How to Adopt a DevOps Model

image from: https://www.atlassian.com/blog/software-teams/modern-software-development-trends

2nd article (out of 4) in my #DevOps series. Read previous article, What is DevOps.

Implementing DevOps practices can significantly accelerate software releases while still assuring applications meet quality objectives. But DevOps can’t be bought, bolted on, or just declared. If you’re considering a move to a DevOps delivery model, here are six approaches for ensuring a successful DevOps adoption within an organization.

DevOps is a game-changer; it helps resolve complex business issues while providing organizations higher velocity and ability to change rapidly. Its impact on business continuity helps deliver better and faster business outcomes.

DevOps is the combination of people, processes, and tools that enable continuous delivery of value to end-users. Part of the cultural transformation is to embrace the different needs of the teams by recognizing that each team has different priorities and objectives. We should consider the perspectives and needs of other groups. The emphasis should be on people and processes less about tools.

Most organizations fail in getting DevOps right because they treat it like a framework, not a set of processes or practices. DevOps is more than implementing the right tools and technologies. The success of DevOps depends upon driving technical and cultural shifts together.

Transitioning to DevOps requires a change in culture and mindset. At its simplest, DevOps is about removing the barriers between two traditionally siloed teams, development and operations. In some organizations, there may not even be separate development and operations teams; engineers may do both. With DevOps, the two teams work together to optimize both the productivity of developers and the reliability of operations. They strive to communicate frequently, increase efficiencies, and improve the quality of services they provide to customers. They take full ownership for their services, often beyond where their stated roles or titles have traditionally been scoped by thinking about the end customer’s needs and how they can contribute to solving those needs. Quality assurance and security teams may also become tightly integrated with these teams. Organizations using a DevOps model, regardless of their organizational structure, have teams that view the entire development and infrastructure lifecycle as part of their responsibilities.

In a DevOps culture, collaborative teams and transparency of information are key components. Information should be pertinent and available to nearly anyone on the team who needs it, and teams need to have tools and processes in place to help them work cohesively around this data. With access to necessary data and a culture of open collaboration, teams can move quickly, shorten feedback loops, and focus on larger projects.

With that said, let’s dive deeper and explore all of the essential core values of DevOps:

Exposure

DevOps helps teams work collaboratively throughout the software delivery and incident lifecycles, giving teammates more visibility into the entire CI/CD pipeline. Not only will engineers have a deeper understanding of the services they’re building as they write the code, but everyone in the organization will have better historical knowledge of the way the system is built. This deep exposure allows the team to deploy new features faster and remediate incidents efficiently.

Accountability

Because everyone is responsible for the code they write in DevOps, there’s increased accountability for the reliability and ownership of systems. A deeper accountability and understanding of traditional operations responsibilities help developers build transparent systems with failure in mind.

Automation

In a DevOps culture, anything that can be automated should be automated. But it’s important to mention that automation should be focused on improving human workflows. Before automating a task, teams should consider: How can teams leverage automation to make people more successful? Automation is especially useful when it’s used in-line with human workflows and historical incident data, bringing context into one location, making the most of people operations, and optimizing future processes.

Collaboration

Open conversations need to be held crossfunctionally within any DevOps-focused organization. The more involvement you can get from additional teams, the better. Ask questions and cultivate a culture of collaboration between different disciplines and people. Deeper collaboration between development, security, and IT operations will expose vulnerabilities and pain points in your infrastructure. Armed with this information, teams can implement more resilient engineering practices and add reliability to their systems.

Integrate Everything You Can

Combining the efforts of development and operations units is a complex task that requires open communication and transparency to succeed. Forming common goals among teams will help to overcome disunity.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI / CD) are main components of the DevOps strategy. The deployment and integration of new software in business units is ongoing. Thanks to CI/CD, developers get the opportunity to combine work tasks and products in one repository.

The main advantages are software deployment is faster, issues are resolved more quickly, and errors are easier to identify. The introduction of automation software will help staff focus on the more important components of designing, testing, and maintaining good quality while spending less time on more demanding tasks.

Launch a Pilot Project That Will Be Released According to DevOps Methodology

If you want to implement the DevOps model, try step-by-step implementation. Start with a pilot project where the implementation will not jeopardize the entire business and will not affect the quality of other projects. This approach will help you immediately clarify what elements of DevOps you need most at this stage, check the readiness of teams for changes, and also evaluate the real effectiveness of the work.

Make Sure You Have an Opportunity to Get Feedback at Every Stage

Considering DevOps primarily as a cultural shift, it is important to establish feedback at each stage. This will help identify all weaknesses and areas that will require more support. The use of a balanced approach in the implementation of DevOps implies that all work processes, from design and testing to the release, will be timely monitored and completed. An easy way to get continuous feedback at every stage is to implement feedback tools like Prefix, a dynamic code analysis tool, in the development stage, or Retrace, a full lifecycle APM for the testing and production stages. You can also ask group and unit managers to provide reports on a weekly or monthly basis to help ensure that everything is going as planned.

Revise your Agile and DevOps Culture

DevOps culture consists of interacting and overcoming the traditional disunity of teams. It makes sense to make adjustments to the organizational structure. DevOps involves not only using new tools and redrawing processes, but also changing the corporate culture itself. It is necessary to encourage the development of a culture of communication.

Transparency

A centralized source of truth for all communication and incident history helps less-informed teammates to understand a situation if something comes up while they’re on-call. By building transparency into workflows, opening up visibility into cross-functional communication, and establishing a culture of open information, team members can get what they need when they need it. With a transparent activity history in one place, you can make positive organizational changes.

Continuous Improvement

Last but not least is continuous improvement. Every single person on a DevOps-minded team needs a desire to continuously improve–whether they’re improving processes, people operations, or tooling. In association with the other DevOps values, teams can constantly iterate on the way they do things, and search for better alternatives.

A successful DevOps journey starts with culture; no amount of tools, methodologies, and processes will get you there. DevOps requires strategic support, and the organization must be fully on board with the endeavor. Anything else is noise. In my experience, the major challenge facing enterprises is its culture. Culture transcends everything!

A DevOps process must consider customer experience (CX) in mind. Failure to do this, the adoption will not have a lasting effect on the culture.

In the next post, I will deal with successful DevOps practices.

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Head of Customer Success, Microsoft

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Maor David-Pur

Maor David-Pur

Head of Customer Success, Microsoft

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