A recent HBR survey shows there is work to be done to advance DevOps in organizations
A survey of 654 subscribers to the Harvard Business Review found that while 86 percent of respondents said it is important for their organizations to be able to build and deploy software quickly, only 10 percent said they are successful at it.
Conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services on behalf of Google, the survey found nearly half (48 percent) of respondents said their organization always relies on DevOps methodologies when deploying software, while another 21 percent rely on DevOps selectively. An additional 8 percent said their organization plans to adopt DevOps practices.
Among those respondents employing DevOps practices, the top benefits cited were increased speed to market (70 percent), productivity (67 percent), customer relevance (67 percent), innovation (66 percent) and product/service quality (64 percent). Despite those benefits, however, most organizations still have a significant amount of work to do in terms of implementing best DevOps practices—the three biggest hurdles organizations face are organizational silos (50 percent), legacy technologies (49 percent) and resistance to change (46 percent).
Melody Meckfessel, vice president of engineering for Google Cloud Platform (GCP), said these issues are precisely why Google is sharing how it operates in the form of site reliability engineering (SRE) principles, which are a prescriptive set of guidelines for implementing best DevOps practices. Not every organization needs to implement those principles to the same level, but just about every organization can benefit from adopting a set of well-defined engineering principles, said Meckfessel.
The challenge many organizations face is the fact that most of the IT staff are not engineers by trade. Most IT staffs are made up of administrators who tend to have limited programming skills. But Meckfessel said even IT organizations that don’t necessarily have a lot of engineering expertise still can benefit from automating operations based on the SRE principles.
Many of those organizations will need to slow down the rate at which they are building applications today to be able to speed up tomorrow. It takes time for organizations to master the cultural change required to implement DevOps practices. But once they begin to master DevOps, the benefits to the organization compound quickly. Meckfessel said two of the most important attributes of DevOps is adopting an immersive approach to training and establishing a no-blame culture within the IT organization when it comes time to conduct post-mortems. That latter goal is especially difficult to achieve sometimes, because most interactions between developers and IT operations teams historically have been less than positive.
Meckfessel also noted it’s critical now for organizations to incorporate cybersecurity into its DevOps processes as well, which requires not only additional training for developers but also closer alignment with cybersecurity teams.
It’s now only a matter of time before the complexity associated with emerging technologies such as microservices based on containers force many organizations to dive deeper in DevOps. The real challenge now is charting a path of least resistance that also generates the maximum level of benefit for all concerned.