Unwrapping Faster Software Delivery This Holiday Season

A long time ago, Santa Claus’ toy delivery system was a mess.

He had what he needed to make Christmas happen every year––a factory, elves, and reindeer. And ultimately, he would get a list of children and what they asked for.

But the reality, even for Santa, is that producing the world’s Christmas toy supply is not light work. In fact, in order to meet each Yuletide deadline, Santa and the elves would start building the following year’s toys immediately after each Christmas ended––even before getting the children’s wish lists.

Of course, as each year went on, things would change, with families moving, report cards coming out, and new toys being advertised. Yet, here the elves were, feverishly building a supply of toys based on old wish lists filled with toys that would be deemed “misfits” by the time Christmas Eve arrived.

The elves were working in an environment that was set up to fail. They worked in teams, each building the individual components that make up the various toys. In an effort to save time, components that were used in multiple toys were produced in bulk. And then the pieces would be given to the teams of elves that were tasked with assembling the toys.

Unfortunately, communication among the teams of elves was lacking. Changes were often made by individual teams with little regard to the other toy components. When it came time to merge the components into the complete toy, the elves found themselves with incompatible pieces and mismatched designs. With the realization of months of wasted work and Christmas just around the corner, the elves had to scramble to refit the components of their unassembled toys and build the new toys they hadn’t anticipated. Not to mention the giant waste of toys that were built as a result of poor planning.

And all of this was occurring before the final version of the toys were sent to QA!

The toys would eventually go out to the world, which relied on Santa to pull off his magic to get them to every kid on time. And the slow, unreliable, error-prone cycle of toy delivery would again begin in the North Pole, with no feedback loop to see how a child felt about their new toy and no ability to scale capacity up or down.

Sleigh Bells Ringing

Tired of this inefficient holiday tradition, Santa mapped out his value stream to spot the flaws in his delivery process and identify areas for improvement. He gathered the data produced from his toychain and analyzed it to identify waste, find processes that could be automated, and track trends in toy popularity. From there, he and his best elf engineers researched an enterprise DevOps solution that would sit on top of and orchestrate the various stages of their complex global toy delivery system.

Today, with the right solution in place, Santa has a fully integrated delivery system and standardized process, with complete visibility into everything happening in the toy delivery pipeline. He can now regularly peer into his snow globe to get real-time status updates and spot risks, and his elves get continuous feedback into what kind of toys children want. Plus, because Santa can now build automated compliance checks into the pipeline, his elves get self-service “detoyment” capabilities. Santa also shares his findings––especially the good ones––with all of the elves to give them that extra boost of holiday cheer.

In the end, order was restored in the North Pole. Naughty kids are no longer getting toy cars while nice kids get lumps of coal. In fact, Santa’s delivery chain is now so fast and efficient, he’s thinking about adding an additional Christmas each year!

An Intelligent Stocking Stuffer

Enterprise DevOps demands a framework that organizes and controls the software delivery pipeline from end-to-end. The XebiaLabs DevOps Platform connects all your DevOps tools and allows you to orchestrate and automate the entire software delivery and deployment process.

As you sip on eggnog this Holiday season, think about Santa and the daunting task of delivering toys across the world in a single night. It may seem impossible, but with the right mix of standardization, real-time visibility into the release process, built-in compliance, and continuous feedback, Santa and his elves are perfectly positioned to maximize the merriment value of their toys every year.

Happy Holidays!


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