How do you define digital transformation? Many people talk about the technology that enables transformation – and how that technology is acquired, deployed and managed. But at a higher level, you might also say it’s about culture – about how an organization approaches the work of developing and delivering services.
This is what Red Hat calls Open Transformation. To learn more, GovLoop spoke with Dmitry Didovicher, Digital Transformations Architect (DoD/IC) at Red Hat, a provider of enterprise open source software solutions. He discussed what Red Hat calls the Five Elements of Transformation.
In the context of digital transformation, leaders who embrace an Open Organization culture create a shared vision for the work to be done and to define the measures of success and failure, Didovicher said.
Leaders often focus only on defining success, “but it’s not a rapid success story that drives innovation, it’s a constructive failure,” he said. That’s because when something succeeds, things tend not to change. When something fails, on the other hand, it leads to fruitful conversations about what needs to change and how.
Didovicher’s advice? Forget the term project management. That’s tied to old-school, “waterfall” methodology, which takes a drawn out, linear approach to the development lifecycle.
Instead, he said, Open Organizations need to focus on Product Management through Product Ownership. A product owner is not focused on an end goal but on the continuous delivery of new capabilities to strengthen the product. That is how transformation happens.
Just as project management needs to shift to product ownership, development needs to shift to modern Product Deployment. Clearly, the transition to cloud-native software – leveraging containers and Kubernetes – puts an emphasis on speed and agility. But that doesn’t mean giving developers free rein, Didovicher said.
Organizations need to give developers the functionality they need, but that functionality needs to align with the enterprise digital architecture. Providing that framework “gives them freedom but guides them toward deliverables that are of value to the enterprise,” he said.
Any mature development organization will have a Vision Architecture to guide its product development work. But when it comes to transformation, they need what Didovicher calls an enterprise digital architecture.
The goal is to define an enterprise-level strategy for product delivery, addressing everything from the Trusted Software Supply Chain and compliance processes to API management and OpenShift powered Software Factory for your containers and micro-services.
Architecture shows how these tools tie together to support the Open Transformation, Didovicher said. Operations Advanced operations through competencies such as Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is about looking at transformation from an operational perspective. How well does a new digital service meet enterprise requirements for performance, reliability and security? Didovicher recommends that organizations should establish an enterprise-level minimum viable product (MVP) that lays out key requirements that all products must meet.
In advising agencies going through an open transformation, Red Hat is not pushing a solution. Instead, these five elements are designed to help agencies think about the key decision areas they must address.
“They’re not mapped to a technology at all,” he said. “The five elements map to success stories that have been proven time and time again – including at Red Hat.”
This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent report, “CIO Perspectives: A New Vision for the Government Workplace.” Download the full report here.
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