color on whiteboards to avoid drama in the War Room. Also a buzzword for recruiters to use to promote overpaid dev or ops jobs.”
Watch episode HERE.
“The parts of a computer that can’t be kicked, but ironically
deserve it most.
“The word the Knights of Ni cannot hear or say.”
(Monty Python & the Holy Grail reference)
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Disclaimer: No DevOps were harmed during the filming of this production.Link to this post:
This week Target announced that they will now be price matching BestBuy.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and ToysRUs.com’s prices all year-long – not just during the holiday season. Talk about competitive edge. ”Showrooming” is just one of the latest ways for retailers to make sure that THEY are the ones you spend your money with. But it doesn’t stop there.
Now that over 39% of all holiday shopping is done online – and the percentage is ever-growing – customer satisfaction is a big tell on how successful a company might be. FORESEE recognizes this correlation, and has been indexing customer satisfaction since 2005.
Here is my “Spark Notes” version of the Holiday 2012 Index:
What is “Satisfaction Score”?
The “E-Retailer Satisfaction Index” is an analysis of customer satisfaction with 100 of the largest online retailers by sales volume (according to Internet Retailer). The Index measures the satisfaction of online retail experience during the holiday season by “Satisfaction Scores” – which are extrapolated from 24,000 customer surveys between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The indicators of customer satisfaction with a retail website are:
- Increased revenues
- Loyalty to the site
- Likely to recommend the retailer to others
And findings show that satisfied customers are:
- 65% more committed to the brand
- 69% more likely to recommend the retailer
- 67% more likely to purchase from the retailer the next time
Naughty vs. Nice Numbers
The U.S. Holiday Edition 2012 Satisfaction Index comes in at an average Satisfaction Score of 78 (on a 100-point scale) – with Amazon scoring the highest (for the second consecutive year) at a score of 88, and Gilt.com scoring 72. This is a large gap considering that FORESEE estimates every one-point change on the Satisfaction Scale is a 14% change in the log of revenues generated – WOW!
Below are the FORESEE standout retailers based on Satisfaction Score.
Keep an eye out for companies in blue – they are AppDynamics customers!
1. Best of the Best Award (Criteria: Top Score)
- Amazon (See Graph Below)
It is awesome to have 4 AppDynamics customers as top satisfaction performers!
Netflix has been a leader 7 out of the 8 years that FORESEE has been indexing Satisfaction Scores.
3. Most Improved Since Last Year Award (Criteria: Increase of 3 points or more)
Besides making the Most Improved Since Last Year list, Overstock has been able to
achieve speedy mean time to resolution, from days or hours down to minutes,
when solving problems in their production environment by using AppDynamics.
See more Overstock.com achievements on video here.
4. Most Improved Over Time Award (Criteria: Significant Increase over 5 years)
Congratulations to Staples for making the Most Improved Over Time list! It’s great to see
another AppDynamics customer killing it against other big names in retail.
5. “Largest Declines Over Time” (Criteria: Significant Decreases over 5 years)
NONE ARE APPDYNAMICS’ CUSTOMERS!
So What Does This All Mean?
The explanations of these findings lie in the retailers’ ability to understand the customers’ expectations. In a nutshell, if they deliver and exceed customer expectations in online merchandise, functionality, prices, & content, then the retailer satisfaction score will be high. “Only when they understand this can they begin to prioritize the site enhancements and make business decisions that can generate the greatest return on their investment,” explains the article. Meeting expectations satisfies the customer – and therefore makes you money.
In this day-in-age, agile releases are the way to differentiate your site and keep up on the competition. Have you stopped to think, are my agile releases satisfactory for my customer? (And if you really want to differentiate your site, have you asked, are my agile releases going to exceed my customers’ expectations?) Moving forward with this in mind will increase your site’s revenues, boost site loyalty, and users will more likely recommend your site to others – who doesn’t want that?!
Don’t be like Gilt.com – falling guilty of not prioritizing the customer. Build to please, and that will surely make you money.
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See the full Holiday 2012 Edition of FORSEE’s E-Retailer Satisfaction Index here.
*All graphs and facts come from FORESEE E-Retail Satisfaction Index (U.S. Holiday Edition 2012)Link to this post:
As you may have heard by now, Stephen Covey – the author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” passed away this week. He published this book for the first time in 1989, just as I was entering the workforce and had a strong influence on how I analyzed my own effectiveness. To honor him and his contribution to professional development and the millions of lives that he has touched, I thought I’d tailor his Seven Habits to make them even more relevant and prescriptive to AppDynamics users – Application Operations, DevOps & IT Operations professionals.
