Business Case: IT Information Management

Business Case: IT Information Management

Save up to 75%

IT Information Management (ITIM) is a departure from familiar IT documentation and traditional document management. Such a paradigm shift begs the question: Will it be worth it in the short term, or at least the long term? Or will it simply create more expenditure? Is there a positive business case?

In the following we will consider the ITIM Business Case on the basis of two different examples:

  1. Application documentation
  2. Documentation for a service transition

… and with a comparison of two action scenarios:

  1. Traditional documentation (uncoordinated, downstream creation of Single Purpose Documents by technical experts)
  2. Use of IT Information Management

Spoiler: Use of Information Management leads to enormous savings. This article will focus on how these savings arise.

Business cases are generally calculated over long periods of time and based on extensive assumptions. In addition to direct and measurable financial parameters they often also take into account strategic effects, which often results in a positive business case. The aim is for this not to happen in this case. Only directly measurable factors should be included. Strategic improvements and long-term cost optimisations are only mentioned if they also represent an actual long-term benefit of IT Information Management.

 

1.1   Time Spent on Documentation is Reduced by 75%

But how? Lets look at what consistently takes a lot of time. This is where reductions need to occur. Documentation is carried out by IT experts, and the reduction essentially comes from two components:

  • They document only and exactly what is needed. This will save them at least 50% in terms of effort. Information managers control the process. Nothing superfluous, no overlapping documentation any longer.
  • Everyone does what they do best. This will save them another 50% of the effort. Technical experts focus their expertise on small units, not on the creation of large documents, neither on formulations, formats, or graphics. This is what Information Managers can do better.

(Watch the video about the Business Case [02:20 min])

Overall, the total effort for IT Information Management, in other words IT experts plus Information Management, is at least 75% less when compared to the time spent on traditional processes. Graphic

What do Information Managers do differently?

Information Managers specialise in editorial work and the creation of graphics, videos, audio and process overviews. They are very familiar with tools that lead to higher productivity. This is further increased by the use of templates as well as learned procedure models and methods. At avato, Information Managers also undergo additional training including the ITIL Foundation and certification as a Certified Information Professional (CIP).

 

1.2   What Does Traditional Documentation Cost?

Up to 75% of the ongoing efforts for traditional documentation can be saved. But what does that amount to? Depending on the area and scope, experience shows that this accounts for between 4% and 8% of total working time for IT staff. This might sound harmless, but it adds up. As well as this, there can also be special documentation requirements, such as for an upcoming audit or a service transition. Here the proportion of working time spent on documentation is no longer 6% but can instead at times easily be at least 25%.

 

1.3   Initial and Ongoing Costs – ITIM vs. Traditional Documentation

How high are the initial and ongoing costs for ITIM? The quick answer is: It depends! The more detailed response: Do you already know where you want to start and where the need is most pressing? Do you know your goals and can you name Accountables and Responsibles*? Can Information Managers adequately access these?

If you can already answer these questions then it will take a few days to a few weeks depending on the amount of documentation.

The following examples show what the business case could look like in concrete terms.

 

Example 1: Application Documentation

Regulatory requirements mean that technical documentation should be created for an applications with up to 10 environments. The current development and operations team contains 26 people, half of which are external employees.

Prerequisites: The Accountable for the application is included and can name all the Responsibles (those with technical responsibility). They are all adequately available and can each invest a total of 1 working day. In this case, ITIM can be set up for the application after one week and the reduction of effort will take effect in the second week.

The use of ITIM will save you EUR 7,000 per month (details of the calculation can be seen in the annex).

 

Example 2: Documentation for a Service Transition

A service will be outsourced to a service provider. To prepare for the service transition, your ITSM processes and technical environment need to be documented. There is also a need to prepare a number of Work Instructions and How-Tos. Your current team contains 26 people, half of which are external employees.

The basic principle applies again: The Accountable for the service area is included and can name all the Responsibles. They are all adequately available and can each invest a total of 2 working days. In this case, ITIM can be set up for the application after three weeks and the reduction of effort will take effect in the fourth week.

With ITIM you save EUR 42,200 by investing in documentation that not only makes the transition possible but is also usable and maintainable in the long term (details of the calculation can be seen in the annex).

