The purpose of this post is to share my personal experience implementing Agile and DevOps methodologies on a development department that was working on waterfall approach.
Around one year ago the organization decided to move to agile development methodologies using a DevOps approach, with the help and guidance from an external company.
At first it was not easy to change the habits acquired over several years of project and was required a re-learning process for all project stakeholders; starting by the developers, following by the business and ending by the middle management.
For me personally, it supposed to start playing the role of Product Owner being my main task to help business owners on the definition of the goals and priorities for the medium and long terms and, on the other hand, I was carrying those objectives and priorities to the DevOps team creating and maintaining a prioritized backlog of user stories to be implemented.
Another important point was the adoption of the scrum rituals, from the 15’ daily scrum meeting to the bi-weekly demo in which the team can receive direct feedback from business about the new features developed. But I think the most important one was the retrospective where the team meets once every two weeks to make self-criticism devising and testing changes on the way they work with the objective of improving their results. Is this ritual the one that guarantees the continuous improvement for the DevOps team.
On the other hand, the move to DevOps supposed to add into the team infrastructure profiles so the team was fully autonomous to work without requiring other teams to provide systems, databases or other infra or technology pieces. So now, on each DevOps squad we can find a mix of developers, systems engineers, DBAs and other profiles. It has also meant that is the same team who provides the support on 24/7, so they are really motivated to deliver tested and quality code/systems.
Now, over a year after the start of this trip from waterfall to DevOps I really think it was a great success. I would summarize the greatest benefits as:
Every Squad in the team is empowered and autonomous enough so teams are more motivated resulting in a clear productivity increase.
There is a very big reduction of waste in managing teams and interactions between development and operation/infrastructure teams.
The business receives more frequently deliverables and can provide feedback more regularly.
There is an important reduction of the waste in drafting complex functional requirements that will eventually be changed in the future. Instead, user stories occur at the last moment, dedicating the necessary time and just before the team really start working on them (just on time stories creation).
As conclusion, I will say that to move to an agile way of working is the right decision if you need to run long projects with a big chance of having changing requirements but the main point is to have the support and commitment of the management for do such kind of big cultural and organizational change.
It seems it was yesterday when I wrote this other post about my first year in Switzerland. But the reality is that this was one year ago and that I’ve already been living and working in the Lausanne area for two years now. So, it’s time again to look back and evaluate the experience lived during this time.
I came to Kudelski Security to manage and deliver cybersecurity engagements to clients but quite soon appeared the opportunity for helping the team that was developing cybersecurity solutions for the CFC (Cyber Fusion Center) on their transition to Agile and DevOPS. Even if I hadn’t any practical experience in those fields before, I found very appealing the possibility of learning and collaborating on this transformation, so I assumed the position of being the first Agile Product Owner in the company.
But now, a new great opportunity has come up so I’m changing my role in the organization to become MSS (Managed Security Services) architect. That’s a challenging position that however will allow me to be closer than before to the cybersecurity topics and to participate deeper in the definition and built of the new MSS that the company will develop. As a member of the MSS leadership team I’ll be responsible for architecting the tools, systems and technology to support Kudelski’s MSS business globally. I’ll be collaborating with development, engineering and leadership teams to define and drive the operational execution of Kudelski’s MSS strategy.
In another vein, during the last year I got my GIHC certification, that is a good complement for the PMP and CISSP that I got in 2015 and the CISA, CISM and ISO27001 Lead Auditor that I already brought from Spain.
At personal level I’m really comfortable living and working in Switzerland. Now the stressful time of the first months when I needed to manage the movement, finding the apartment, doing all the required paper work are far away. My family is happy and adapted to live here, and we start to be able to understand quite a lot of French and even if we’re not able to use it at professional level, we can use it to survive in our day to day here.
On the other hand, even if it’s true that the winter is long and quite hard here, the summer is just gorgeous, with soft temperatures and amazing mountains, lakes and places to enjoy.
So I’m still enjoying and learning working and living here so I’m sure that was the right decision coming to Switzerland and joining Kudelski Security. Let’s see how it works during my third year here!