A “Crawl, Walk, Run” approach to performing FinOps enables organizations to start small, and grow in scale, scope, and complexity as business value warrants maturing a functional activity. Taking quick action at a small scale and limited scope allows FinOps teams to assess the outcomes of their actions, and to gain insights into the value of taking further action in a larger, faster, or more granular way.
In assessing the state of an organization’s FinOps Capability or Domain, we can also use these maturity designations to identify where we are currently operating, and to identify areas we’d like to move from a Crawl to a Walk, or from a Walk to a Run maturity.
These terms are general guidelines, and an organization’s goal should never be simply to achieve a “Run” maturity in every Capability.
As the FinOps Principles tell us, business value should drive our decision making. An organization that has established “Walk” stage anomaly detection – which has proven adequate in detecting the few cost spikes the organization has previously experienced – should consider investing time evolving other FinOps Capabilities which could provide an immediate benefit. Effort spent maturing a Capability that is meeting the measurement of success could move an organization’s maturity in that individual capability from Crawl to Walk, or Walk to Run – but provide no benefit to the measurement of success.
In other words, establishing a Walk stage in a particular Capability is not necessarily a good or bad thing, FinOps practitioners should focus less on maturing each Capability to “Run” for everything and more on achieving the outcomes the FinOps Capabilities aim to provide.
Prioritize maturing the Capabilities that provide your organization the highest business value.
Every Capability and functional activity can be at a different level of maturity. There is a FinOps Framework Assessment in development and the below sort of rubric to help indicate where we think we are operating allows a convenient shorthand to communicate effectively.
FinOps Maturity Level
Maturity Level Characteristics
Sample goals/KPI from the FinOps Community (data.finops.org)
Very little reporting and tooling
Measurements only provide insight into the benefits of maturing the capability
Basic KPIs set for the measurement of success
Basic processes and policies are defined around the capability
Capability is understood but not followed by all the major teams within the organization
Plans to address “low hanging fruit”
Should be able to allocate at least 50%
Resource-based commitments discount target coverage of approximately 60%
Forecast spend to actual spend accuracy variance is 20%
Capability is understood and followed within the organization
Difficult edge cases are identified but decision to not address them is adopted
Automation and/or processes cover most of the Capability requirements
Most difficult edge cases (ones that threaten the financial well-being of the organization) are identified and effort to resolve has been estimated
Medium to high goals/KPIs set on the measurement of success
Should be able to allocate at least 80%
Resource-based commitments discount target coverage is approximately 70%
Forecast spend to actual spend accuracy variance is 15%
Capability is understood and followed by all teams within the organization
Difficult edge cases are being addressed
Very high goals/KPIs set on the measurement of success
Automation is the preferred approach
Greater than 90% of spend can be allocated
Resource-based commitments discount target coverage is approximately 80%
Forecast spend to actual spend accuracy variance is 12%