Modern technologies allow businesses to deliver products and services faster and more efficiently with each passing day. Speed and efficiency are the key drivers of success in today’s business environment, which is why companies that have embraced DevOps as a business methodology are dominant. (Think Amazon, Netflix, and Target.) Organizations that have fully implemented DevOps are able to dramatically reduce the time it takes to deliver products to market while simultaneously lessening development costs.
Consider this: Employee job satisfaction is a major predictor of organizational success. As a business approach, DevOps can curtail problems with employee satisfaction. Software developers don’t like broken/slow environments and hate spending their time figuring out why they can’t deploy code with one push of a button.
DevOps leads to happier, more productive employees while reducing organizational risks, improving customer satisfaction, and allowing for faster recovery times.
Dispelling DevOps Myths
Before we explore why a DevOps implementation is such a competitive advantage, let’s be clear about what DevOps isn’t.
DevOps is not automation. However, automating as much as possible is one of the primary principles of DevOps. Likewise, it’s not a replacement for the deeply technical and specialized skills in your organization. Eliminating the stovepipes of specialization does not mean firing your Linux and Oracle experts.
DevOps does require deep cultural and organizational change. That typically means altering behavior — a lot. It means overhauling decades’ worth of practices that are deeply ingrained in your team.
You have to tell the veterans of your organization who are accustomed to running things in a certain way that much of what they know and do every day is obsolete.
It’s not easy to change your IT organizational structure. We can put developers and operations people together in a room and tell them to get it done, but those two groups of people won’t magically morph into a DevOps organization. They might as well be from different planets.
Keep Calm and Rely on CALMS
CALMS is a conceptual framework for the integration of development and operations, quality and security teams, and systems and functions within an organization. It’s often used as a maturity model, helping managers evaluate whether their organizations are ready for DevOps — and if not, what needs to change.
If you work in operations, “doing DevOps” and making use of some development techniques doesn’t automatically translate to success.
It’s critical to note that simply implementing software practices inside an ops silo isn’t sufficient. Cultural and procedural changes around CALMS implementation in your organization are required.
The five pillars of the framework are:
· Culture: There is a culture of shared responsibility.
· Automation: Team members seek ways to automate as many tasks as possible and are comfortable with the idea of continuous delivery.
· Lean: Team members can visualize work in progress, limit batch sizes, and manage queue lengths.
· Measurement: Data is constantly being collected, and there is also technology that can provide visibility into all this data and the systems that house it.
· Sharing: Easy-to-navigate channels allow teams in both development and operations to communicate. It’s incredibly important to eliminate any silos that exist between development teams responsible for disparate functions.
Eliminating divisions helps organizations achieve the end-to-end accountability necessary to create effective software solutions. Within DevOps, an effective method of building internal trust involves bringing together team members to develop software and proactively respond to new issues in production with assistance from operations.
Harnessing the Power of DevOps
If you’re a decision maker at your organization who wants to harness the power of DevOps, here are five tips for a successful implementation:
1. Choose the right development methodology.
The underlying philosophy of DevOps is shorter, more focused work cycles that lead to superior outcomes. More agile development approaches like Scrum or Kanban can empower developers to define goals, prioritize tasks, and identify procedural problems. You can use a combination of both methodologies to optimize your approach based on your particular business objectives.
2. Implement CI and CD strategies.
Continuous integration, or CI, is a strategy for frequently and automatically testing against a code branch. Continuous delivery, or CD, automates the process of getting code into production after testing and approval (if needed).
The code is held in a repository like Git or SVN for safekeeping and version control. But those repositories aren’t limited to code. Automated methods of configuring and deploying infrastructure have breathed life into the concept of “infrastructure as code.”
Using infrastructure as code means that you can incorporate it into other DevOps processes, such as deployment or testing. One of the benefits of infrastructure as code is how it allows your systems to remain evergreen by making it easy to keep everything updated with new packages or versions.
3. Consider using the cloud.
For some organizations, DevOps relies on a cloud infrastructure that allows practitioners to provision and request resources. A prerequisite of DevOps is the ability to consume resources as you go and to detach the infrastructure for the central service.
That cloud doesn’t need to be Amazon Web Services, though. It can be built as an internal private cloud. Enterprises working to embrace DevOps often struggle with legacy infrastructure, which sometimes does not interface well with cutting-edge tools. In most cases, however, such a transition is a requirement for successful DevOps adoption.
4. Adjust and iterate.
How well IT performs depends on certain DevOps practices, such as continuous delivery as well as using version control. The more time DevOps practices are given (and the more they are improved upon), the better they perform. And improved IT performance means there’s also a greater likelihood of improving performance across the entire organization. In fact, 46% of organizations with high-performing IT departments see improved ROI on technology.
Moreover, these organizations are more likely to be at the forefront of digital transformation and invest in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and customer experience tools.
5. Focus on cultural change.
Organizational culture is one of the strongest predictors of both IT performance and the overall success of an organization. High-trust organizations encourage an open flow of information, collaboration across departments, the ability to learn from mistakes and failures, and sharing responsibilities.
These cultural practices and norms are core elements of DevOps, with DevOps practices frequently correlating with peak organizational performance. Job satisfaction involves doing work that’s challenging and meaningful, empowering us to exercise our skills and judgment. It’s also clear that job satisfaction encourages employees to bring their best selves to work, which leads to more innovation everywhere.
To be clear, DevOps is a methodology that focuses on people rather than technology. Numerous studies have shown that healthy organizations — companies that have satisfied team members — are more productive than their competitors. A successful DevOps implementation will undoubtedly give you a competitive advantage. Moreover, it will create the type of internal mindset that will be necessary for success as technological change continues to disrupt commerce in the coming years.