The rapid advancements in technology have prompted businesses to focus more on their IT Departments for a better understanding of new systems and harnessing their full power. Even if we put technology aside for a minute, customer needs and expectations have also increased, and so the demand for DevOps is at an all time high.
Companies now have to operate at higher speeds, and with greater agility. This has resulted in DevOps growing quickly and it is now the key to many organisations in their pursuit of competitive advantage. DevOps delivers compelling business advantages, such as increased team flexibility and agility, improved operational support and faster fixes, and much more. But, businesses are struggling to benefit from DevOps initiatives due to uncertainty about how to approach them.
First Of All - What Is DevOps?
DevOps (Development + Operations) is the combination of practices and tools designed to increase an organisation’s ability to deliver applications and services faster than traditional software development processes. This speed enables organisations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market.
In simple terms, DevOps is about removing the barriers between traditionally siloed teams, development and operations. Under a DevOps model, development and operations teams work together across the entire software application lifecycle, from development and test through deployment to operations and support.
How Does DevOps Work In The Enterprise?
What is the best approach organisations can take to DevOps? The first thing you need to do is identify why you want to adopt DevOps, so you can keep your eyes on the prize. You have to know why you’re trying to do it. What is it you want? Do you want repeatable quality? Do you want cheaper or faster deliveries? Do you recognise a need to modify the architecture?
So, how DevOps works depends on the journey. There is no simple answer.
A company’s transition into fully utilising DevOps is a journey that involves many elements, including organisational structure, culture, processes, technologies, and even staff habits. For effective DevOps implementation, there must be collaboration between the operations and development teams.
If a business decides to implement DevOps within its teams, then these questions must be addressed: Is your architecture able to support it? Is a leadership roadmap in place that creates the environment necessary to start delivering fast, high quality, automated deliveries?
What Are The Benefits Of DevOps?
Speed: DevOps practices let you move at the velocity you need to innovate faster, adapt to changing markets better, and become more efficient at driving business results.
Rapid delivery: When you increase the pace of releases, you can improve your product faster and build competitive advantage.
Reliability: DevOps practices like continuous integration and continuous delivery can ensure the quality of application updates and infrastructure changes so you can reliably deliver at a more rapid pace while maintaining an optimum experience for end users.
Improved collaboration: Under a DevOps model, developers and operations teams collaborate closely, share responsibilities, and combine their workflows. This reduces inefficiencies and saves time.
Security: You can adopt a DevOps model without sacrificing security by using automated, integrated security testing tools.
Here starteth the 10 commandments…
No 1. Succeed With Agile First
Especially when it comes to DevOps, you need to learn to walk before you can run. DevOps builds upon Agile Software Engineering and Project Management, so we strongly recommend that you have some experience of Agile before moving to DevOps.
Even though true Agile fashion is adapt and learn what works best in your environment as you go - if you haven't had experience with Agile, then your jump to DevOps is going to be way more of a challenge.
No 2. Define DevOps For Your Organisation
DevOps can be defined as a business-driven approach to deliver solutions using agile methods, collaboration and automation. However, it’s important to define the initiative in terms that your organisation will understand.
Picking a label for your initiative to provide a “banner” for people to identify with and support will help to get them on board. The definition should be short, focused and supportive of the business justification.
No 3. Create A Competent Team
People are the main ingredient in a successful DevOps initiative. When selecting members of the initial team, emphasise behaviour over skills. You need team members who have the patience to troubleshoot and debug so that they can dig deeper to finding the root causes of problems.
These team members should be experts or trained well in any latest DevOps tools that are available in the market and should always be ready to learn whenever they find a new one. It's also super important that they have the ability to think out of the box when configuring complex scenarios.
This team will be responsible for all aspects of software delivery and above all, should possess the mentality to serve the company and its clients honestly and unconditionally.
No 4. Don't Go Too BIG!
Before configuring any large DevOps scenario, it is always safe and sound to begin with small prototypes. A small configuration could be made and tested to see what the outcome is.
Companies often get carried away when working on a large DevOps project, as they believe they can add a few more changes without affecting the scope, not caring for the consequences of deployment or testing.
Picking software changes that are smaller in scope but more frequent gives firms sufficient time to test every software change and tell people that even though you can’t add it right now, you plan on adding it in the following release.
No 5. Use Customer Feedback To Drive Your Teams
Can DevOps truly bring IT organisations closer to their users? Yes, it can and this means that you can't be disconnected from the customer anymore. The customer should be involved in every step.
Organisations should take the utmost care not to change customer requirements and proper care should be taken to incorporate those modifications with minimum changes in the code.
This feedback mechanism will boost the confidence of the customer and will enable the organisation to deliver a better-quality product.