 

⚠  Assumptions were used in the examples. The expenditure for ITIM and the potential savings naturally depend not only on the scope of IT and the areas included but also on the current operating expenditure for traditional documentation.

 

When is the Best Time? When is ITIM a Must?

In these 4 scenarios there is no alternative to Information Management on the path to success:

1. Your external partners document in the conventional way.
Start IT Information Management to reduce the number of required external partners!

2. You have a backlog of your IT projects.
Start IT Information Management to stop “wasting too much time” on the documentation part.

3. The support for your experts is external and too expensive.
Minimize the need for external support – with a comprehensive, high-quality documentation.

4. You have a backlog of documentation.
Start IT Information management to utilize the power of specialization. The backlog will be eliminated in no time.

 

Summary

Information Management offers IT great savings potential when it comes to documentation effort. There are two reasons: For one thing, only what is really needed is documented. Nobody documents only for themselves, or documents the same thing as their colleagues. The documentation process is comprehensively controlled. Secondly, the high level of savings comes from the fact that everybody does what they do best. IT experts contribute information while Information Managers control the process and take care of templates, methods, language and formats. All in all, IT experts save 75% of the time that they spend on documentation without ITIM. In certain situations there is no alternative to IT Information Management.

 

Appendix

Example 1: Application Documentation

Regulatory requirements mean that technical documentation should be created for one of your applications with up to 10 environments.

Your team contains 26 people, half of which are external employees.

Your Costs for Traditional Documentation

The monthly cost for traditional documentation is:

  • 6% of the project/work time: A total of 28 man-days
  • Monthly costs: EUR 18,525 (26 * EUR 650 * 18 * 6%)
    (average 18 man-days per person per month; EUR 800 external day rate and EUR 500 costs for internal employees)

ITIM Saves you EUR 7,000 per Month

Every team member will invest one working day (= 26 days) in the transition from traditional documentation to Information Management.

Your one-time investment costs: 26 * EUR 650 = EUR 16,900

After successful transition to ITIM, your team will save up to 75% of the time they spent on traditional documentation. This is a reduction of 21 man-days.

The outlay for Information Management is around EUR 5,900 per month.

Your one-time investment for documentation that is usable and maintainable in the long term is EUR 16,900.

After the transition to ITIM you will save EUR 7,000 per month.

 

Example 2: Documentation for Service Transition

An IT service is being outsourced to a service provider. To prepare for the service transition, your ITSM processes and technical environment need to be documented. In addition to this, there is a need to prepare a number of Work Instructions and How-Tos.

Your team contains 26 people, half of which are external employees.

Your Costs for Traditional Documentation

In normal daily operations each of your team members spends 6% of their time on documentation. However, if there is a need for more extensive documentation, for a certain period of time (here 1 month) the effort will increase to 25% of work hours.

Your costs for traditional documentation are:

  • 25% of the project/work time: A total of 117 man-days
  • Costs: EUR 18,525 (average 18 man-days per person per month; EUR 800 external day rate and EUR 500 costs for internal employees 26 * EUR 650 * 18 * 25%)

Your one-time documentation effort without ITIM is 117 days. This corresponds to around EUR 76,000.

ITIM Saves you EUR 42,000

Each member of your team invests 2 days, making a total of 52 man-days. With ITIM your one-time documentation effort is therefore EUR 33,800 (EUR 800 external day rate and EUR 500 costs for internal employees).

Your investment for documentation that not only makes the transition possible but is also usable and maintainable in the long term is EUR 33,800. You save EUR 42,200.

 

⚠  Assumptions were used in the examples. The expenditure for ITIM and the potential savings naturally depend not only on the scope of IT and the areas included but also on the current operating expenditure for traditional documentation.

Do you have any question? Simply email to: marketing@avato.net

Imprint: 
Date: November 2019
Author: Jennifer Gitt
Contact: marketing@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
© 2019 avato consulting ag
All Rights Reserved.

Information Management in IT Governance

Information Management in IT Governance

Information Increases Effectiveness and Efficiency

There are countless definitions of IT governance and its tasks. We base our consideration of the tasks and objectives of IT governance on the following: IT governance ensures that IT supports the corporate strategy and goals.

