As we welcome in the New Year, it’s natural for us to set both personal and professional goals. While many are adding the obligatory eat healthier, spend more time with family, and exercise more to their personal list, some of our client are adding DevOps resolutions to their professional goals.
During a recent customer roundtable discussion, we asked our clients what are their DevOps goals / resolutions for the New Year. Here are a few that stood out from the crowd.
“Focus on fewer problem areas (bottlenecks)”
-Ben S., VP, Major European Auto Manufacturer
This is my favorite. It’s counterintuitive but makes perfect sense. With a topic like DevOps, it can feel over whelming at times. It’s for easy organizations to create a litany of things to do. Many enterprises hesitate to invest in DevOps not because they don’t know where to start, but rather they have too many choices on where to start.
So this year, listen to Ben’s advice: pick the top 2- 3 areas that can make a positive impact to your organization. That may be continuous integration, or automated testing, or automated environment configuration. Whatever the area, just focus on a few areas, rally your team, and stick with it.
If you are struggling with what to pick, use time, pain, and / or cost as your prioritization criteria. Even if you get it wrong, the impact on one part of your Software Delivery Lifecycle (SDLC) will highlight the bottlenecks in other areas.
“Spend time talking to the people in trenches”
-Jay S., Senior Director, Leading HealthCare Provider
Jay hit the nail on the head. Too often we only focus on executive messaging and alignment. While that is important, talking to the people that are actually living this day in and day out is just as important. The insights you gain from them will be invaluable as you create your DevOps strategy and will go a long way when you try to get their buy in. Also, don’t just stick to the people within your silo. Talk to business, development, and operations – to get a holistic point of view
If you are going to start a DevOps cultural revolution, you might as well get both top down and grass roots support. It’s the own way it is going to work.
“Connect with others who have been there done that”
-Ann H., VP, Major Telecommunications Company
DevOps is a paradigm shift that challenges many of our long-held beliefs. It is a mind-set change and the only way to break the old way of thinking is to learn something new. So as the New Year unfolds, consider replicating Ann’s strategy: plan to connect with others who have been there and done that.
We are at a stage in the market where many organizations have jumped in with both feet into DevOps. Some have been successful and continue to invest, and others not so much. Talk to both, you can learn a lot on what to do / not to do.
“Stick To Your Guns”
– John B., Snr. Director, Leading Technology Firm
DevOps fails in an enterprise, not because of a flawed strategy, or mis matched tools, or even a bad process, but due to death by a thousand cuts. For example, breaking the continuous integration protocols and letting bad code pass through, increasing the batch size due to scope creep, not checking in code daily, and / or using non-standard pattern for deployment. Each cut, though small in nature, undermines the entire process. If done once in a while, it might be ok. But do it too often and you will literally see your DevOps investment vaporize into thin air.
So if you were to add just one resolution to the list, I would recommend you follow John and add “sticking to their guns”. Whatever process that you and your team have decided on, stick to it. The more you stick to it, the easier and more natural it will become. Do it often enough and you will be setting the right tone for yourself, your team, and towards DevOps success.
What are your resolutions for 2015?
About the Author
Mustafa Kapadia is Service Line Leader for IBM’s DevOps practice, a business advisory practice focused on helping large enterprises transform their software & application delivery. Through DevOps, organizations can get software to market faster, with better quality, less defects, reduced risk and shortened lead times.
Prior to joining IBM, Mustafa was a management consultant with Deloitte’s Strategy & Operations practice. He lives in San Francisco Bay Area, is an avid blogger (when time permitting), a speaker, and and advisor to start ups.