Bringing Development and Operations Together for Successful DevOps

Given the rising popularity of DevOps—according to RightScale's State of the Cloud report, DevOps adoption rose from 74 to 78 percent in 2017—it’s obvious that businesses see the value of developers (dev) and operations (ops) teams collaborating closely. But understanding the concept (and giving it a catchy name) is one thing, and successfully adopting an enterprise-wide culture of DevOps is another. Many businesses either fail to implement DevOps altogether or do so in a way that is less effective than it could be.

A total DevOps transition faces many obstacles, including existing mindsets, inadequate tools, and poor information about how to make the move to DevOps. But a successful culture of development and operations working together is key to maintaining an edge over your competition.

The Problem

Traditionally, development and operations are working towards different—and often contradictory—goals. Developers want creative freedom and the ability to innovate. They are generally under pressure to put out new code quickly to keep up with the fast pace of modern business. Operations wants to run that code in a way that is safe, accurate, and under control. Avoiding bugs and downtime can be difficult when deployments are happening quickly.

Both teams are right, and both teams are wrong.

There’s no getting away from the fact that businesses across almost all industries have to move fast these days. Your top competition has probably achieved a rapid development cycle and response time, and your customers expect the same from you. At the same time, it’s essential to the success of your company that critical systems keep running smoothly and product quality doesn’t suffer.

In other words, in a DevOps culture, development and operations need to stop thinking of themselves as opposing teams and recognize that that the success of the business requires a fusion of several goals: innovation, speed, quality, and control.

Another mistake that companies—especially small ones—sometimes make, is not separating the functions of development and operations. While communication and collaboration between the disciplines is key, simply leaving developers to manage the entire cycle and the production environment means you aren’t maximizing the effectiveness of development or operations.

The Solution

DevOps encompasses people, processes, and technology. No matter what tools you have, DevOps will only be successful in the right cultural environment. Here are some tips for business leaders implementing DevOps in their organizations:

  • Understand the perspective of each team. Take the time to listen to both developers and operations specialists about their current goals and frustrations.
  • Start small. An enterprise-wide transition to DevOps takes time. When small changes are successful, and the results are communicated to the teams, there will be less resistance to a large-scale transformation.
  • Experiment and innovate. Your transition to agile DevOps should never be considered “complete.” Continue to learn and improve your processes.
  • Create joint KPIs for development and operations. These goals could be things like application performance or user feedback.

Building your DevOps strategy on the right technology infrastructure is also essential. Tools key to DevOps success include:

  • Automation. The 2017 State of DevOps report found that high performers in DevOps automate significantly more of their configuration management, testing, deployments and change approval processes than other teams.
  • Cloud technology. The cloud increases agility and provides greater opportunities for collaboration.
  • Application integrations. DevOps is about eliminating siloes. This can only be done if all your critical software can work together.

The Benefits

DevOps helps your organization achieve faster delivery times, better ROI, quicker detection of errors, and continuous improvement. While implementing (and optimizing) your DevOps strategy can be a challenge, it allows businesses to create more value in a shorter time.

HelpSystems recently joined with industry analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) to discuss the state of DevOps, common pitfalls to avoid in your DevOps transformation, and essential DevOps tools.