a16z Podcast: Feedback Loops — Company Culture, Change, and DevOps

From the old claim that “IT doesn’t matter” and question of whether tech truly drives organizational performance, we’ve been consumed with figuring out how to measure — and predict — the output and outcomes, the performance and productivity of software. It’s not useful to talk about what happens in one isolated team or successful company; we need to be able to make it happen at any company — of any size, industry vertical, or architecture/tech stack. But can we break the false dichotomy of performance vs. speed; is it possible to have it all?

This episode of the a16z Podcast boldly goes where no man has gone before — trying to answer those elusive questions — by drawing on one of the largest, large-scale studies of software and organizational performance out there, as presented in the new book, Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps — Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim. Forsgren (co-founder and CEO at DevOps Research and Assessment – DORA; PhD in Management Information Systems; formerly at IBM) and Humble (co-founder and CTO at DORA; formerly at 18F; and co-author of The DevOps Handbook, Lean Enterprise, and Continuous Delivery) share the latest findings about what drives performance in companies of all kinds.

But what is DevOps, really? And beyond the definitions and history, where does DevOps fit into the broader history and landscape of other tech movements (such as lean manufacturing, agile development, lean startups, microservices)? Finally, what kinds of companies are truly receptive to change, beyond so-called organizational “maturity” scores? And for pete’s sake, can we figure out how to measure software productivity already?? All this and more in this episode!