In this context, IT means both all applications and also the entire IT application infrastructure, as well as the organisation of IT, the processes for IT usage and the provision of IT services. IT governance therefore involves a complex range of tasks.

How can IT Information Management (ITIM) provide support? In which areas can the introduction of ITIM be expected to quickly lead to an increase in effectiveness and efficiency? How can ITIM contribute to IT Risk Management?

More specifically, we want to see where up-to-date, sufficient and reliable information can improve the area of IT governance.

IT organisations aim to optimise IT operations as well as complete projects on time, to quality specifications and in budget. IT Information Management is an essential element for optimisation of IT operations and IT projects, as well as for increasing IT efficiency. But IT Information Management is also an important component when it comes to improving the effectiveness of IT, in other words to work on ensuring that IT does the right thing and that the right decisions can be made quickly.

Why does Information Management have so much potential? IT infrastructure and applications are becoming increasingly complex. Many parts of IT no longer completely understand the technical connections. Very little of it is sufficiently documented, meaning that planning and coordination of changes requires the involvement of numerous experts. Knowledge exists in people’s heads. Simple changes already require extensive coordination of many individuals. Even if IT is partially agile, new or amended business requirements are slow to be implemented.

Faster, Better and Cheaper! Increase Efficiency.

The efficiency of IT often suffers from 1. inadequate processes, 2. wasted resources (material and personnel) and 3. wastage caused by incidents and the processing of incidents (in this view troubleshooting is wastage).

Efficiency Through Processes & Clear Responsibilities

Information about processes aid the identification and rectification of weak points. Precise process descriptions support all participants, help optimise the process and create clear areas of responsibility. Knowledge is generated about what is done and how often, how it is done by whom and why it is done in the first place. So-called “ping-pong” processes and holding patterns are avoided. Knowledge is generated about where automation could be useful.

Efficiency Through Flexible Use of IT Experts

Good IT resources are in short supply and expensive. Despite this, a significant portion of their time is spent on tasks that don’t actually require an expert. They submit requests and get lost in bureaucracy, work on trivial matters, or search for information. Comprehensive, easily accessible information supports the better organisation of work. Resources can be used flexibly for various tasks. Everyone does exactly what is needed and what they are best at.

Efficiency Through Avoidance of Waste

In “The DevOps Handbook,” Kim, Humble, Debois and Willis describe the three most important principles that IT can learn from “Lean Principles.” These are the Principle of Flow, the Principle of Feedback and the Principle of Learning and Experimentation.

Many passages make it clear that without reliable information there is no knowledge of what is required. This means that planning, for example Capacity Management, is only possible to a limited extent. This relates not only to resources such as computer centres (computing, storage, network bandwidth), but also to licences and user accounts as well as personnel planning and development.

The simple solution is often said to be the Cloud. But as is often the case, the seemingly simple solution is neither simple nor cheap. Without information about utilization of resources and requirements, cloud migrations are like a lottery, you don’t know what the result will be.

Make the Right Decisions! Increase Effectiveness.

How can innovative Information Management improve the effectiveness of IT? How can it contribute to better (and faster) decisions? When looking at individual scenarios and at the same time also examining fundamental problems that arise from a lack of information, it soon becomes clear that a few small changes can improve the effectiveness of IT.

The key: Knowledge about the business of IT.

Business strategies and processes change dynamically, the connections become more complex and often very little of it is well documented. This lack of an information base means that IT has a lacks understanding of business strategies and also the resulting business requirements. In many cases, IT cannot correctly assess and prioritise the risks that arise in IT. IT employees have insufficient knowledge of their clients and their clients’ goals. From an IT perspective, management often has overlapping or contradictory demands. IT misunderstands requirements and develops standards or solutions that are not coordinated with the business.

The development of a high-quality information basis that suits the requirements means that all these obstacles can be eliminated. IT increases effectiveness.

IT Projects With High Information Requirements

Current and interesting examples of projects with an urgent need for information are: Agile projects and DevOps, cloud migration, service transition, IT integration and IT separation.

