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ACE Methodology: Proven Processes, Methods & Tools for Cloud Transformation

15 February 2022 | Articles | Leonard Øvregård

ACE methodology - featured image
With emerging technologies, IT infrastructure is currently undergoing a paradigm shift. Implementation, management and security compliance of the public cloud is now well established and the flexibility and innovation afforded by this technology is pivotal for many modern companies. Cloud adoption offers an insight into the technical debt that many companies build up, while untangling the complexity of core applications and systems integrated into an outdated infrastructure. This was the background for the strategy for Devoteam M-Cloud, or Devoteam Cloudify as it was originally known. Devoteam M-Cloud has worked with preparing and moving large organisations into the public cloud since before it was available to the general public. Our people and resources come from many of the large international companies that started this revolution. Devoteam M-Cloud was conceived as a company with a strategy to help enterprises migrate to a cloud infrastructure. Our collective knowledge and experience helped us create the Accelerated Cloud Enabler (ACE) suite, for which we continue to make methodology, process and asset updates for each customer implementation project that is completed. This model ensures customers receiving the ACE delivery for the first time reap all of the benefits from earlier engagements and experience, and by subscribing to our managed services, they continue to get regular updates. ACE is always aligned with defined best practices of major cloud vendors, such as well-architected frameworks and enterprise-scale implementations.
"For many, the complexity and risk involved in moving and migrating complex applications from an on-premise data centre to a public cloud will seem like an overwhelming process. With ACE, we have developed a methodology for the process of moving and migrating a complex environment while also taking into account the organisational, technological and process related challenges this will present for an organisation."

The nature of an infrastructure migration, whether it is a Lift and Shift or an Infrastructure as a Code approach, means that it requires a very structured and strict process. This is a sequential process, where you need to be ready with one phase before you go into the next. The ecosystem of an application needs to be assessed and understood before a solution is designed and changes are implemented. If you miss the first part, you will need to go back and start again. This leads to huge time consumption and risk.

Our governance framework gives very practical guidance and structured processes to build the organisation. These are processes and tools needed to ensure the movement and migration is completely controlled. The complexity, both regarding the technology and the organisational issues, will need to be handled very carefully and by those with the necessary experience in similar programs.

The ACE governance framework is built as a support structure and checklist for the necessary processes, activities, decisions and documents to be developed.

ACE Governance Framework - the basis for your migration strategy

The ACE Governance Framework acts as an important basis for the migration strategy. This is due to the organisational and business dependencies in such a program. The framework defines the processes and activities based on our best practice and experience from similar programs, including:

Start-up activities (org, reporting, etc.)

  • Project governance setup
  • Project organisation
  • Project finance controlling
  • Stakeholder communication
  • Change management
  • Scope verification
  • Managerial prerogative
  • Risk management
  • Close-down

These main processes are defined into a detailed organisational set-up, aligned with the needs of key stakeholders and include outcome and templates of documents. This will give a checklist of defined activities that need to be controlled and secured to limit risk and secure quality of the outcome.

SAIM – Devoteam M-Cloud’s own agile methodology

We quickly saw the need to structure the technical development and migration program with a methodology that would secure the day-to-day operation of the migration. We call this methodology SAIM, which is the basis for the execution of our deliveries. SAIM (Scrum & Agile Inspired Methodology) is our own developed project methodology and process. Devoteam M-Cloud merges the more traditional transformation projects with strict dependencies and a waterfall approach, together with a more agile and dynamic delivery model. We strongly believe that working together in teams on smaller pieces of the program at one time provides better flexibility to the organisation while supplying the right resources at the right time to the project(s).

SAIM is designed to work as agile principles in a sequential process; the purpose is to continuously deliver value by establishing good and documented processes.

Our methodology is based on working iteratively in sprints. Each sprint has a timeframe of 1-4 weeks. At the beginning of a sprint, the team(s) plan the workloads to be completed. The team(s) have daily standup meetings (short and regular meetings focused on status and distribution of tasks) to plan the next 24 hours. In addition, we have created flexible daily SAIM workshops – these can be cancelled during daily standups if they are not needed. The SAIM workshops provide a time where key resources are available to discuss and solidify decisions, thereby making progress in the sprint/project. At the end of the sprint, there are two distinct knowledge sharing segments: demo and retrospective. The demo focuses on technical knowledge sharing, while the retrospective focuses on assessing the entirety of the work in the sprint and details the next sprint planning session. Throughout the entire period, we continuously use Product Backlog Refinement (PBR) to update, change and prioritise elements in the backlog for the next sprint.

The figure below shows an example of Devoteam M-Cloud’s methodology:

scrum-and-agile-inspired-methodology-devoteam-infographic

A key consideration in the planning and execution of a cloud transformation program is the strategy and the ability of the enterprise’s resources to participate. Even if the company outsources most of the work and implementation tasks to a cloud service provider, it is crucial to have internal involvement and ownership. For optimum speed and efficiency, key stakeholders within the enterprise should contribute throughout the process to ensure the right information and decisions are provided in time. If the enterprise plans to set the vendor to work mostly on its own, while only intermittently involving resources in handovers and decisions, the execution time will increase and adopting the ownership of the solution will take longer. This will result in the need to temporarily hire supporting resources to operate the solutions.

Knowledge sharing for increase ownership and autonomy

Using our delivery model and methodologies, our goal is to enable customers to realise cloud value within their own capacity, based on their specific strategic goals. Devoteam M-Cloud includes the customers’ resources within the SAIM delivery model, enabling them to own and maintain the solution going forward directly into the delivery teams. The customer resources will be given tasks and responsibilities, just like any other team member, but will either be lightly supported by Devoteam M-Cloud senior resources or will engage in pair programming together with experienced Devoteam M-Cloud resources.

Devoteam M-Cloud has seen immense success within existing projects that have customer resources directly involved in deliveries, since this increases the ownership and skill level of the resources involved. In addition to on-the-job learning during the project, Devoteam M-Cloud also provides training packages, enhancing employees’ core skills and certifying their knowledge of specific technologies.

The organising of the operation will also give an opportunity to implement a team based on knowledge sharing and competency building, where the enterprise could utilise Devoteam M-Cloud in ongoing operational activities and its own resources in the transformation activities related to the migration of new workloads. This secures the competency building of the internal organisation, while at the same time maintaining a secure and high-quality operation.

Organisational and executive-level coaching/training to promote success

Migrating to the cloud as a complete transformation project while also modifying the operating model is a big undertaking for any organisation. Devoteam M-Cloud works throughout our delivery model focusing on stakeholder anchoring at a senior level, supplying continuous information to the impacted business units while promoting success and ensuring that the necessary risks are mitigated at appropriate levels within the organisation.

Specific examples of this include:

  • A company-wide kick-off explaining the overall goal of the transformation, as well as the methods and technologies that will be used
  • A series of workshops involving each impacted business unit to familiarise them with the new platform
  • A company-wide demo of the progress made and technical implementations after each sprint
  • Design decision workshops to secure ownership and understanding of decisions
  • Topic-specific workshops with directly impacted resources
  • Senior expert resources supporting executive management in discussing and challenging design decisions

By utilising our governance framework together with our SAIM methodology, we will reduce risk, secure the ability to deliver results, and develop the organisation and competency required for a modern company, with all the innovation and flexibility afforded to you by the public cloud.

To see for yourself how we can help you deliver a smooth and accelerated cloud transformation project, contact us now.