No 6. NEVER Outsource DevOps Implementation
Numerous companies are of the opinion that hiring skilled external consultants will make DevOps implementation easier. But the DevOps journey affects the entire organisation and cannot be handled externally.
The bulk of the work needs to be completed by in-house development teams. However, you can approach an external entity for advocating changes, speeding the implementation process, and guiding the path.
No 7. Remove The Blockers
There is no easy way to success. When moving to DevOps, you need to identify the bottlenecks that could limit the end-to-end lifecycle. This means that you need to identify if there are:
✔️ Unnecessary Process Steps
✔️ Process Delays
✔️ Non-Essential Materials
✔️ Non-Value Adding Roles
Below are also some of the hurdles that you will most likely have to cross before you can call yourself a DevOps organisation. As always, the first steps are the most difficult:
You can switch tools, you can automate processes, but until and unless the mindset of your organisation makes the switch, nothing will work. Right from the Developer to the CEO, to the customer, the work culture must take the big leap. Every single member shares the responsibility of driving the team to the goal. DevOps is not – “I did my job” – but it should be a collective and continuous achievement.
Choice Of Tools
DevOps has been popularly around for quite a while now. As a result, there are many tools to pick from. Making the right choice can become tricky at times.
Dev VS Ops Mentality
Even though DevOps brings developers and operations team together, the initial days of transition will certainly see the history of friction repeat. It lies upon the leaders to make sure that the team members understand their roles in the team and the need of working together.
Learning New Skills
With more and more technologies aligning with DevOps methodology, it becomes important for DevOps teams to keep up with the newer trends. It can obviously be challenging for those who worked with the same set of tools for their entire careers.
The DevOps and Agile best practices allow you to respond to changing market dynamics with speed and confidence and get to market faster with high-quality customer-facing digital solutions to stay competitive and offer a better customer experience.
If you remove as many of blockers as you can, it will result n teams working more closely together, with more information being exchanged. Build trust by ensuring there is a common understanding of why DevOps reduces workload and unplanned work (aka stress).
No 8. Develop The Toolchain
A DevOps implementation includes an integrated toolchain that improves the flow of work and, ultimately, value. Linking all of the automation touch points and information flows speeds the movement of releases through the toolchain while managing risk, collecting data, while reducing human error, rework and outages.
This will allow the tools used at each stage to be aligned and will provide a view on where automation, integration and tool hand-offs need to be achieved within and between stages.
No 9. Measure What Matters
Many teams struggle to identify the key performance indicators that will demonstrate to management why DevOps matters and how it affects business results. Not having the right metrics is just one of the many ways that DevOps initiatives fail.
Here are a few metrics that might work for you:
Availability And Uptime
In the book Accelerate, by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim, one of the four key software delivery metrics is "time to restore service." Uptime is essentially a way to aggregate this metric over time.
You could calculate availability by taking the total of all outages reported for each service, subtracting that from the total time, and then dividing by the total time.
It might be best to review the uptime numbers for each of your production services quarterly. This motivates teams to:
✔️ Make sure their production monitors are accurately measuring the true end user experience
✔️ Focus on improving the availability of services that aren't meeting their goals
Work In Progress
With the Work In Progress metric, your team could simply count the number of open issues of each type (story, defect, task). When the number gets too high, it's time to stop taking on new work and focus on what has already been started. That can improve overall velocity.
Teams that deploy more than once per week can fix outages in production faster because they have the automation in place to deploy changes quickly and easily. They're also delivering value to customers more frequently.
Finally, they're more likely to fix newly reported critical security vulnerabilities within a few days because they don't have to wait for the next scheduled deployment window or implement an "emergency change" procedure.
No 10. Don't Undermine The Important Of Testing
You must test each code repeatedly before rolling it out for production. Testing must be conducted across various environments, browsers, and hardware configurations. Why? Because what works successfully on, say, Android may fail miserably on a Linux box. So test everything across the hardware used by your customer base and across all major operating systems. Also, it’s a good idea to run beta tests whenever possible of upcoming OS and run the software on it.
It's All About Trust, Respect & Collaboration
Implementing DevOps enables a company to fulfil the demands of different markets with quality, speed, and efficiency. Proper implementation is possible only if the different departments learn to respect and trust one another and collaborate to achieve their common targets.
Become Certified In DevOps
Everyone has a part to play in DevOps, it's not just about the following roles:
✔️ DevOps Evangelist
✔️ Automation Architect
✔️ Cloud Infrastructure Engineer
✔️ Software Developer
✔️ Software Tester
✔️ Security Engineer
✔️ Database Administrators
✔️ Product Owners
We'll teach you the fundamental DevOps values, practices and techniques is essential learning, as you move towards improved workflows and faster deployments.
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We hope you found our "10 Commandments Of DevOps" article helpful. Have we missed anything? Comment below and let us know.