Increasing speed in product development – is your IP at risk?

Written by Philip Zollinger on . Posted in Continuous Improvement, Lean Product Development Flows

Is your IP important? If yes, then these thoughts may be of interest.

Reducing release cycles is on the agenda of most product development companies. There are many reasons why this is becoming ever more a way to keep ahead – even more so as competition is changing and coming increasingly from newcomers to the market or from market players acting nowadays in completely different domains. But what is the advantage of faster releases? Well, there are many, such as less risk, less waste, lower cost and happier customers because they get earlier what they are really asking for, or they’re able to harvest the benefits from new innovations earlier.

This increasing speed also impacts organisations enhancing and intensifying the cooperation with partners and suppliers. Consequently, keeping up with this speed and putting measures in place to protect the Intellectual Property (IP) is ever more becoming a challenge for the security office. With speed increasing the dynamics increase as well, and static measures become fast a burden and can lead to frustrated development teams not advancing as fast as they could.

While increasing the speed in development it is very likely that processes need to be reassessed, as automating and improving activities is only one part of the picture. When looking at the delivery pipeline holistically and looking at it as a development stream (like in the eyes of Value Mapping in lean thinking), most delivery pipelines are very likely to be 30% doing and 70% waiting. The doing can be optimised through automation but in order to optimise the waiting, processes changes are needed which usually have an impact on the organisation. The desire to do this can be considered to be a major goal for every company as it also helps keeping remediation fast. In a DevOps scenario you should be looking at the paradigm of infrastructure as code, i.e. to automate the complete deployment process as this not only increases speed but also helps with respect to security since any attacks on your running system can be more easily remediated.

From a security standpoint Forrester says that the continuous delivery paradigm is seen more like a continuous friction or nagging. (Forrester: Secure DevOps – Overcoming the risk of modern Service Delivery). According to a study, 75% of attacks are successfully done in days, whereas only 25% of those are detected in days. And I would claim that this is getting even worse. Traditional security measures are not working sufficiently. Forrester again thinks that most organisations are still using technologies of the 90s, mainly based on the fixed perimeter paradigm – outdated and no more applicable, the perimeter is DEAD. Firewalls are no more scalable to the extranet. Identity and access management is important, but is becoming ever more a challenge especially in large co-operations due to complexity and dynamics. Lately I heard from one of our customers that he needed to wait at least a week to be granted access … a situation which could easily kill the existence of small innovative companies. Further, the “kidnapping” of accounts is becoming ever more an issue and even if two factor authentication will help – is it really the solution? All these measures are static and do not really help in surfacing threats.

Finally, security is still working mostly in silos (security, development, production). A more holistic approach is required – in every sense of the word. Security aspects need to be integrated in all aspects. A more real-time analysis on the data and more is required, and the analysis needs to be done on every file, ever user, every interaction. Thus the analysis needs to support large data amounts from various sources. Those who are acting in this field will for sure bring benefit to the challenges which most security responsible are facing.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Visualize – Collaborate – Automate

Written by Philip Zollinger on . Posted in Continuous Improvement, Lean & Agile Product Development, Lean Product Development Flows

I would like to give some background to our headline „Visualize, Collaborate, Automate“ we introduced following our slogan „challenging complexity – increasing agility“, which of course is still true. However, we wanted to bring more value to our heading as we strongly believe that the three pillars visualisation, collaboration and automation are integral values to the benefits of all our services in improving product development and your quest for continuous improvement.

Since the founding of EVOCEAN almost 10 years back we have been focusing on leveraging product development through experience, techniques and tools. It has been the combination of all three values which created the greatest leverage. Let me iterate today what we understand by these three terms. We will be giving examples in future blogs.

First of all, let’s talk about visualisation. It is essential to know that the term’s meaning depends on the context and has more than one dimension. What we understand by visualisation is – on the one hand – the abstraction in graphics, models, the graphical synthesis in user interfaces, i.e. user experience, and – more generally – a concept helping to visualise complexity. We believe in layers, in different views, each one of them having its benefit for its special purpose. Or to say it in Einstein’s words: “Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.” As expressed in the term „simplexity“, we are convinced that complexity is inherent and we need ways to manage it (refer also to systems engineering). In future, you will hear more from us in the context of visual management. We believe very strongly that visualisation helps a lot in making decisions earlier, thus helping to validate your tasks earlier. Especially in innovation projects early feedbacks are very important. In another dimension we also feel strongly about models in the context of Model Driven Development or Model Based Systems Engineering. Models are a way to visualize and in further steps to execute, i.e. they are also a basis to generate code, which leads us directly to the automation part.

Automation is always part of an improvement. However, be aware that automation will only improve your activities and make them faster if done manually today, but sometimes you need more profound changes – i.e. adjusting your business model or, in the context of products, its architecture. In all these tasks and with respect to increasing your speed, automation shortens release cycles and reduces time to market to stay ahead of your ever increasing competition.

Collaboration is key for success and is becoming ever more important. If you cannot access your data easily, cannot share, trace, collaborate with others easily, it will be tough – because while speed increases, parallel activities increase and thus teamwork gains weight. Changes need to be transparent and traceable. Having an infrastructure which supports this helps you reducing mundane non-valuable tasks and enables to excel in your product development.

In this sense I ask you to think about how visualisation , collaboration and automation will help you.