Amazon is an e-commerce company incorporated in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, and its headquarters are in Seattle, Washington. When Amazon was started, it was an online store that competed with other companies and local bookshops (Yasar& Wigmore, 2022). It later sold digital versions of books through the platform Kindle e-reader. Amazon attracted many customers despite the challenge of identifying the best products to sell. Today, the company deals with producing and retailing electronic-based books; it has grown into an inventory and customer service organization where millions purchase eBooks rather than physical copies.
Amazon also sells films, household items, music, and other products required in customers’ daily lives. Additionally, the company is moving into cloud computing with Amazon AWS, providing other services such as AI, e-commerce, and digital streaming (Yasar & Wigmore, 2022). Amazon is among the most dominant cultural and economic forces worldwide. The company focuses on improving the customer experience by meeting their needs.
With rapid technological changes, external trends, demand, and regulations, companies must respond quickly and adapt to innovate faster than their competitors. Amazon focuses on developing innovative services and products that meet customer needs (Denning, 2019). Thus, Amazon is an agile company that can evaluate changes and prepares solutions quickly. The company focuses on customer satisfaction rather than its profitability. In addition, for Amazon to remain competitive in the changing landscape of technology, it uses various project management processes and methods to ensure the successful delivery of its services and products to customers. Its agility helps it cope with technology trends rather than sustaining old traditional methodologies. Amazon has long used traditional and agile project management to meet its customers’ needs; however, the organization needs to change to a more elegant Agile DevOps environment and must consider its project maturity level, culture, and management styles.
Amazon’s Current State of Project Management Maturity, Culture, and Management Styles
Project Management Maturity
When considering changing to a more agile DevOps environment, project management maturity (PMM) is crucial. Organizations need to understand their current project management processes and capabilities, which will help them identify areas of improvement (Fabbro & Tonchia, 2021). PMM involves developing a strategy, methodology, approach, and decision-making process. An organization’s maturity level depends on its scope, project management strategies, goals, resource capabilities, and needs. Therefore, understanding the company’s level of maturity is crucial since it predicts how the organization will adapt to change. Various maturity models are provided to companies to assess their maturity.
The first level of maturity is the initial process, there is recognition of project management processes, but there needs to be more standards and practices. In addition, varying teams may use different project management processes, leading to a lack of unity and accountability between teams. According to Fabbro & Tonchia (2021), the second level is the structured process and standards maturity level; an organization establishes fundamental project management only for individual projects. It means that the company can have different project management methodologies.
The third maturity level is the organizational standards and standardized process, whereby there is an existence of all project management processes and organizational standards. The processes involve clients as essential and active project team members, and each project is managed and evaluated. At level four, managed process, projects are managed by regulating how they performed in the past and their future expectations. When a company reaches the fifth level, the optimizing process, it can start improving its processes to tailor to its needs (Fabbro & Tonchia, 2021). The company and management focus on continuous improvement and productively managing projects.
Based on Amazon’s project management maturity, it is likely at the managed process level. At this level, all changes, issues, projects, and products are evaluated based on metrics from earned value and cost estimates. Information is distributed to other corporate systems to improve decisions. Moreover, the management has an understanding of how to achieve project success. Based on current metrics, past occurrences, and documentation, the management can make conscious decisions to ensure that future projects will be successful. According to Galleti et al. (2019), the customer obsession at Amazon is handled and approved by customer-driven metrics. External customer feedback is established into capacities and tasks from the beginning.
At Amazon, activity is only implemented if there is a management assessment of a six-page document describing the project or task.
The document has a PR/FAQ section that describes the benefits customers are gaining, answers to regularly asked questions, and the activity’s development (Denning, 2019). FAQs are used to channel its stakeholders and customers to define how a project will work and the best way to execute it. Solid FAQs identify risks and help the company team decide if a project is the right investment. The senior managers analyze the documents before the task on the activity starts. Once a project is funded and authorized, work starts, and planning documents are upgraded as information becomes accessible. In addition, through Amazon’s real-time customer metrics, the senior management addresses each team.
Amazon’s Culture and Management Styles
Behind every successful company, there is an aggressive culture. In Amazon’s case, it has a corporate culture whereby its work is considered ambitious, and employees find it challenging to consider. However, this culture has allowed Amazon to meet demands in the e-commerce market and stay ahead of the competition. One way the culture is structured is by prioritizing customer satisfaction. Amazon hires talents that monitor customers’ desires and trends as they change over time. According to Denning (2019), the company provides a performance-oriented and innovative environment that encourages its employees to provide the greatest customer experience constantly and put customers first in their decisions. Furthermore, Amazon uses high-standard work as a tool to help teams to deliver an increasing amount of service to consumers.
