API product management and DevOps are both essential aspects of modern software development, but they focus on different areas of the development process. What, then is APIOps, closely related to DevOps? Does it also support API product management activities?
API products (internally and externally consumed) are here to stay. Without APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), There would be no data or AI products, IoT devices, or digital platforms without APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). However, amidst API experts and technology vendors, the role of APIs as products and the need for proper management can sometimes be overlooked due to the technical background of those working with APIs.
This blog explores the concept of APIOps as a means to manage API products effectively, combining the principles of DevOps, GitOps, and product management. We will delve into the definitions of DevOps and APIOps, followed by a closer look at product management for API products, ultimately leading to APIOps Cycles—a novel but widely-adopted approach that fills the gaps and fosters collaboration between various stakeholders.
DevOps, a methodology in software development, aims to automate work for developers and IT operations, enhancing the systems development life cycle. It can create cultural changes in companies, emphasizing the significance of culture alongside tools and automation. In 2017, Jarkko Moilanen introduced APIOps as a role combining DevOps and API development expertise, focusing on mastering the API development toolchain and related automation.
APIOps has evolved to be defined as a combination of DevOps and GitOps tailored for APIs. This approach uses GitOps concepts in API deployment, enabling iterative and automated changes. While DevOps predominantly concentrates on software development and deployment, APIOps extends its reach to the API lifecycle and quality improvements.
Product management and its close relative Product life-cycle management (PLM) are concepts utilized in Engineering and Marketing. In software-related products, product management plays a pivotal role in ensuring products align with market needs and the product strategy. Key activities of a successful product manager include customer interviews, user testing, design sprints, feature prioritization, market assessments, resource allocation, business-to-technical requirement translation, pricing, revenue modeling, and defining success metrics.
Product management and DevOps are distinct disciplines. Product management is a business science, with a focus on fitting products to market needs and business goals. It should be distinct from the narrower role of an Agile product owner. On the other hand, DevOps, rooted in practices like Lean and Deming's cycle, concentrates on improving quality and speed.
While definitions of DevOps by tech giants like Microsoft, Atlassian, and AWS do not inherently include product management activities, the role of product managers is crucial in tracking success metrics, aligning products with business strategies and customer goals, and ensuring internal quality metrics. API product managers, therefore, play a pivotal role in assessing whether APIs provide customer value, a core metric.
However, bridging the gap between software developers, architects, DevOps engineers, and product management professionals can be challenging due to their different backgrounds and methodologies. APIOps Cycles method was created to address this issue and foster collaboration among these stakeholders and sales, marketing, customer, and partner management.
APIs have revolutionized software development and integration, becoming indispensable for modern applications. Recognizing APIs as products (even if it sounds controversal)and managing them through product management methodologies is critical to their success. APIOps, a blend of DevOps and GitOps, facilitates API lifecycle management, but it must also incorporate product management principles for comprehensive effectiveness.
APIOps Cycles emerges as a promising method to bridge the gap between technical aspects and business needs, promoting collaboration among diverse stakeholders. By integrating design thinking, data-driven product management, and the cultural, quality, and speed aspects of DevOps, APIOps Cycles unlocks the true potential of API products.
Learn more about the method: https://www.apiopscycles.com/
APIOpsⓇ and APIOps CyclesⓇ are trademarks of Osaango Ltd, to be used in context of API-automation and lifecycle management-related methods, community run by Osaango and the openly licensed APIOps Cycles method.
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