Without the right people, positions and talents, it is difficult for a business to engender a DevOps culture. It is even more frustrating to facilitate a continuous delivery pipeline successfully producing quick bursts of innovative genius, without a full complement of qualified souls harmonizing on the same DevOps theme song as they toil away on the company’s next release.
Some enterprises have a handle on the go-to people or hired guns they need to help spread a DevOps mindset—and exactly where to plug them into the organizational hierarchy. Other organizations have progressed to cloning these folks across Dev, Ops and the rest of the business. Some of those have laid some pipe as they extend a conduit from build to production. Those that are, by now, the “old guard” of DevOps have well-run pipelines brimming with fresh, robust software goodness.
No one company has a “secret sauce” that works across all industries and organizations. How your company should connect the dots depends on who you ask. This time DevOps.com has asked Renato Quedas, vice president of Solutions and Enablement at Micro Focus.
Wrong People, Wrong Result
The right people will produce significant changes to code, creating new value that is worthy of promotion to production. The right people will ensure that the release is ready, reliable and fit to go live anytime the business wants to give its blessing.
“If a continuous feedback loop doesn’t exist between everyone involved in defining, building, testing, releasing and operating an application, the right people will not understand or feel enabled to pull the trigger in a release. Essentially that ‘any time’ will turn into ‘sometimes,’” says Quedas.
The company must maintain business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) while accelerating continuous delivery; if continuous delivery moves too fast, it will push BC/DR off the rails and into disaster. Testing is an important ingredient in ensuring BC/DR remains once the software reaches the end of the development pipeline. “Customers will not care if applications are delivered faster if they don’t perform or function properly on their platform and devices of choice. Not having the right people involved will turn continuous delivery into an unreliable minefield and create an uncertain application delivery pipeline, which businesses will never accept as part of any improvement initiative,” he says.
The Right Stuff
According to Quedas, the following positions or profiles are examples of people who would have the communications skills, ruthless negotiation tactics, sound decision-making processes and customer-first mentality—with little tolerance for poor quality—that are necessary to make a DevOps culture and continuous delivery work:
- Product Managers who own responsibility for product quality can keep software product focus and development on track. They can communicate the business needs for the software, the capabilities it must have, and mediate the sometimes chaotic process that comes with continuous delivery. “Product Managers are used to prioritizing the work based on market trends, competitive landscape, customer requests and other internal/external pressures. Product Managers are accustomed to making decisions based on trade-offs, which helps CD focus in delivering the right outcomes to the business faster,” says Quedas.
- QA Managers who readily communicate to test, development and operations teams as well as nontechnical folks about what is necessary to maintain software reliability. They also can bring development to a halt and send innovations back to the drawing board when validity and reliability are at risk.
Creating the DevOps Culture
A thriving DevOps culture will build a software delivery pipeline that can duplicate quality results—as any truly repeatable business endeavor should be able to do. To bring this culture to life, the company must demolish team and departmental silos to get everyone on the same page regarding what the organization must do and when it should do it. “Companies will need to streamline production via automation in order to make decisions faster,” says Quedas.
A working, vibrant DevOps culture should give everyone a voice and ownership of a certain amount of control of their part of the process. “There is always pressure on information technology but there needs to be an understanding that it should be acceptable to put pressure back on the business,” says Quedas. “The business expectations need to be realistic or it won’t work. All sides need to be responsive.”
A healthy DevOps culture and mindset includes a shared understanding that scope with value must be achievable in a reasonable amount of time. “The faster you demonstrate value, the easier it becomes to earn the right to continue in the journey and on to the next phase of development,” he says.
Right People + Right Careers + Right Culture = Continuous Delivery
Having the right people in positions such as the aforementioned product manager and QA Manager gives an organization the ability to hone its continuous delivery pipeline. The right culture ensures that everyone will follow these and other leaders and stakeholders so that each new innovation comes as quickly and smoothly as it can.