I spend my days discussing DevOps and digital transformations with companies of all sizes, from startups to some of the world’s largest enterprises. I’ve found that many teams are still at a very early stage in modernizing their technology, culture and practices. However, I’m surprised at the number of the organizations that don’t believe in change because they “have been doing just fine up until now.”
This is a recipe for failure in the long term. Their competitors will likely be working in loosely coupled teams with shared responsibilities and increased collaboration. They will have adopted continuous integration, continuous deployments/delivery and automation, to name a few processes. In time, these competitors will begin to consume the laggards’ market share. To put it into perspective, you might still be talking about your next deployment coming up in six weeks time, while they are talking about deploying into production 12 times today alone.
With their increased agility, stability and reliability, these more successful teams will be faster. They will not be afraid of failure and will have built fault-tolerant systems that can rapidly and automatically repair. These self-healing, well-tested systems and processes will free time for developers and other team members to focus on developing newer and better applications in response to customer feedback—all while the your team might continue “doing fine.”
We aren’t just talking about buzzwords here; the data shows that those who are playing catchup are also potentially causing themselves more harm than good. Puppet’s “2017 State of DevOps Report” shows that the gap between higher- and lower-performing teams has narrowed as throughput has increased, meaning lower-performing teams are working faster, shipping more code to production and responding to changes quicker than they were the previous year. This is great in principle, but in 2017, change failure rate had also increased, showing that low performers were actually more likely to fail when making changes than they were in 2016. The data shows that low performers had a 3x change failure rate in 2016, which increased to 5x in the 2017 Puppet study. From a business standpoint, this means that those higher-performing teams are able to deliver more value to their customers by responding faster and more reliably to feedback and market demands.
Companies should certainly be paying attention to what their competitors are doing, no matter what area or sector in which they operate. However, they also must not lose sight of the importance of quality, security or feedback during this journey. If you know you are at a much earlier stage in your transformation, focus on getting it right. There will always be setbacks and challenges, but as the old saying goes: This is a marathon, not a sprint.
DevOps methodologies, when applied effectively, will make your organization more successful.