In today’s fast-paced digital world, the benefits of DevOps adoption are clear: maximizing the speed and agility of IT service delivery while minimizing performance issues and costs. But make no mistake, embracing DevOps engineering practices is a transformational initiative – representing a significant and fundamental change to the way IT traditionally works.
And it’s no secret that many IT organizations struggle to achieve success.
More than 80% of organizations in a Harvard Business Review survey said they use DevOps to some extent – or plan to shortly. Enterprises that get DevOps right earn a significant competitive advantage: experiencing 208x more frequent software deployments, 2,604x faster recovery from incidents, and 7x lower change failure rates.
IT leaders face mounting pressure to develop more applications faster – and it’s exposing the inefficiency of the traditional IT model that isolates development and operations into siloed teams. But Gartner predicts that 75% of DevOps initiatives will fail to meet expectations through 2022.
Here are 5 DevOps best practices for ensuring a successful journey - creating a working environment where building, testing, and deploying software can occur rapidly, frequently, and reliably.
1. Get buy-in before you start.
Sounds obvious, right? Yet too many enterprises overlook the fundamental importance of getting their people on board before implementing transformational change.
DevOps requires new tools, new processes, and a significant cultural shift – tearing down the traditional walls between developers, operations teams, and other stakeholders to create a single entity for fast service delivery.
But many people naturally resist changing the status quo. Gartner asserts that 90% of organizations that try to introduce DevOps best practices without addressing their cultural foundation will fail.
Implementing DevOps is time-consuming and complex: you can’t magically create an organization with some new tools and hires. For DevOps engineering practices to work, IT must embrace the value of uprooting the way service delivery was done in the past.
Buy-in begins with building realistic expectations across your organization - from top-level management to entry-level staff - about what DevOps is and what business needs can be solved by the agility it offers. It also means eradicating misconceptions about “big bang” results: rather, success stems from using an incremental, long-term approach that focuses on continual improvements and ensures all groups are collaborating effectively.
Setting the stage for some quick wins - and continuing to celebrate each milestone you achieve along the way - reinforces the value of your journey to DevOps.
2. Constant communication is critical for DevOps operations.
Under the old IT model, specialists only communicate with other departments as needed. Developers and quality assurance (QA) engineers wash their hands of new applications or feature codes as soon as testing is completed, while operations push them through production and maintain performance.
DevOps engineering practices shatter those functional silos, focusing everyone on the same goal with cross-functional and agile teams. Constant communication is critical to strengthening the bond between developers, operations, and key stakeholders - building a delivery pipeline that achieves the agility, transparency, productivity, and efficiency that defines DevOps culture.
With so many teams collaborating, frequent communication is also vital for keeping everyone on the same page and avoiding errors.
Daily standups and communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams form the backbone of DevOps best practices, enabling a loop of continuous feedback and response.
Open communication with top-level stakeholders is another priority. Demonstrating value by providing meaningful metrics that measure progress and benefits delivered at each stage of the DevOps journey is essential for maintaining organizational support.
3. Put the right people in place.
People are the secret to DevOps success. Hiring or training resources with the right skillsets to guide and pollinate your teams is arguably the most critical component of DevOps best practices.
No matter what tools you purchase, business transformation won’t work without those key evangelists who understand and embrace what you are trying to accomplish. From the beginning, DevOps engineering practices require specialists committed to an automation-first mindset – viewing the continuous search for opportunities to shorten the development and deployment lifecycle as fundamental to their role.
Tapping resources with expertise in DevOps and Agile practices is also essential to ensuring the right tools, techniques, and processes are used to achieve DevOps goals.
But the newness of DevOps combines with the U.S. IT labor shortage to make finding skilled resources a challenge. Nearly 60% of businesses struggle to hire DevOps talent – and 48% find retention just as challenging.
As a result, many organizations are turning to nearshore outsourcing to overcome the scarcity of DevOps talent in the U.S. For North American organizations, nearshore DevOps solutions make the most sense - neutralizing the risks of Asian offshore models with the rich talent supply, sophisticated infrastructure, and cultural compatibility that’s essential for peak performance.
The right nearshore partner will function as a seamless extension of your in-house team - augmenting existing staff with highly skilled resources who have the tools and experience to ensure DevOps best practices.
4. Measure DevOps benefits to justify the journey.
Stakeholders agree to embark on a DevOps journey because of the promised value. But too many organizations fail to define and measure meaningful metrics to demonstrate value along the journey – and therefore can’t prove the value it captures.
Unfortunately, that makes it easy for transformational change to fall apart.
Tracking metrics demonstrates tangible progress toward achieving organizational goals, whether that means increased quality, faster release cycles, improved application performance, or other business drivers.
Choosing the right metrics starts with defining clear objectives for your DevOps journey. Establishing the goalposts comes next: measuring where you stand today and determining your end goal.
DevOps metrics should measure and assess collaborative workflows and directly reveal the performance of your development pipeline. Metrics also enable DevOps teams to quickly identify and remove any bottlenecks in the process.
5. Invest in the right tools.
Tooling is a critical part of DevOps best practices – speeding the development cycle with automation and facilitating effective collaboration for cross-functional teams.
However, choosing the right DevOps tools can be daunting. No single tool is a one-stop solution to DevOps adoption - and the market is flooded with excellent tools that can fulfill specific requirements.
Taking time to assess the current state of your delivery pipeline is an essential first step to choosing the best solution. Identifying areas and processes that require maximum support will help you zero in on the right tool for the right job.
Achieving organizational buy-in for the tools you select is also important. Demonstrating specific features that make work easier, ensuring tools integrate seamlessly with each other, securing endorsements from respected team members, and anticipating and resolving hesitations can help maximize tool investments.
Ensuring staff are fully trained and become experts on the tools you select are also key to deriving the biggest return on investment.
DevOps adoption is exploding, as the ability to speed software delivery without sacrificing quality becomes mission-critical to meeting fast-changing market needs. By 2027, the global DevOps market is expected to exceed $23 billion - up from $4 billion in 2020.
But adopting DevOps isn’t a technology project. It’s a transformational methodology that requires fundamental changes to culture, mindset, tools, organizational structure, workflow, and more.
Unfortunately, managing change is never easy – and many organizations struggle to achieve peak performance.
The right nearshore outsourcing partner can help you overcome the challenges of a journey to DevOps. With proven track records across multiple clients, reputable partners can help you achieve DevOps best practices and reap the rewards of transformation.