Agile Projects and DevOps

Agile methods and documentation are not a contradiction. Quite the opposite: Information Management is the counterpart to traditional documentation in modern IT. Information Management makes documentation faster, better and easier. This means that Information Management is a perfect component of agile projects. Developers are freed up and at the same time the requirements of other stakeholders such as auditors, IT operations and also IT governance are fulfilled.

Cloud Migration

These days, the use of cloud services is a strategic IT goal for almost every company. However, despite the fact that the market offers a variety of solutions for every conceivable requirement, in almost all companies cloud transformation lags behind its self-set goals. There are many reasons for this, and they differ greatly in their details. Looking at recent studies, it becomes apparent over and over again that the lack of information available to corporate IT is one of the main reasons. Inadequate information means that false assumptions are made and unrealistic goals formulated.

Service Transition

Offshoring of sections of the IT service is currently being discussed in almost every company. However, in service transition a good basis of information is required to answer many operational questions. Strategic questions require an even more comprehensive knowledge of your IT. Do you know exactly what your service providers are doing? Have you remained in control of the important information and could you insource the service again if required, or transfer it to another service provider?

IT Integration / IT Separation

Post-merger IT integration and IT separations have become commonplace in the operations of most companies. Many of these incidences take a long time to do or are never completed. A reliable basis of information is the key to becoming faster and more efficient. How high is the cost for the integration of two badly documented IT organizations? How quickly can you support and execute a spin-off with IT?

Summary

When it comes to your IT: “Information is effectiveness and efficiency.” To make strategic decisions and to become faster, better and more flexible, you need knowledge about your business processes, in particular your IT. To build up this knowledge you need to be able to access all the important information in a clear and reliable form – this is precisely what Information Management achieves.

Do you have any question? Simply email to: marketing@avato.net

Imprint: 
Date: November 2019
Author: avato
Contact: marketing@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
© 2019 avato consulting ag
All Rights Reserved.

Agile Documentation in Agile Projects

Agile Documentation in Agile Projects

At the Centre not Just on the Sidelines.
Agile Documentation in Agile Projects.

It’s undisputed that agile project approaches offer numerous advantages. These clearly include less administrative effort as well as informal communication and decision making in smaller teams.

But when can these advantages turn into disadvantages? If projects change due to changes in requirements, take longer than planned or if there is an increase in the number of project streams or part-time contributors, then the above-mentioned advantages quickly lead to tangible disadvantages.

Agility is Lost Without Agile Documentation

The procedure of agile projects creates many disadvantages in the long term – especially if projects become larger than planned or take longer.

1. Redundancies are increasingly created.
The longer a project takes, the higher the redundancies and the less clear it is whether the information is still applicable.

2. Discussion and commentary chains become longer.
It is increasingly time-consuming to differentiate between important and unimportant information.

3. The topicality and reliability of information decreases.
Provision of new information and the correction of outdated information becomes increasingly time-consuming. There are more and more contradictions.

4. Searching for information takes more time.
Documentation is less coordinated. The search for information is increasingly complex and searching requires an increasing number of tools, ticket histories, comments and notes.

5. No written specification of results leads to misunderstandings.
Results are rarely specified and discussion is based on understanding rather than written specifications (specific items). Intense verbal communication gives participants the impression that they understand each other. Everyone believes that they have understood the same thing and that everyone is adequately informed.

6. Inadequate specification of business requirements.
The longer a project takes, the less you know why which code was created by the end. After a couple of months you run the risk of completely losing the connection between business requirements and code.

7. Missing terminology and lack of pressure to be specific.
Constant, direct communication often means that there is a lack of pressure to be specific, leading to unclear, less consistent terminology both in IT and also particularly in business terminology.

Over time these disadvantages have a massive impact on projects. The effort needed to coordinate and communicate increases disproportionately. Despite constant communication there is increasing misunderstanding. In the worst cases, agility is partially lost.

Information Management in an Agile Environment

As one of its four points, the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” states that we should value “Working software over comprehensive documentation.” It sounds like a contradiction but it isn’t. Even a vehicle first needs to be functional. But nobody would think of doing away with the user manual, technical documentation or service instructions.

Information Management does not contradict the values of the manifesto. It is precisely tailored to the needs of the agile world. An important component of Information Management is the establishment of collaborative working (agile documentation). This corresponds with the idea of the manifesto. Organising this is the task of an Information Manager.

