UX & Dev(Sec)Ops: best friends who help each other

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DevSecOps is at the heart of our delivery processes: DevOps organisations cope well with an Agile delivery pace and get early feedback for better products. UX is, or should be, the process that leads the design of great products (read this article by our UX Lead Laurent Untereiner). Their friendship has a name: Agility. Their interaction is obvious. However, there are many cases where they can help each other even more.

Most projects today run in an Agile mode, to a variable extent. DevOps pipelines use common technology and even if Agility and DevOps maturity do not reach an ideal 100% target, more and more projects and organisations have made the shift and claim successful projects.

On the other hand, UX, which should be at the heart of projects, is still less present than DevOps. One may suspect the reason is that it is easier to skip UX processes (even at the cost of user satisfaction) than to skip the setup of the DevOps chain. Technology and interdependencies are so complex that going DevOps is almost mandatory. DevOps tooling adoption benefits from this complexity (which would make IT guys from the 80s laugh). Projects that are fully based on UX get the best results. Yet, it is too often forgotten that DevOps is there to help its best friend UX to deliver products the customer will love.

Oh, did I write “customer”? Hum, maybe I wanted to type “user” but a typo got in the way…

It happens not to be a typo.

Back-office websites and their associated user experience also have an impact on the final customer experience, they are part of the same delivery stream.

Following a lean approach, all streams should deliver value either to the customer or to other activities that themselves serve the customer. Whoever does not fit into this pattern should be eliminated (Don’t worry, authorities and shareholders are part of the company’s customers. The point isn’t to launch an anti-reporting war). Customer experience is correlated with the user experience of each app within the same stream: should the work done by the internal departments be of lower quality, or done in a longer timeframe, the global customer experience will suffer.

This is where “at scale” comes into play. A great difficulty when fostering DevOps is passing the step that comes after isolated projects: going at scale, for a full DevOps enterprise. At one moment or another priority management will become an issue, as streams composed of individual projects will have to be organised for the greater good. This is not a matter of department X having its projects delivered before department Y. Rather it’s about delivering a consistent and preferably great experience to the customer.

Here comes UX at the rescue of its best friend DevOps.

Synchronisation between projects is another product of the UX process: a process that sits at a higher level, but a process that aims to better serve the customer. We are far away from the common UX/UI confusion at the project level, but that’s another story.

Not only does UX help synchronise project backlogs, but it is also a source that brings coherence through common guidelines and processes. Organisational silos are reflected in the way projects are started.  A first desynchronization event occurs when projects aren’t consistent with enterprise guidelines. Documenting UX design brings a common way of thinking. It is commonly accepted that data should be managed with a single source of truth, the same applies to UX. UX defines the language of the applications, and language strongly influences how we think.

UX & DevOps are best friends, but most of the time their relationship isn’t balanced. By allowing UX to have a stronger voice and be at the inception of all projects, the added coherence will help DevOps grow “at scale”.

Francois Vaille

About

Formerly IT Manager, CIO, Managing partner in an IT company, Start-Up founder, François is an achiever, innovator, intrapreneur and entrepreneur. He helps Sogeti’s customer in their digital transformation thanks to his helicopter vision, from C Level to coders.

More on Francois Vaille.

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