What's the deal with DevOps?

January 16, 2017

Is Devops the silver bullet or just another acronym?  In this article, we take a look at the evidence to see if DevOps really works, and what it will mean for your organisation.

The Statistics

Firstly, let’s look at some recent DevOps stats (from Puppet Labs 2016 State of DevOps report). High performing organisations using DevOps will see:

  • 200 x more frequent deployments
  • 24 x faster recovery from failure
  • 3 x lower change failure rate
  • 2,555 shorter lead time

A recent article from ZDNet suggested that organisations don’t yet see DevOps as a strategic project, but more an improvement project. In the same week another report by Redgate software “State of Database Devops” shows almost half of organisations polled already had some kind of DevOps approach in place. Of those that didn’t, 33% were planning on adopting a DevOps approach within the next 2 years. It will be no surprise that lack of skills was the main reason behind many organisations lack of commitment to DevOps.

So is DevOps worth your time and effort to get your staff working using its 3 principles?

Flow- Feedback- Continuous Experimentation and Learning

The Customer experience

Business demands are changing and traditional eighteen-month long waterfall projects won’t cut it anymore. Adopting DevOps practices like continuous delivery can help you be more responsive to business needs and deliver value more quickly. The business needs to trust that IT can deliver its strategic vision. Working together and building on success will allow IT and the business to improve their capabilities.

DevOps starts with the business goals in mind.

Boost morale, and in turn productivity

Staff in a DevOps environment spend less time firefighting, and less time dealing with emails and planning meetings. They have more time to be productive and a better work life balance.
They have more time to be proactive and can spend time improving their work processes and working environment. If you want to retain the best people and allow your staff to develop their skills, shouldn’t you be looking at DevOps?

Build an Agile workforce with more flexibility

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin.

Your business may have traditionally been firmly anchored in one or two ITSM disciplines but that’s not enough anymore. Successful organisations are drawing on practices from many different frameworks, standards and methodologies to build an IT service capability that is truly aligned to their customer’s needs. The end user is the number 1 focus and that must be kept in sight at all times.

Consider giving your staff time to research new ways of working and encourage them to adopt and adapt what they think will work. Creating a culture of improvement is good for your business and good for morale.

Don’t throw out what you’ve got

Adopting DevOps doesn’t mean throwing out everything you currently have – this approach is definitely NOT recommended! DevOps draws on best practices from Agile, Scrum, Lean, IT service management and more. Adopting DevOps principles can help you adapt your existing processes to optimise how you are working. Adopting the Three Ways of DevOps can help to give your organisation renewed focus and drive towards your business goals in what is an ever more competitive world.

DevOps is constantly evolving, meaning you will too

DevOps isn’t shelfware or documentation that’s stuck in a book. It’s ongoing, evolving best practice that’s coming from the community. Gene Kim goes as far to say “Currently, DevOps is more like a philosophical movement, not yet a precise collection of practices, descriptive or prescriptive
Getting involved with DevOps will allow you to constantly improve how you work, and engage with and learn from other committed and enthusiastic professionals. There are many good sources of information for you and your staff to draw on like DevOps.com and the DevOps Institute.

DevOps really can make a business difference.

DevOps isn’t just the coolest new kid on the block. Organisations from insurance to academia are adopting DevOps and seeing real results. In fact the biggest growth areas for large organisations using DevOps to improve their workflow are Healthcare and the Civil service. It makes perfect sense when these are the kind of mammoth IT users who need fast digital transformation to satisfy a multitude of stakeholders.

Adopt DevOps at your own pace

DevOps is evolution, not revolution. Don’t think you have to make a huge change all at once, or disturb existing parts of IT that are functioning well. Adopting DevOps isn’t about ‘yes or no’, it’s about ‘how much’? Start small, prove the concept and use what works. Get feedback and drive further improvements without causing chaos in your organisation. Baby steps are better than no steps!

There’s no real right or wrong

DevOps won’t overwhelm you with millions of processes, no one will audit you to tell you you’re doing DevOps wrong, and DevOps will constantly refine and develop in your organisation.
DevOps is about common sense, business objectives and doing only what’s required to deliver value. The idea is to fail fast, recover and move on quickly learning from the process. You can only become a master at a process with repetition.

It’s about more than just technology

Many people’s perception is that DevOps is all about technology. Automation is a big part of DevOps, but really it’s all about culture. Buying a tool won’t make you DevOps champions. Incremental organisational changes and a focus on culture will get you started on the right road to change.

Inspired to start the DevOps movement in your business? Get in touch to talk through what you need and we would be happy to help you start the first part of the journey.

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