Every year since mid-decade, it seems, one publication or another has declared it to be “the year of DevOps.” Allow me to make the case that it really will happen in 2020.
The reason? IT leaders are finally empowering their engineers with full-service ownership.
In a world in which speed, quality and precision will continue to determine the difference between continued success and unmerciful failure–particularly with regard to delivering best-in-class, end-to-end experiences for all stakeholders–full-service ownership is a matter of reality and necessity. Not to mention common sense.
Developing and delivering products and services that maintain pace and meet the needs of businesses is dependent on achieving faster release cycles without sacrificing quality. But running reliable systems at ever-increasing speeds presents huge challenges that software teams can meet by changing their service ownership policies. The good news is DevOps practices have been gaining considerable traction because they help teams deliver with increased velocity coupled with reduced risk. This enablement, similar to any change introduced, takes time and practice to make work for your needs.
Code It, Ship It, Own It
Full-service ownership grants engineers greater responsibility for the code they write and the services they develop during production. The importance of owning and operating your own code and taking responsibility for all deliverables should not be underestimated, because it is the engineers, after all, who should be–and have earned the right to be–accountable. They are the ones designing architectures and systems, coding software and writing runbooks. They are the ones on whose shoulders the overall quality of service sits. They are the ones who are on call when issues arise (invariably, as Murphy’s Law implies, in the middle of the night).
If they are the ones who code it, then they are the ones who should ship it and own it. The days of engineers “throwing code over the wall” to operations or depending on site reliability engineering (SRE) teams to guarantee the performance of services in the wild are no longer relevant, much less workable.
That’s particularly important going forward, considering the DevOps market is predicted to grow 18% to nearly $13 billion by 2025. As DevOps tools and solutions become more ingrained in IT operations, the most logical and proactive way to manage this growth, and the inevitable chaos it will bring, is to empower IT with full-service ownership.
The Forces Behind Full-Service Ownership
This is happening for three reasons:
It’s a simple truth; consumers implicitly expect the services they use to work seamlessly and with minimal latency. Considering that consumers will simply move to another site when a page is slow to load or returns a 404 error, the payoff in terms of increasing business’ competitive advantage is immense.
Full-service ownership promotes higher-quality work because it gives engineers clear visibility into how the code and services they’ve created are performing and impacting their customers’ daily activities.
It’s not rocket science to ask the scientist who built the rocket to fix it when it breaks. Likewise, businesses can reduce the amount of downtime and customer impact when a serious incident occurs by immediately bringing in the engineers who wrote the code or created the service.
Full-service ownership offers another important advantage: overall institutional knowledge among IT teams. Individual engineers benefit greatly from code reviews, on-call hand-offs, daily standups, casual information sharing and other exercises that build redundancy in knowledge and expertise.
A common misconception in the engineering world is that “on-call” is synonymous with “always-on.” That in itself is counter-productive because it can lead directly to alert fatigue. In an ideal world, teams will build time in their development work to go “off-call,” a practice that alleviates alert fatigue and that full-service ownership encourages.
It also fits perfectly with an integral element of the culture of engineers: a commitment to continually refine and improve their code, product, services and alerting. The most effective process goes beyond just fixing problems, it also includes getting ahead of them, by automating the work needed to prevent them, freeing engineers up to focus on the work that matters most.
Five Benefits of Full-Service Ownership
- The quality of the code will increase.
- Engineers will know when they are off-call, and alerts will be covered by another developer with equal expertise.
- Team knowledge and skills will increase through a deeper understanding of the codebase.
- Services will become more reliable.
- Operations will become more agile.
When engineers are empowered to code it, ship it and own it, businesses put themselves in a better position to enhance the customer experience and reduce the impact of disruptions, which enables them to focus more on innovation. By defining and refining roles and responsibilities, full-service ownership also reduces the chaos associated with incidents, eliminates silos and unnecessary layers and, ultimately, promotes a culture of empowerment and accountability.
Want to learn more about what to expect in 2020? Join us Jan. 23 for our Predict 2020 Virtual Summit featuring discussions from some of the industry’s best and brightest offering up their visions for the future. Sign up today for this free daylong virtual event.