The Role of an Information Manager

The role of the Information Manager is the most important component for moving from traditional documentation to agile Information Management. Information Managers significantly reduce the overall effort involved in documentation. Their tasks include…

  • … management of all documentation requirements across teams. In addition to the documentation requirements of teams involved in the development and the business requirements, this also includes the requirements of application operations and users as well as governance and audit requirements.
  • … management of the creation and maintenance of information.
  • … publication of information in a standardised and easily accessible portal.

Result: The total expenditure, even in agile projects, decreases significantly . (See: What is the Business Case for IT Information Management? [Video 02:08])

The Methods of Information Management

To become faster and better, Information Managers uses the following concepts and methods:

  • Information Units replace documents
    Information Managers work with Information Units in a system for Information Management instead of with a classic collection of documents. Unlike documents, Units can be assigned to the hierarchy in a clear and granular manner. They can also be put together flexibly in the system depending on the stakeholder. Each Stakeholder thus sees exactly what they need to.
  • Taxonomies and metadata create an overall picture for everyone
    You need a taxonomy and a concept for metadata to work with Information Units. Taxonomies and metadata are the cement that joins together individual pieces of information (Information Units) into a coherent overall picture.
  • Information Governance is an ongoing process
    Documentation should be understood as a process – as Information Management. The process is controlled by an  Information Manager.
  • Create accelerates the creation of required documentation
    Everyone does what they do best and only what is necessary is documented. The effort of developers is reduced to the provision of snippets of information. The Information Manager reviews, supplements and adds the information to the overall picture.
  • Evaluate differentiates important and unimportant information
    Information is constantly being produced. The Information Manager filters the important snippets from all areas (tools) and integrates this information in the overall picture.

DocOps

In the DevOps environment, agile documentation is referred to as DocOps rather than Information Management. DocOps, which can here be understood as Continuous Documentation, is a method that is derived from the continuous delivery approach of the DevOps environment. The goal is to see documentation as an integral component of a cross-team, agile approach. Documentation is neither upstream nor downstream, and is instead being continuously created and developed.

Summary

Agile methods and documentation are not a contradiction. Quite the opposite: Information Management supports agility and is the counterpart to traditional documentation in modern IT. Information Management makes documentation faster, better and easier. This means that Information Management is a perfect component of agile projects. Developers are freed up and at the same time the requirements of other stakeholders such as auditors, IT operations and IT governance are fulfilled.

Appendix

Documentation in an Agile World: ISO/IEC 26515

“ISO/IEC 26515 Systems and software engineering — Developing user documentation in an agile environment” is a standard for an agile world.

The standard describes how usage documentation can be created in an agile environment, though no specific agile methods or development environment is favoured.

The standard provides the person responsible for documentation with planning aids and information about how to create and manage usage documentation as part of agile projects and about what relationship there is between system or software development and the development of documentation.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

We follow these principles:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Do you have any question? Simply email to: marketing@avato.net

Imprint: 
Date: November 2019
Author: avato
Contact: marketing@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
© 2019 avato consulting ag
All Rights Reserved.

From DevOps to DocOps

From DevOps to DocOps

IT Information Management 4.0 

How high is the friction loss in information transfer?  

Teams have their own data silos; information exchange between teams is arbitrary. 

In the following, we will look at the term DocOps and offer suggestions for professional IT information management. 

The way organisations work has been turned on its head in our modern time. With the integration of development and operations (DevOps), an understanding has emerged in IT, just how important it is to establish teams that bring together viewpoints and knowledge from various areas. 

DocOps builds on that experience to look at the components of information management. DocOps itself is the buzzword for a changing mindset. DevOps teams are expanded by adding information management. This new skill is to counteract the fact that DevOps teams generally do not document their work consistently and only create ‘single purpose documents’. These document requirements are delegated in the teams arbitrarily, without any concept for relevant qualifications and objectives for the completion of that task. DocOps makes these efforts transparent, plannable and manageable by experts. Simply said, DocOps is the logical continuation of DevOps. 