Managing mission-critical apps isn’t easy. There is a lot of pressure to “keep the trains running on time” in an environment where change is a given. Thus, it can be very easy to spend your day on what’s “urgent” or “hot” instead of what’s most “important”. This relates to habit #3 of the Seven Habits and perhaps my favorite. Luckily, we work with some really strong App Operations & DevOps teams who have figured out how to be the most effective and have the most impact at their company.
So, what are their secrets and how can Stephen Covey’s habits help Application Operations folks be more effective? What do the most effective Application Operations groups do to differentiate themselves and their company? Let’s dig in and look at each habit one at a time.
1. Be proactive
Ok. This concept is a no-brainer for folks in Operations. If you let things happen to-you (ie reactive), you’ll spend your whole day responding to angry users and line-of-business folks…trapped in endless war-room conference calls trying to figure out why something broke after-the-fact. At the most basic level, being pro-active can only happen if you have enough visibility into how your applications are working before any problem reaches a Severity-1 level. Pilots can’t fly a plane without the right set of gauges and instrumentation, so don’t put your team in the position of operating a mission-critical app without the right level of visibility. Having visibility puts you in control and allows you to be proactive.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Define what success is and what impact you want to have on your organization. Go beyond uptime and availability measures and think about how your work can contribute to the company’s revenue achievement, revenue growth, competitive advantage, customer satisfaction, etc. Thinking in these terms will better align you with your Line-of-Business (LOB) colleagues as well as enhance your job satisfaction. Our users who can say: “my company would have never been able to grow web sales by 35% last year without my contributions to scaling and operating our app” have a lot of job satisfaction.
3. Put first things first
In a nutshell, this habit instructs us to prioritize tasks based on importance, rather than urgency. It is an easy trap to “live in your inbox” or see half the day get wasted by chasing down false alarms. I like Covey’s 2×2 matrix and it’s a good five minute exercise to put all of our projects/tasks in this matrix to ensure we are spending the bulk of our week on things that are both important and urgent. Certainly, the right Operations tools and automation can help provide focus by prioritizing what work will have the most impact on the success of a mission critical application.
4. Think win-win
This is also a major tenet of the DevOps movement – If Dev, Ops, and LOB all have divergent goals and objectives…there will always be tension and conflict. As the Operations guy, take the initiative to find out what matters to your Dev and LOB counterparts and how they measure success. Once you’ve don that, align your goals and objectives with theirs and co-build a plan to get there. What most of the successful DevOps shops are doing is picking shared goals/objectives that matter to Dev/Ops/ LOB and then aligning their efforts to achieve those goals. When everyone is committed to the same goals and a shared plan to get there, a lot of the daily conflict/political infighting goes away.
5. Think first to understand, then to be understood
Application Operations can be hard. For most of our App Ops users, they didn’t architect or code the application they are responsible for, but there is a lot they must understand about it to operate it successfully. On top of that, if their shop is agile, their app is likely changing all the time and it can be near impossible to know how it has changed each time. With agile, the days of complete knowledge transfer and gated exit criteria seem to be gone, so you’ll need different approaches to understand what you need to know about the App to succeed. The right tools/ automation can help by automatically discovering what has changed and whether or not the new build is performing as well as the last build. Once you have this understanding – you’ll be in a better position to communicate to Dev/Test if/how/where the new build is performing poorly….and be listened to.
This habit can often mean to use teamwork to reach goals unattainable by one person working alone. Often we hear Dev & Ops folks talk about the “blame game” that goes on inside their company and the acronym MTTI – “Mean-time-to-Innocence”…where each silo (network, database, application, server, storage) are all trying to prove that their area isn’t to blame for the latest problem. When the culture that exists between Dev and Ops is one that leads to finger-pointing rather than collaboration, then there is an opportunity for improvement. The DevOps movement has some good materials on how to enact a cultural change to enhance collaboration and teamwork.
7. Sharpen your saw
Continually look for ways to improve your knowledge and the way you do Operations. What we’ve seen a lot in the last 2 years is Infrastructure Ops folks re-defining themselves as AppOps or DevOps people. And they aren’t just changing their title. What this means is that they’ve changed the way they work, added to their skills, gained experience with new tools/automation (AppDynamics, Puppet, Chef, etc..). What I often see from folks that have embraced these new skills is a new level of confidence and job satisfaction. I hear a new pride when they say they are “Ops people who can code” or “Ops people who can troubleshoot App issues better than their peers”. If you are interested in taking this same journey, study the presentations on slideshare by Netflix and others on how they run Operations and what this has meant to their job definitions.
In the end, the habits and behaviors of highly effective Application Operation require a range of skills that go beyond learning a new way to use automation to improve availability and performance – these skills also include effective relationship management and goal alignment across teams, prioritization/time management, and continuous improvement. The good news is that most of the App Ops folks we work with seem naturally inclined to continually improve.Link to this post: