Honest self-assessment is key to successful Tech Ops

By the Blueprint Team

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

Sun Tzu

Nowhere does that truism better apply than to the world of Tech Ops.

So often IT leaders have business goals in mind but have no developed strategy, creating a fire-drill situation for every project they undertake. They have not thought about what “Day 2” looks like from an operational perspective because they are only tactically focused on the here and now.

But there are also IT leaders who develop sound strategies and principles but develop no tactical way of delivering on them. While that is marginally better than the tactics-only alternative, it can lead to unacceptable project timelines.

This is where Blueprint Technologies’ new Modern Tech Ops Assessment tool comes into play. It is built to help organizations understand the current state of their technology operations by identifying strengths and weaknesses and highlighting immediate action items that can improve efficiencies.

The goals of this new self-assessment tool are twofold. First, the tool allows organizations the opportunity for honest self-reflection, setting the stage for the creation of realistic, impactful strategies. Secondly, it establishes the framework needed to coordinate strategy with tactical delivery so that infrastructure and processes can be improved efficiently.

This new assessment evaluates an organization’s modern technology operations, a term we coined to cover Application Development, DevOps and Cloud Engineering. The assessment covers infrastructure and configuration automation, deployment automation, operationalizing work, team dynamics, cloud environment, security and the software development lifecycle. Blueprint believes that if an organization has strong maturity in these areas, then it has the processes and patterns in place to adapt to unforeseen disruptions on strategic and tactical levels.

Often companies know they need help with their technology, but they don’t know where to start. This assessment helps identify where that starting point may be.

This assessment is important because it allows an organization to:

  1. Derive an honest picture of their organization’s overall tech maturity. 
  2. Validate the organization’s accepted wisdom and introduce fresh concepts. 
  3. Identify areas that can be improved, leading to quick wins and long-term flexibility. 

It is important that organizations assess themselves because IT or tech teams don’t usually respond well to an outside “expert” pointing fingers and telling them about everything they are doing wrong. When organizations assess themselves there’s often less resistance to change, making this a far more beneficial approach.

Blueprint’s Modern Tech Ops Assessment provides a set of diagnostic questions, the answers to which illuminate both areas that need improvement as well as the organization’s existing areas of strength. By allowing an organization to self-grade in a non-intrusive way, internal conversations can be held to recognize and validate ideas they had about their practices as well as decide where they should direct future resources.

This new self-assessment tool is purposefully subjective. This tool represents Blueprint’s gradient of Tech Ops maturity. An organization may have three very mature areas and a handful of others that need attention. But not all of those will have the same level of importance to the organization, nor will they take the same amount of budget to improve. The assessment is meant to facilitate those internal conversations, which sharpen the focus for a dialog with Blueprint and set the stage for the implementation of the strategy and tactics to improve the selected focus areas.

You will notice that this assessment does not drill down on an organization’s technology or tool selection. Rather, it dives more into an organization’s practices and processes. This is intentional because technology changes rapidly whereas processes and practices are more static over time. Some of the assessment questions, for example, have to do with how teams operate:

  • How do teams collaborate?
  • Do you have daily standups?
  • Are newer team members paired with more seasoned employees and pushed toward difficult projects to help them more quickly improve their skills?

These types of questions are there because it is important to understand team dynamics and “team mojo.” High-functioning, collaborative teams can adopt new technologies and patterns more easily than those that are isolated and siloed.

Currently, this assessment only covers Tech Ops, but Blueprint is developing assessments for the state of an organizations’ work in data science and analytics, data engineering and modern workplace, so keep an eye out.

Blueprint works as a true partner to organizations. We exist to help identify business problems, develop sustainable strategies and implement the tactics and technology to solve them. It’s not always an easy process and it’s never routine, but in the end, clients are better for it and it’s enormously valuable. Take the assessment now to see how your organization stacks up, and then let’s start a conversation about how your organization can keep improving its Tech Ops functions.

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