BizDevOps is an approach to product development that promotes close collaboration and shared knowledge between the business team, developers, and operational team. It ditches the division between those departments to get rid of unnecessary knowledge silos that only disrupt the information flow.
BizDevOps allows the team to increase both the speed and quality of implementing solutions. The common goal is to improve solutions and experiences for customers, and by that, achieve business goals and increase revenue.
BizDevOps is not a trend.
The approach grew from the real need development teams had — the need for integration between business and tech that’s key in avoiding costly development failures and building products people truly seek. And, by the way, it works.
Ready to smash the wall of confusion? Let’s dive in.
<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Ready to spend a little more than 5 minutes exploring BizDevOps approach?</p><p>Below you’ll find more details and an explanation of how BizDevOps looks in practice (with comments and examples from a cross-functional development team).</p><p>But if you’re already convinced that BizDevOps is exactly what your team needs, we can help you implement it. How about a quick chat?</p></span>
After several meetings, the business team documented their requirements in a doc file. The document was “thrown over the fence” to developers. Once the coding was done, the package was thrown forward to operations. And when a deployed feature landed in the hands of the business team, they were confused. It wasn’t exactly what they required.
Delivering new features was taking a lot of time, similarly to fixing bugs. A feedback loop was very long, so all the teams were becoming frustrated and unmotivated. The final product was far from perfect, despite the development team’s efforts.
Working in knowledge and competence silos initially seemed to facilitate work. But when the development started, strict walls hindered communication and understanding between the teams. They felt misunderstood, confused, and had separate goals.
As a consequence, Dev and Ops teams started to collaborate.
Two teams began to work together, which improved their efficiency and communication flow. The number of deploys increased – new features were being released quickly. Quality monitoring improved, so their responses to errors were quicker. Fixing bugs was taking less time. The software was more reliable, of higher quality, and delivered faster.
But still, the business team was locked in their silo, so it was a challenge to deliver business requirements exactly as needed. Attentiveness to end-users was also leaving room for improvement.
<blockquote><p>DevOps needs a sequel. Doing ‘just the DevOps trick’ alone isn’t going to cut it anymore. Business wants to be involved. BizDevOps is about organizing a short time-to-value, and it actually reduces risk as it allows things to fail early, and to fail fast—together with the business.</p><p> — Henk van der Schuur, Software Production Enthusiast & Customer Director at Schuberg Philis, during devopsdays oNLine 2020</p></blockquote>
On the other hand, some believe the focus on business is already at the core of DevOps when effectively implemented. Jonathan Hall, a DevOps Coach and the creator of The Tiny DevOps Guy podcast, shares his views on the subject:
<blockquote><p>DevOps is already all about serving business needs. Adding "Biz" to the word doesn't change that. At most, it may offer an emphasis.</p><p>If we look more closely at the common three-nodule BizDevOps infinity flow chart, the pieces added for Biz: Adapt, Align, Define, and Approve, are pretty redundant. Adapt and Align are core to the definition of DevOps, as found in the common infinity sign, as well as the Three Ways of DevOps. Define and Approve are also implicit in DevOps, at least in the Plan and Verify steps, if not elsewhere.</p><p>— Jonathan Hall, DevOps Coach, creator of The Tiny DevOps Guy podcast</p></blockquote>
However, in his opinion there's a group of organizations which could benefit from putting a stronger emphasis on the business side. He adds:
<blockquote><p>Any company which is suffering from slow or unreliable software delivery brought on by silos or fragmentation and a lack of alignment with business goals ought to consider (Biz)DevOps.</p><p>— Jonathan Hall, DevOps Coach, creator of The Tiny DevOps Guy podcast</p></blockquote>
BizDevOps brought business closer to the development team. Feedback stopped getting lost, the business team was validating delivered solutions quickly, and the development team was able to make necessary changes. The whole team, as one, was focused on achieving business goals by delivering what end-users exactly wanted.
<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Key takeaway:</p><p>Enabling direct communication helps teams achieve business goals and deliver what end-users need.</p></span>
The world of developers is far different from the business world. They even speak different languages. Smashing the boundary between these teams and allowing them to talk and collaborate is the first step to understanding.
