Enterprises should be winning at DevOps and reaping the rewards of their digital transformation initiatives. After all, DevOps is not new. Its practices, technologies and processes have been widely accepted for years. Agile techniques, which underpin DevOps, are not new, either. Similarly, digital transformation may have started as a “tech solution” but it is now recognized as a C-suite imperative.
So why are the majority of business underexploiting their potential? Enterprises stand on the brink of a new era of opportunity heralded by 5G, the IoT and AI. So, how will DevOps rise to the new challenge of increased speed, scale and complexity?
Time to Worry?
Test automation levels in organizations speak volumes. Automation is an important marker of DevOps maturity and an indicator of how well a business can compete on quality at speed. So, it is a little worrying that software teams continue to rely on manual processes, with just 16 percent deploying automating common test activities.
It is often observed that DevOps requires cultural change to really take hold. Motivating and retaining top talent is as important to the health of a DevOps implementation as the latest platform or framework. Yet, it is often passed over in favor of a “quick-fix” in the form of a tech solution. Relatively small adjustments in how teams approach DevOps can make a huge difference, as any practitioner of nudge theory will tell you.
Here are six top tips to get DevOps delivering again.
Silo or Service Approach?
Consider switching to a horizontal software organization, sometimes known as a flat hierarchy, in which people are responsible for end-to-end ownership of the service they are tasked with. It is empowering because it gives them a complete view of what the service should be responsible for. In a vertical organization, the developers tend to become siloed and it can be hard to appreciate the bigger picture.
Adopt Microservices and Container-based Architectures
These technical advances have influenced how teams are built and how they operate. Their relative isolation forces teams to be organized independently. With that, comes flexible working and responsibility for the complete life cycle. View microservices and container-based architectures as opportunities for DevOps team members to have more ownership of deployments and results in faster release cycles.
Publish Matrices for Increased Visibility
There is a lot to be said for increasing transparency between teams and their members. Foster some healthy competition, share best practices or simply provide criteria for teams to match performance. This can be achieved with automated matrices that show software development and release agility, operational efficiency and quality of service. This kind of transparency is a motivator and will act as a catalyst to improve engineering.
Automation Leads to Motivation
Automation is vital for achieving scale and speed, as such, it is rightly seen as a DevOps must-have. It is also valuable because it frees up people’s time from routine activities and manual, repetitive, error-prone tasks. These manual tasks do not just burn precious work hours and reduce quality, they also grind down morale. Give developers interesting things to work on that are strategically important to the organization.
In DevOps circles, people obsess about the importance of tightening customer feedback loops. But in an age where social networking is ubiquitous, it is not just customers who want immediate recognition more than delayed gratification. Employees are no different! Provide immediate feedback on code/ build/ test/ deployment /deviations from guidelines as they happen, so that corrective actions can be taken immediately.
DevOps requires C-suite commitment. This is especially true in the early stages of a DevOps implementation. Projects stall for various reasons. For instance, businesses can find it challenging to adapt organizational structures to fit the DevOps way of working. Technical hiccups occur too when technologies are new and its practitioners are learning the ropes. Active, unified support from management helps smooth the path to DevOps, deploying help and resources to ensure the project remains on track.
DevOps is one part technology, one part process and one part people. It is easy to take it for granted. Too often, businesses prioritize the tech and the processes and forget that what makes DevOps transformational. It is the bringing together of two (formerly) distinct groups, the development and operations teams. A nudge, a pat on the back or a common goal go a long way. These softer skills pack a bigger punch and deliver a better bang for the buck.