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COVID-19 Has Improved Software Delivery

After initial rough patches, companies are improving productivity, collaboration, and quality.

I had the opportunity to attend day two of DevOps World and hear the keynote with Mitch Ashley, CEO, Accelerated Strategies Group, and then a roundtable discussion with Mitch, Sacha Labourey, CEO of CloudBees, Amit Bhandarkar, Director of Engineering at American Express Global Business Travel, Gerard McMahon, Head of Cloud Center of Excellence at Fidelity Investments, and Tracy Miranda, Executive Director of the Continuous Delivery Foundation.

CloudBees commissioned Accelerated Strategies Group to learn the impact of COVID-19 on software development and delivery. In the many conversations I‘ve had with IT professionals since the pandemic began, I’ve consistently heard how digital transformation initiatives and the move to the cloud have accelerated.

“While COVID-19 has had a traumatic impact on the well-being and health of many respondents, the shift to remote work gives us some insights into how businesses may look as they continue to adapt and recover,” said Ashley. “Software teams and other business functions have seen demonstrable benefit from working remotely, though time will tell which changes are permanent and/or beneficial in the mid-to-long term.”

The research by ASG revealed a shift in IT priorities due to the pandemic and its economic impact:

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents said digital transformation objectives have somewhat or significantly increased in priority.

  • Slightly more than half said their firms placed higher priorities on increasing their DevOps initiatives (52%) and contracting with public cloud service providers (52%) as a result of the pandemic restrictions.

  • Other DevOps initiatives are advancing as well, with about half saying their firms are now practicing daily standup meetings (56%), using cross-functional teams (46%) and automating tasks (43%).

Remote work during the pandemic is also pushing teams to be more efficient:

  • Well over half of the respondents surveyed (59%) said their software teams have become somewhat or significantly more productive.

  • 42% said they’re finding it easier to complete work tasks in a timely fashion.

  • The research also revealed some surprising results. Specifically, that the pandemic has actually reduced some of the burdens on software teams. For example, 61% of respondents found it easier to work across time zones, specifically indicating the newfound ease of working with staffers on different continents (39%).

“The responses underscore how IT organizations aren’t sitting back during COVID-19 – businesses are asking IT to be more strategic and teams are taking steps to increase cross-company collaboration and become more efficient at software delivery,” said Shawn Ahmed, senior vice-president, and general manager, Software Delivery Automation, CloudBees. “Software, DevOps, and CI/CD automation will play key roles in the post-pandemic recovery and organizations are putting a high priority on these areas right now.”

Amit and Gerard affirmed these findings with the increased productivity a function of daily stand-up meetings, more work across functional teams, the use of asynchronous messaging, and more automation. There’s typically a dance to create trust between development and operations to protect the crown jewels of the company. Once you get past the initial conflict, developers see the outcomes and how much easier it makes their life.

The pandemic has accelerated the move from on-prem to the cloud. The datacenter is dying. Policies that were initiated during the dot com era have been changed overnight. Teams are forced to work together to get their work done and they are doing so. Instead of just dev and ops working together, they’re now collaborating with project management, product management, security, and the C-level.

Forward-thinking companies, and people, are taking advantage of a crisis to improve how they work and the quality of their work.


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