Gene Kim and Mike Orzen assessed the worldwide cost of waste in the IT value stream caused by long lead times, poor hand-offs, unplanned work and rework. In an article for ZDnet they estimated how much value we could recapture by applying DevOps-like principles.
They calculated that if we could just halve the amount of IT waste, and redeploy those dollars in a way that could return five times what was invested, we would generate $3 trillion dollars of value per year.
That’s a truly mind-boggling number and they have definitely been debated (you can read here how they came to that figure). That’s 4.7 percent of annual global GDP, or more than the entire economic output of Germany.
When you stop to think about such potentially large amounts of waste, and you consider the potential economic impact to productivity, standards of living, and prosperity, it almost makes it a moral imperative for organizations and individuals to advocate and adopt more efficient IT development methodologies.
However, there’s an even greater cost according to Gene Kim: “Working in most IT organizations is often thankless and frustrating. People feel as if they’re trapped in an ever-repeating horror movie, helpless to change the outcome. Management abdicates their responsibility to ensure that IT is managed well, resulting in endless intertribal warfare between development, IT operations and information security. And things only get worse when the auditors show up.”
This feeling of chronic underachievement means that IT professional are often demoralizing and frustrated. It typically leads to feelings of powerlessness and is rife with stress which seeps into every aspect of life. From stress-related health problems, to social issues, to tension at home, being an IT professional is not only unhealthy, but likely unsustainable.
As people, we’re wired to contribute and to feel like we’re actively making a difference. Yet, all too often when IT professionals ask their organization for support, they’re met with “you don’t understand,” or worse, a barely masked, “you don’t matter.”
DevOps-like principles improve communication and create a culture where everybody matters, the impact is local – and global.