Another significant feature in Amazon’s culture is a writing culture that shows how the company holds meetings; it considers having employees spend more time strengthening their suggestions than using presentations. Amazon limits the number of employees at meetings; Bezos believes that meetings with numerous attendees challenge them to acquire insights. In addition, meetings have a six-page document providing a clear approach, helping managers with information for effective decisions (Denning, 2019). Writing demands more straightforward thinking and reasoning.
Amazon’s culture is also agile; it uses a two-pizza structure to make quick decisions, stay close to customers, and avoid competing priorities. The structure implies that each team is small enough to be fed two pizzas. Team members feel more accountable and significant in small groups rather than in larger groups which are difficult to manage (Galleti et al., 2019). Therefore, Amazon lacks a project management office (PMO) due to these independent and autonomous teams with fewer dependencies, but there are complex, multi-team activities to work on. Thus, the company addresses these by having a single-threaded leader whose priority improves a successful outcome. Since DevOps methodology is based on self-organizing and autonomous teams, Amazon’s transition to a more agile DevOps environment will be successful.
Amazon’s management style from leaders is based on setting high standards and expecting them to meet themselves and their employees. Examples of leadership principles, According to Galetti et al. (2019), Amazon includes customer obsession, earning trust, ownership, hiring and developing the best, striving to be the best employer, and delivering results. Furthermore, Amazon considers leaders as owners. They think long-term; they not only act on behalf of their team but also the entire company, and they are accountable. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, is a proven and exceptional business leader who employs visionary leadership styles and puts customer service at the center of the company’s business practice. Therefore, Amazon can successfully transition to an agile DevOps environment since it encourages open communication and collaboration between its employees.
Moving to a More Agile, DevOps Environment
Today, the business environment is changing in terms of software and product development. According to Raj & Sinha (2021), agile and DevOps methodologies are changing how projects are delivered, impacting change management, differently engaging team members, and changing the development of software applications. Moreover, these methodologies affect scope management, quality management, and estimation methods that impact PM practices in a company. Today, there is a wide use and implementation of Agile methodologies in the world. Organizations are focusing on transitioning to an agile environment to increase their projects’ efficiency and meet customers’ ever-changing requirements.
Agile methodology engages its team to work when, how, and where they choose with the least requirements and adaptability to improve their execution. According to Mohammad (2017), it manages projects by breaking them into phases; at every stage, there is continuous improvement and collaboration with stakeholders. Furthermore, agile methodology emerges from the need to confront the disadvantages and difficulties of deploying traditional approaches in project implementation and management. Transitioning to an agile environment is important since it changes an organization’s culture and project management processes. Moreover, it will provide opportunities for project teams to reduce risks when launching products, bring innovation, and adapt to changes concerning customer feedback.
In a founding document, the Agile manifesto focuses on twelve principles and four main values that guide the Agile approach. “The values include customer collaboration over contract negotiation, individuals and interactions over tools and processes, responding to change over a following plan, and working software over complex documentation” (Raj & Sinha, 2021). While adjusting to change and responding to customer’s needs, the values help manage a development process that provides quality products while meeting business and customer needs. In addition, following these principles and values, the Agile mindset allows flexibility to change in an unknown environment.
Amazon’s Agile Teams
Agile teams are autonomous, independent, and responsible for all aspects of a system. Based on Amazon, it believes that independent teams are faster in delivering projects. For instance, the organization has a “two-pizza team” that is empowered to solve problems and innovate. According to Galetti et al. (2019), Amazon teams are autonomous and independent; there is limited interaction with other teams, and when it occurs, it is documented and the interfaces are defined. In addition, the agile team has its own data; no other team has access except the Application programming interfaces (APIs). These are interfaces that have rules, allowing other teams to use and integrate the team’s ability.
In traditional software teams, autonomous teams offer various benefits, such as increasing employee motivation and enhancing coordination. Nevertheless, the execution of such a team depends on its ability to perform and supervise its work. Moreover, when there is no trust in the team, members do not focus on the team’s objectives, and leadership demands more control (Mohammad, 2017). The other disadvantage is that the team lacks sufficient experience and resources to manage daily problems. Therefore, Amazon requires to implement a more successful agile DevOps environment whereby its team has solid communication and collaboration. It also needs to train its employees about the transition and benefits to the organization.