The DocOps approach was developed by Technical Editing to allow their know-how to flow into the modern (agile) methodology. The know-how and tools of technical editing fill this gap in the DevOps environment: How can information be made available to all continuously, efficiently, simply and professionally?  

And how can the efforts of document creation be effectively reduced within the team? 

 

Overview 

Let’s first have a look at the definition of ‘DocOps’ and some of its key principles before we look at the details and differences of traditional and continuous documentation. 

Definition 

Mary Connor offered a very good definition for DocOps in her interviews, presentations and on her website (see “Links”). 

DocOps is all about establishing continuous documentation to make DevOps (continuous delivery) successful. This will require the integration of departments and users of interdisciplinary teams into the document creation process. Ideally, a new role ‘Information Manager’ should: 

  • Be in charge of all document requirements
  • Control the creation and maintenance of information 
  • Make information available via a standardised portal. 

 

Key Principles 

  • Collaborative information management
    All information is created in a collaborative effort. Information and product are one unit and will not be viewed as separate entities. Information is created step by step and is made available directly.
  • Collaborative information management
    All information is created in a collaborative effort. Information and product are one unit and will not be viewed as separate entities. Information is created step by step and is made available directly.
  • Aggregation
    Information is stored centrally. Information access is governed via rights and roles. Anyone in the organisation will have at least read access. 
  • User integration
    Users can influence the content directly or indirectly, which means that information is continuously updated and improved.

The Road from Traditional Documentation to DocOps Information Management 

In the following, we will describe the difference between traditional and DocOps methodology using 2 illustrations. 

Example from Technical Documentation 

1. Traditional methodology 


Technical writers work for Technical Editing, which is tasked with making the content of various information providers available to many stakeholders (information users). The storage, creation and distribution of this information is not managed centrally and is handled differently from one team to the next. Teams have their own data silos (e.g. SharePoint, network drives or digital notice boards). The only place, where all information comes together is the editorial office, where documents (e.g. manuals) are created. The dissemination of information is extremely complex and there is no safeguard in place to ensure that only the most current information is used or that all teams have access to the same level of knowledge, as they do not have access to the central content management and must rely on information provided by the editorial office. The creation and dissemination of these documents is very time-consuming for most editorial offices. From experience, we estimate that these efforts (depending on system) may require up to 10% of overall work time. 

 

2. Would DocOps make a difference here? 

DocOps creates clear rules for information management. A standardised platform exists, where all information about the (software) product is stored. Creation paths are unified with roles and access rights. Information dissemination is automated via meta data and there is no need to produce and disseminate documents. Stakeholders can source information autonomously via the portal and export whatever data they need (e.g. in PDF format). 

 

In this environment, technical writers become information managers (IM). The IM is responsible for making the information of the teams available centrally and structured. An IM is furthermore responsible for the language quality, translation and maintenance of the information (information governance). The IM makes available all required information systems for stakeholders (e.g. customers, suppliers). In state-of-the-art cloud-based applications, this is done via automated deployment using meta data and is therefore very simple. 

 

Developers should document?

One of the greatest points of resistance is the idea that non-editors will suddenly have additional document creation duties. Our projects have shown that the opposite is the case. Specialists don’t have to do anything they aren’t already doing. The only thing changing is the environment and the tool used. At the end of the day, specialists like developers will have significantly less documentation work and DocOps will allow them to do their job more efficiently. 

 

Links: 

The following pages offer a good overview of the topic: 

“DocOps – Documentation at the speed of agile”–  by Mary Connor

Right concepts, wrong tools – Wiki-based DocOps

5 Examples for good information systems / technical documentation

 

Bottom Line 

DocOps contributes to making the flow of information more professional. It allows everyone involved to concentrate on their core tasks. 

The introduction of new qualifications on the topic of information management in DevOps visualises requirements and complexities, which makes them controllable. This transparency and the professionalisation made possible by current and reliable information via a centrally controlled portal allows all users to become more efficient in their work. DocOps is therefore a key factor in the DevOps environment, which significantly contributes to better solutions.  

 

We are looking forward to receiving your comments and suggestions and will be happy to answer any questions. If you want to know more about how to implement DocOps with the avato solution iPortal, please contact:  av-itim@avato.net.

