DevOps Resource: Matrixed Organizations

Brought to you by the DevOps Enterprise Forum

Brought to you by the DevOps Enterprise Forum

Making Matrixed Organizations Successful with DevOps

Tactics for Transformation in a Less Than Optimal Organization

In a previous resource, Thinking Environments, the authors describe four organizational models, and the benefits and drawbacks of each model with respect to DevOps. They recommend moving away from a matrixed organization to overcome the drawbacks for DevOps teams. 

However, in some cases, especially large traditional organizations, there are good reasons for not moving away from a matrixed organization. This resource focuses on the problem of organizations that can’t or won’t move away from a matrixed organization. In particular, we focus on those matrixed organizations in which, functional (vertical) organization is responsible for defining and measuring the process, and the programs/projects (horizontal) are responsible for program execution. 

About This Resource

The Audience

This resource is written for team leads and specialists in matrix-based organizations where a significant part of the work is done in programs and projects, thus creating conflicts with task priorities and work visibility, as well as leading to misaligned metrics on the individual and team level.

Problem Statement

As defined in Thinking Environments and expanded by this team, there are drawbacks to a matrixed organization. Our goal is to provide tactics for mitigating those drawbacks where possible.

Outline

Divided into two sections, Definition and Tactics, this resource simplifies important terms for understanding DevOps practices, then breaks down two tactics your matrixed organization can use to mitigate the drawbacks.

Key Takeaways

“In large organizations it is not always possible to change the organization to support your DevOps initiatives. That does not mean you can’t take advantage of the benefits that DevOps will provide. It just means you need to modify your approach and require the silos to take a more system wide perspective.”

“Every organization has a value stream, but only organizations with processes under control have repeatable, standardized delivery pipelines. (If your process is ad-hoc, your delivery pipelines are always one-offs).”

“Within a matrixed organization each functional structure defines and owns the processes for the functional area they lead. This creates processes that are often optimized for the functional area but not necessarily optimized for regular delivery of business value."

“Eliminating or reducing the impact of handoffs is key to improving flow and, in turn, improving time to market and quality. The fewer hand-offs we can have, the better. This is why so many examples of DevOps success stories feature small, integrated, cross-functional teams where most, if not all, of the necessary work to deliver and operate a service stays within the boundaries of a single team."

What is the DevOps Enterprise Forum?

"Every year, more than 50 technology leaders and thinkers gather for three days to create written guidance on the best-known methods for overcoming the top obstacles in the DevOps Enterprise community."

Gene Kim Founder, IT Revolution 


Authors of This Resource

Damon Edwards Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Rundeck Inc.

Ben Grinnell Managing Director and Global Lead of Technology and Digital Service Line, North Highland

Gary Gruver President, Gruver Consulting LLC

Suzette Johnson Agile Center of Excellence Lead, Northrop Grumman

Kaimar Karu President, itSMF Estonia

Terri Potts IIS SW Technical Director, Raytheon Company

Rosalind Radcliffe Distinguished Engineer, Chief Architect for DevOps for z Systems, IBM

Authors of This Resource

Damon Edwards Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Rundeck Inc.

Ben Grinnell Managing Director and Global Lead of Technology and Digital Service Line, North Highland

Gary Gruver President, Gruver Consulting LLC

Suzette Johnson Agile Center of Excellence Lead, Northrop Grumman

Kaimar Karu President, itSMF Estonia

Terri Potts IIS SW Technical Director, Raytheon Company

Rosalind Radcliffe Distinguished Engineer, Chief Architect for DevOps for z Systems, IBM

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