The BizOps Manifesto was officially unveiled today, October 15, 2020. The result of the collaboration of leading technology and business experts, the manifesto introduces a clear definition of the values and principles behind BizOps.
I had a chance to catch up with one of the manifesto’s lead authors, Serge Lucio, VP and GM of the Enterprise Software Division at Broadcom. We chatted about a range of topics, including why there’s such an urgent need for improved IT and business alignment, what the manifesto is about, and why Serge wanted to get involved. Read on to get up to speed on this significant launch.
RB: Serge, maybe you could start by telling us a little about what’s happening in the market, and the challenges many of the enterprise leaders you speak to are contending with.
SL: Sure thing. Today, we are at a pivotal inflection point in enterprise IT. Teams need to work at warp speed to use data and tools available in order to pivot, readjust, and meet key business objectives. It’s now more vital than ever to leverage resources most effectively and align technology investments and efforts with business outcomes. These efforts are critical to address the urgent imperatives for digital transformation, and for many businesses, it’s not just about competing, but surviving.
In speaking with business leaders, one of the biggest challenges I hear over and over is that business groups and IT teams feel like they are spinning their wheels because the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Silos are impeding communications.
In my opinion, communications break down because people aren’t speaking the same language, and they’re not using the same data. Data gets pushed aside or ignored because IT leaders can’t interpret or share business-critical data fast enough. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help, but the issue is bigger than those technologies alone can address.
RB: What kinds of strategies can leaders employ to address this issue with IT and business alignment?
SL: BizOps is rapidly emerging as an effective way forward for the enterprise. BizOps is a strategic, data-driven decision-making framework that can help teams break through the barriers that are stifling their organization’s ability to boost business outcomes and accelerate digital transformation. BizOps fuels smarter technology investments and initiatives by connecting technology delivery to measurable business outcomes, such as sales per hour, customer churn, and revenue per channel.
BizOps offers a way to extend the continuous cycle of DevOps to include business considerations. By helping teams focus on common business goals and make decisions that are transparent and actionable, BizOps can break down the barriers that inhibit IT and business alignment.
This framework helps encourage technology and business leaders to unite and collaborate more effectively. BizOps can also help teams focus more squarely on the most meaningful transformation initiatives and eliminate wasted investments.
RB: What drove you and others to pursue the development of the BizOps Manifesto?
SL: This manifesto was developed based on a simple, but fundamental reality: The lack of IT and business alignment is a critical problem in many enterprises, and BizOps can be invaluable in addressing it.
At its core, BizOps is centered on this key principle: Business outcomes must be the primary measure of success, across the board. We understand the pressures IT and business leaders are facing as they seek to accelerate digital transformation in this new economy. Through the manifesto, we want to deliver the framework and support needed to align technology investments with business outcomes.
RB: What’s the difference between the Agile Manifesto, which was developed almost 20 years ago, and the BizOps Manifesto?
SL: The BizOps Manifesto is modeled on the Agile Manifesto, but it’s also a very different document for a very different time. Written in 2001, the Agile Manifesto was focused on improving the predictability of software delivery. There’s no doubt this manifesto had a massive impact on the way software development disciplines have evolved over the years.
Agile and DevOps have helped improve predictability, but they lack the ability to address a key question: Are you delivering on the business outcomes the CEO cares about? By employing BizOps, teams can break down organizational silos and focus on this key aspect.
RB: Who’s behind the BizOps Manifesto?
SL: The manifesto is the product of the BizOps Coalition, a collaborative effort among a number of industry leaders. The founding members and BizOps Manifesto authors include Dr. Mik Kersten, founder and CEO of Tasktop; Patrick Tickle, chief product officer at Planview; Sally Elatta, CEO of AgilityHealth; Evan Leybourn, CEO of Business Agility Institute; Tom Davenport, distinguished author and professor; Dave West, CEO of Scrum.org; Kevin Surace, chairman and CTO of Appvance.ai; and many others. Plus, this is only the beginning. As we build awareness of the manifesto, more are joining the movement. In fact, Gene Kim, renowned author, has just joined the coalition as a contributor.
As a group, we’re dedicated to offering the ongoing education, collaboration, and support to fuel accelerated BizOps adoption and digital transformation.
RB: Why did you personally decide to join the BizOps Coalition and help write the manifesto?
I’ve witnessed the power of BizOps through our customers and have implemented it within our own organization. By using BizOps approaches, I realized that I was under-utilizing 16% of my core development team and I was able to redeploy these team members on priority projects.
On the customer side, an example that comes to mind involves a large airline. A team member discovered that when customers were conducting searches for flights online, a large number of inquiries weren’t returning any results, even though flights were, in fact, available.
This was the result of a software issue that no one had visibility into before. This disconnect likely led to the loss of hundreds of customers and tens of thousands of dollars. By connecting both sides of the equation, it was easy to see how something happening in the software introduction phase was able to have such a negative impact on the business. With these insights, the team was able to correct the issue.
We have also seen evidence of the power of BizOps in the retail industry. For example, one retailer sent a number of coupons to customers in hopes of increasing sales. However, those coupons were not made active in the company’s database. As a result, when customers were trying to use those coupons at checkout time, they were deemed invalid.
In both cases, these are the typical scenarios that lay at the bottom of the iceberg and have a significant impact on customer experience, purchasing behavior, and loyalty. However, IT tends to completely ignore these issues as they don't have visibility into the business impact.
RB: What’s required for the successful implementation of the BizOps framework?
SL: BizOps requires new processes and technologies, and it requires cultural changes. Cultural changes can be one of the most difficult parts of this transformation. Cultures need to adapt to align with key values and principles of BizOps, and a big part of this comes down to empathy.
In the wake of the pandemic, this need for empathy has become abundantly clear. We can’t turn a blind eye to what’s staring us in the face. In the past, I’ve experienced the challenges of working in a siloed organization. We were left to work on our own, with little understanding of business goals or how development contributed to overall business success.
The BizOps movement and manifesto encourages treating others with mutual respect, and working toward common goals and more successful outcomes. Ultimately, we’ll know the coalition has been successful when we see this cultural shift occurring in enterprises. We’re committed to helping leaders see true IT and business alignment, and enabling teams to work together to achieve better business outcomes.