Seven Essentials for DevOps Success

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Summary:

The success of DevOps depends on the team’s ability to have the right mix of human judgment, culture, process, tools, and automation. Here are seven essentials to help you be cautious and prepare for your DevOps journey.

High performing IT teams continuously look to adopt and implement industry best practices and tools. This enables them to overcome challenges and deliver reliable business outcomes consistently and continuously. A DevOps approach enables reliable and faster delivery of software solutions and services to the market. The success of DevOps depends on the team’s ability to have the right mix of human judgment, culture, process, tools, and automation.

Is DevOps the Right Strategy for You? 

DevOps is a robust framework that helps businesses derive business value from their digital effort. It nurtures a productive work environment with improved collaboration and value creation across all teams, including development, testing, and operations. 

DevOps-savvy organizations are capable of deploying software solutions faster into production with shorter lead times and much lower failure rates. They exhibit higher responsiveness levels, are resilient to any production issues, and restore failed services faster.

However, you should not jump in and try your hands at DevOps just because every other IT Manager is talking about their DevOps success stories. By preparing for your DevOps journey, you will avoid the pitfalls that you are bound to encounter.

Here are seven essentials to help you be cautious and prepare for your DevOps journey.

1. DevOps Demands Change in the Work Culture—Actively Manage the Change.

DevOps' most critical aspect is the seamless integration of the different IT teams to ensure smooth execution. It leads to a Continuous Integration-Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline for software delivery. You need to switch from the traditional silo approach and adapt to a collaborative and transparent model across development, testing, and operations. Change is painful and faces resistance. It is difficult for people to change the way they work immediately. You have a significant role in addressing such challenges in order to bring about the cultural shift. Be patient, be persistent, and establish the required change management process through constant communication.

2. DevOps Is for Quality Customer Experiences—It Is Not a Fix for Capability Limitations. 

DevOps is not a quick-fix solution for all the issues troubling your current software deliveries. Mismatches between top management expectation and what is practically possible needs to be handled separately. The return on investment from DevOps will be realized over time. IT leaders should manage stakeholder expectations about what it takes for DevOps implementation in their organization. 

Obtain the buy-in and agreement on the DevOps strategy, approach, and plan from your top management. Define achievable and measurable KPIs for DevOps, and make every stakeholder aware of them.   

3. Be Mindful of Going Off-Track in the Run for Continuous Deployment.  

You can realize DevOps' continuous deployment practice only when you can predict, track, and measure each code deployment’s end-customer benefits in production. Focus on the priority, plans, development, testing, and release of the features relevant for business in each deployment. 

Developers, testers, and operations should collectively contribute to quality engineering practices at every stage of DevOps. This ensures that continuous deployments are robust and the code base is stable.

4. Redefine Your QA Processes and Remodel Your Testing Team.

You need to redefine your testing life cycle process to align with DevOps practices and culture. Your testing team needs to be remodeled and retrained into a quality assurance regimen to tweak and integrate the QA processes into every phase of DevOps. Efforts have to be directed to ensure that bugs are prevented or caught in initial phases and help render every release of code into production stable, robust, and fit for the business.

DevOps testing teams need to switch from being reactive and looking only for bugs to a proactive, customer-centric, and multi-skilled team capable of complementing the development and operations teams to derive the desired value from every CI/CD cycle. 

5. Move Security Practices Earlier into Your SDLC.

Security is usually considered toward the final stages of the IT value stream. This is mostly because security expertise does not exist within the normal development and testing teams. Confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information security has to be instilled from the initial stages of your SDLC so that the code in production is secured against penetration, vulnerabilities, and threats. 

Adopt and implement practices and tools to make your system robust and self-healing. Integration of DevSecOps into DevOps cycles would help you blend security-specific mindset, culture, processes, tools, and techniques throughout your software development life cycle.

6. Employ Tools and Automation Only Where Needed.

DevOps is not about automating anything and everything in your software development life cycle. Automation and use of tools with the purpose of agility, productivity, and quality are central to DevOps. However, in a rush for automation, one should not miss the importance and essence of human judgment. The team derives valuable insights and collective intelligence through continuous and seamless collaborative efforts, from the business analysis stage until production monitoring, and cannot be replaced by any tool or automation.

Managers, developers, testers, security experts, operation, and support teams have to work together and decide on the tools to be used and automation areas. Automate those areas involving repetitive tasks, such as code walkthroughs, unit testing, integration testing, build verification, regression testing, environment builds, and code deployments.

7. DevOps Is Still Maturing, and a Standard Way of Implementation Does Not Exist.

DevOps is still evolving, and there is no single standard approach or strategy to follow in its implementation. Different teams in the same organization might define, interpret, and ideate about DevOps implementations differently. This potentially could lead to confusion in your organization about every effort toward DevOps transformation. You need to draw out a standard approach and strategy for your business needs. It would be best if you made sure that all relevant voices are heard and ideas distilled to establish a consistent plan and approach for your organization. Explore, experiment, and execute pilot projects before rolling out DevOps practices across the entire organization.

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