We couldn’t come up with a better summary of that story:
<blockquote><p>Once it was called collaboration. But then people isolated themselves, put labels on one another, and started to exchange documentation instead of talking. After some time, they finally noticed the need to talk, solve problems together, and cooperate closely again. And then someone named it ‘BizDevOps’.</pr><p>— Marcin Dryka, Technical Advisor & CTO at Brainhub</p></blockquote>
<blockquote><p>It’s when we, as a software development company, grasp the business side of the project with its goals and, in the meantime, understand how these goals need to be delivered through technical solutions.</pr><p>— Matt Warcholiński, CRO & Co-founder at Brainhub</p></blockquote>
BizDevOps methodology removes the barriers, encourages collaboration, and increases overall efficiency by blurring the lines between departments.
<blockquote><p>Programmers working in a BizDevOps model often develop competencies like active listening, communicability, patience, openness in interpersonal contacts. These are the qualities that facilitate contact with a client, allow to advise the most optimal solution, and adjust the final shape of a product to its business needs in a better way.</p><pr>— Michał Baćkowski, Delivery Manager at Brainhub</p></blockquote>
<blockquote><p>BizDevOps approach speeds up the process of identifying and fixing bugs, leaving more room for innovation and experiments.</p><p>— Mateusz Konieczny, Fullstack Developer & Technical Advisor at Brainhub</p></blockquote>
BizDevOps brings value not only to business but also to developers. The rework is minimized and teams have more room for experiments. Developers are also taking part in the strategic planning of a product, and have more decisive power and ownership over the project.
<blockquote><p>By following the BizDevOps approach, people from the business department can constantly share their concerns with IT teams, monitor, and analyse the whole process from a business point of view, and even become programmers to a certain extent and within certain boundaries.</p><p>— Gruhn & Schäfer, 2015</p></blockquote>
BizDevOps approach comes with great benefits, including:
That's the theory. But what does the practice say?
We invited Arjan Geertsema, a BizDevOps coach, to share what positive results he observed while working with organizations in the tech sector. He adds:
<blockquote><p>Thanks to BizDevOps:</p><ul><li>Business and IT are aligned: they speak the same language resulting in an efficient and effective production process.</li><li>The team has focus on delivering business value resulting in a backlog with only business features rather than IT features.</li><li>The team's discussions are business domain related and infrastructure is an implementation detail.</li><li>When IT want's to change a business interface they need approval from the business, resulting in critical discussions with all stakeholders which often have a different outcome.</li><li>Documentation is always up to date.</li></ul></blockquote>
<blockquote><p>BizDevOps bridges DevOps performance data with business performance data to give a better understanding of how the DevOps team is supporting the business.</p><p>— Mark Sutton, CloudBees, during DevOps Enterprise Summit </p></blockquote>
A DevOps team often uses DORA metrics to measure performance. The four DORA metrics are:
On the other side, we have business stakeholders measuring business performance, growth, and earnings.
What we’re missing is a common ground in between. The metric that would allow the DevOps team to measure the real-life effects of their work and business stakeholders to realize how the work of an IT team actually influences business.
Real customers using a product and particular features meeting their needs are an indication of a product’s success. And product’s success drives business results.
Therefore, customer-centric metrics like the applicability and utility of the app could serve as goals that bridge DevOps and business teams. They seem to be a good direction for joint KPIs.
<blockquote><p>The BizDevOps view of work culture requires that you continually review past results, are ready for change, and agree on whether collaboration and product creation are moving in the right direction.</p><p>— Michał Baćkowski, Delivery Manager at Brainhub</p></blockquote>
When implementing the BizDevOps approach remember about the best practices:
<blockquote><p>Using real-time analytics and diagnostic tools for application performance monitoring allows the team to quickly obtain data about the app’s efficiency and end-users’ behavior. By that, we can establish if we are meeting business objectives and plan the best development direction.</p><p>— Grzegorz Lachowski, Business Analyst at Brainhub</p></blockquote>
DevOps teams that have business stakeholders participating in the process from the start possibly may call themselves BizDevOps already. But there’s work to do in terms of organizing the process, setting mutual KPIs, and, in some cases, also starting to work in accordance with Agile methodology.