DevOps is the combination of cultural practices, tools, and philosophies that maximizes an organization’s capacity to provide services and applications efficiently and quickly. It describes the adoption of automation, iterative software development, and programmable infrastructure deployment. In addition, it aligns technological projects to business requirements and cultural changes, for example, building unity and trust among system developers and administrators. According to Raj & Sinha (2021), DevOps works by combining two teams that replace traditional manual approaches with technologies that help them develop and employ applications reliably and quickly. Ideally, this approach has an IT team that creates an application that deploys with limited time, runs on the first try, and meets user requirements.
DevOps allows improved productivity and the ability to convey organization needs in creation, joint effort, and improved communication among development, business, and IT activities. In addition, the DevOps model utilizes computerized approaches to combine the data gap between teams and to implement processes that guarantee continuous communication (Ebert et al., 2016). Communication between team members, customers, and specialists is a key component to delivering effective projects. Other benefits of DevOps can be obtained if the challenge in team structure and culture are addressed.
One of the companies that use DevOps is Amazon; it uses the method to ensure constant customer service by providing a reliable and stable working environment. For instance, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers tools for deploying continuous delivery (Ebert et al., 2016). With Amazon’s rapid growth and changing requirements of engineering teams, the company is expanding its Aws DevOps portfolio, providing a huge number of tools to help its team improve its speed and agility.
Agile, DevOps Environment
Agile and DevOps models are changing how projects are being developed, affecting how changes are controlled, creating applications in sprints, changing how projects are delivered, and engaging project team members (Raj & Sinha, 2021). Both approaches. impact quality management, scope management, and estimation that affect the project management practices in a company. Moreover, an agile DevOps environment enables organizations and companies to cope with the continuous complexity of managing consumers’ requests and requirements. As a result, it leads to a collaborative and agile environment to replace traditional methodologies that are applied in project development.
Agile and DevOps teams work faster and more efficiently, where quality projects are delivered and satisfied customers. While DevOps is a collaboration-building model for the operations and technology team, it allows customers to quickly deploy a production code (Mohammad, 2017). It also helps to speed up the delivery of services and products in an organization. With this understanding, it is clear that both DevOps and Agile strive for a more effective way to improve the end-user’s value.
Based on Amazon, it has autonomous and independent teams that deliver its projects. However, if the company changes to an agile DevOps environment, it will break the traditional culture where there is limited interaction among teams. The goal of changing to this environment is to build a culture of collaboration between operation and development teams that enhance the increased flow of work (Mohammad, 2017). Moreover, project managers have a larger visibility of both the team’s work and interdependencies among them. Trust between teams increases the leaders’ freedom to innovate and experiment without issues of miscommunication and incompatibility, as it would be in separate teams.
DevOps improves collaboration among operations that enhance employee benefit and communication. Communication is the major cause of project delivery failures. According to Almeida et al. (2022), by working together, teams can track the process evolution from their inception, which results in the emergence of process improvements. The main goal of the DevOps environment is to optimize communication among the customer and teams. As a result, it provides a secure development environment. However, emerging with agile teams offers more potential benefits. The other benefits of changing to a more agile DevOps environment are better mitigation of risks, increased software quality, continuous customer feedback, and reduced risk associated with operation and development. In addition, DevOps and agile are effective due to their shared emphasis on iterative processes or feedback loops. This way, adjustments can be made on a continuous basis.
Although having an agile DevOps environment is beneficial, there are challenges to the transformation of both DevOps and agile procedures. Many challenges are faced due to the organization’s size, design process conflicts, complexity in using both techniques and varying life cycles. Furthermore, there can be a failure of adequate employees support to adopt a new culture and a failure to communicate strategies for the change. However, they can be avoided in various ways, including empowering teams, increasing teamwork flow, open communication, and rewards for good performance. According to Almeida et al. (2022), for a project to be successful, the team has to consider the product’s deployment and development. Also, ensure that the team has the right resources, knowledge, tools, and training on services such as deployment, maintenance, and releases.
Amazon is an e-commerce company that focuses on developing innovative products and services that meet customer needs. In addition, Amazon provides services such as Artificial Intelligence, digital streaming, and cloud computing through AWS. Amazon can change to a more agile DevOps environment and consider its project level, culture, and management styles. In meeting customers’ ever-changing needs, the company has an agile culture that evaluates changes, makes informed decisions, and satisfies customers. For instance, it uses a two-pizza agile team to make quick decisions. In addition, it is likely at the fourth project management maturity level, and its corporate culture is performance oriented and aggressive. Amazon also uses the DevOps model for deploying continuous delivery. Amazon’s change has multiple advantages and challenges. It will improve projects’ quality, enhance collaboration and communication between teams, easily identify and mitigate risks, improve performance, and increase the speed at which it delivers its products and services to customers.
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