DevOps—the integration of development and operations teams to drive faster and more efficient applications to the business—has been championed as delivering a wide range of business and technical benefits. Whether it’s more stable operating environments, faster delivery of features, quicker resolution of problems, or continuous software delivery, few industry pundits and analysts dispute the benefits that DevOps delivers.
Yet despite its faster time-to-market and continual improvement benefits, the rate of adoption across businesses has been increasing at a steady pace, rather than exploding. Gartner estimates that by 2016, DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy used predominantly by large cloud providers, to a more mainstream approach employed by 25% of Global 2000 organizations.
A fundamental reason for this is that unlike other innovations being introduced into a business, DevOps fuses cultural shifts with operations and development, resulting in a number of changes and technologies that deliver continual change. Upending an organization’s culture—particularly within large organizations with well-established processes—is not something that can be instantly transformed at the people, process and information levels.
As businesses assess and implement DevOps methodologies, there are a number of necessary considerations for it to be a success across any organization.
1. Build a collaborative and respectful culture across your organization. People can be the main obstacle of success to adopting an effective DevOps strategy. Employ someone who will oversee the strategy and who can spearhead cultural acceptance in your business.
2. Don’t take a hybrid approach. Companies will struggle if they don’t fully embrace the potential of DevOps—for example, you cannot apply agile methodologies by keeping IT operations and engineering teams in traditional silos. Automated testing, integrated configuration management and Continuous Integration are just some of the core best practices that organizations should apply.
3. Set specific and realistic goals. There are multiple types of metrics that can be set. Whether they are operational metrics or service quality metrics, they need to align with customer satisfaction and business growth measures. Identify what goals can be set based on your most basic operational and service-quality metrics, and how they connect to overall business goals.
4. Give DevOps a new initiative to easily demonstrate success. It is easier to introduce DevOps when there is a fresh project (for example, building a new product) so that there is less resistance to the processes and tools involved. Small wins can support wider advocacy within the business.
5. Engage senior leadership for their buy-in. DevOps is a paradigm shift from the old software delivery organization to a new one that fuses software engineering and IT operations. Changes can be hard to any business, and finding advocates at the senior level can help to drive a smoother and easier transformation.
To fully realize the benefits DevOps offers, larger businesses with more complex internal structures must look beyond the immediate relationship between developers and operations. In addition, applying the principles of DevOps so that teams feel that they have the latitude to focus on delivering constant value and incremental improvements will help foster its success and drive its strategic focus across any organization.