Here's how Ton Hagens, a Managing Director Expertise Center at de Volksbank who implemented Agile principles in the organization, summarizes the concept of multi-disciplinary teams and BizDevOps.
<blockquote><p>In a company that wants to work from the power of (multi-disciplinary) teams, the best way to organize is through complete teams covering all skills that are needed to create customer value. (...) If one would want to describe the scope of a team, the word BizDevOps is the best fitting. This concept has been implemented in many companies.</p><p>ING Nederland was the first bank to do so (~2017), de Volksbank made this step last year (2021).</p><p>— Ton Hagens, Managing Director Expertise Center at de Volksbank</p></blockquote>
Based on his experience, the BizDevOps tranformation requires a much broader approach. He adds:
<blockquote><p>Implementation of BizDev(ops) teams can only be part of a major switch in the company’s operating model: from leadership redefinition/selection to redefined financial processes, from renewed HR policies up to rethink of the governance/steering set-up.</p><p>— Ton Hagens, Managing Director Expertise Center at de Volksbank</p></blockquote>
<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Start building a BizDevOps culture today</p><p>Don’t waste any more time on delayed bug identification and unintentionally neglecting your users’ needs. Let us support you in choosing your quickest path to biz-tech alignment. Drop us a message and we’ll set up a quick chat.</p></span>
This part is only for geeks.
This model empowers the team to work faster and build high-quality products. The company becomes more agile. Close collaboration makes it easier and faster to make necessary improvements, adapting the product to its users’ needs in a better way. The way of collaborating in separate teams puts focus on separate goals, not delivering what’s best for a customer. In comparison with BizDevOps, it’s also costly and slow.
BizOps is based on the principle that long-term success can be achieved only by close connection and collaboration between a business team and operations team. Sometimes it’s also used alternately with BizDevOps. In some organizations, BizOps is a cross-functional team of consultants that support their colleagues when a cross-organizational scope is required.
BizDevSecOps puts extra attention on security. A security team is included in the close collaboration between business, operations, and tech. The goal is often to support more deployments while avoiding risk factors.
DevSecOps stands for development, security, and operations. The approach is used when security is the focus of the DevOps team. The DevSecOps approach incorporates security in all steps of the development and deployment lifecycle. Security becomes a shared responsibility of the whole IT team.
DevOps is a model of working that combines development and operations teams together, in order to deploy more frequently as well as detect and fix bugs more effectively. It smooths out the process, but the business context needed for the product’s success is missing. It’s included in BizDevOps, when a business team joins forces with developers and operations, to focus on common goals – delivering what users need and meeting the business target of a company.
Business development can be summed up as all the activities and initiatives undertaken to increase revenue, growth in terms of expansion, or profitability by starting strategic partnerships. It’s also choosing innovative ways to drive better business results.
BizDevOps teams use various tools to gain insights into the application’s speed, loading time, and response time, as well as for error tracking. Common application performance management tools used by BizDevOps teams are:
Another type of popular BizDevOps tools are the low code platforms. They are handy for business people who are integrated into the development lifecycle. A few examples of popular low-code application development platforms are:
The process of implementing BizDevOps should start with inviting business stakeholders to take part in the development process and talk about vision, goals, and priorities together. What you need to start is a common goal, a clear process, and mutual KPIs.
<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Tip:</p><p>BizDevOps can be implemented quickly with the right support. And we provide that. Take advantage of a free consultation.</p></span>
The Brainhub promise
Every year, Brainhub helps 750,000+ founders, leaders and software engineers make smart tech decisions. We earn that trust by demystifying the technology decision-making process based on practical software engineering experience.
Top reads this month
Get smarter in engineering and leadership in less than 60 seconds.
Join 300+ founders and engineering leaders, and get a weekly newsletter that takes our CEO 5-6 hours to prepare.
No previous chapters
No next chapters