Do you have questions? Send us an email: marketing@avato.net

Imprint: 
Date: October 2019
Author: Martin Lieneke
Contact: av-itim@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
© 2019 avato consulting ag
All Rights Reserved.

Does Gamification Motivate your Team Members? No, but…

Does Gamification Motivate your Team Members? No, but…

…that is due to the way gamification is implemented and understood today. Let’s have a look at why it does not work in most cases – and how to fix that!

 

First misconception: What does Gamification mean?

Gamifying something is usually understood as adding elements known from games to a system in order to make its use more fun. And this may already be the root cause why gamification usually does not meet the expectations. If a task is boring or the tools for execution are annoying, adding a score or achievements won’t make it fun. There might be a small group of users who are more willing to invest time and effort in tedious work to get a high score, but that’s probably not what you aimed for when implementing gamification. You wanted your team members to be more engaged with their tasks. Instead they are only searching for the fastest way to collect points. There is even a chance that this decreases their performance.

Gamification that works must be built into the system, not on top of it. That is pretty obvious if you think about games: If playing it is not fun, winning does not change that; and your favorite game is enjoyable even if you lose. Executing the task has to be rewarding in itself. Take these two hints on how to achieve that:

  1. Doing something is self-rewarding every time we are proud of what we have done. Let your team know how the task they are performing fits into the big picture and why it is necessary. This can turn even small, repetitive tasks into something we are willing to invest our energy in.
  2. Think about what your team wants to achieve and turn the task in question into a step on getting there. For example, if your employees are interested in being known as experts for a given subject, executing the task can be a way of proving their knowledge and skill. (For less complicated tasks this can be soft skills like being able to stay concentrated when executing repetitive work.)

 

Second misconception: Competition and Motivation

Competition can motivate us. Evolution has built the desire to be the best (or at least better) into our brains. But it is not the only motivator embedded in our psyche and it is not the best one, especially when working in teams. Why? Because competition can get toxic. Bullying of users with low scores is an extreme example. What is seen more often is resignation. Realizing that you have no chance to become better (e.g. reach a higher rank) is one of the most demotivating experiences one can have. And of course, competition can reduce the willingness to cooperate and share knowledge and skills.

The good news: Fixing this is easier than it looks. There are multiple ways to reduce the toxicity. Have a second thought on whom the users are competing with. Awarding teams instead of individuals to some degree prevents most of the detrimental effects. Or let everyone compete with their former self and give special rewards to the ones winning with the greatest lead. Wording and presentation are also powerful tools. Just replace “best” by “most active” on your leaderboards, disable viewing the complete board and don’t show the precise scores. This still is a reward to the leaders without punishing others.

An even better way: Use other motivators. In most cases, the true need behind the wish to be the best is the desire to be recognized. A system notifying coworkers and supervisors about extraordinary performances and reached milestones, allowing them to express immediately that they value the effort and commitment, will support you more in motivating your team than any leaderboard could. And yes, that is still gamification. Achievements do just that: They recognize and reward outstanding performance automatically. Just keep in mind that recognition by a machine is not as powerful in motivating us as recognition by our social environment.

 

Third misconception: Gamification and Usability

What is often forgotten when talking about gamification is the role of usability and aesthetics. As humans we enjoy looking at nice things, especially if they are moving, and we do like using tools to achieve more while investing less. The effort in adding popular gamification features to a bad tool might be higher and less effective than improving the tool. A more intuitive menu and a little popup or animation may seem less important, but they do have the potential to heavily increase our willingness to use the tool and can even make us smile. There is a reason why aesthetics is a major point in every concept for new games. They help keep us concentrated, immersed and interested. So if you don’t want to invest time in a complex gamification system, consider investing some of it in the look and feel instead. Make using the tool a child’s play and the users will find out how to have fun with it by themselves.

 

Summary

So, can gamification motivate teams? Yes, but only if done right. Consider what your team members want and then use gamification to highlight how the tasks and tools support them in getting it. Don’t expect it to solve all your problems. Gamification makes hard work lighter, it can activate potentials and thus improve efficiency. Not more and not less.

Do you have questions? Send us an email: marketing@avato.net

Imprint: 
Date: September 2019
Author: Isabell Bachmann
Contact: marketing@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
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