DevOps has attained mainstream status. It is no longer a cutting-edge concept that only startups and progressive companies embrace—it’s a business imperative that delivers a significant competitive edge. If you want evidence of the impact of DevOps, take a look at the 2016 State of DevOps report.
But what is it about DevOps that gives companies a strategic advantage over competitors?
“A DevOps approach enables companies to respond much more quickly to customer needs, competitive pressures and realize faster time to innovation,” says Sacha Labourey, CEO of Cloudbees. “Because DevOps is all about a culture of shared goals, and processes that accelerate software delivery through smaller, incremental releases, issued more frequently.”
However, Labourey cautions that DevOps doesn’t work to its full ability if the entire company is not on board. There needs to be strong communication and internal education within an organization to successfully implement a DevOps culture. You have to educate staff at all levels in the enterprise of the cultural and structural shift. Essentially, you have to break down barriers and get teams working together that haven’t typically worked together before. In fact, you need teams that may have been at war before, to now work together.
Struggles between teams often are driven by opposing goals and measures of success. DevOps empowers teams and individuals to work together and collaborate toward common goals more effectively. It’s a synergy that fosters cooperation rather than conflict.
Labourey says any company has the potential to transform to a DevOps culture. But there are some crucial questions organizations must answer before planning a DevOps transformation:
- Can the enterprise commit to putting the time and hard work in that is required to effect internal change and behaviors?
- Does the company environment support a DevOps culture and the values it brings with it?
- Is the executive team fully supportive, and maybe have even mandated, the change to DevOps?
“In order for DevOps to truly work, there must be a commitment to enable the change. This only happens with a lot of hard work, diligence and support from the top,” Labourey says. “Any company that needs to deliver quality software—and deliver it quickly—should care about DevOps and the supporting practice of CD.”
DevOps, and the culture of teamwork it instills in organizations, delivers significant benefits:
- A decrease in time to market—innovation is delivered rapidly. Additionally, experiments can occur, with a “fail fast” mindset.
- Internally, satisfaction with the overall software delivery process attracts and retains better IT talent.
- Employees can innovate quickly and just as quickly see the results of their innovation.
- Software is of higher quality, since releases are smaller, incrementally produced and have less impact on the overall application and infrastructure.
I know that this isn’t news to many companies and individuals, and that, to some extent, I am preaching to the proverbial choir. For those just climbing onto the DevOps bandwagon, though, or those who may have lost their way and have become frustrated with their DevOps experience, I think it’s important to remind everyone what the benefits of DevOps are supposed to be if you get it right.