DevOps Agility Shines in the Midst of a Pandemic
As a career developer and now a chief technology officer, I am experiencing firsthand how COVID-19 has forced us all into new ways of working. I’m also aware that these new ways may be with us for a while. Last month Gartner announced that 74% of companies intend to shift some percentage of their workforce to permanent work from home status.
The fears many technology leaders have is that working from home will disrupt the processes in place for coworkers to communicate and collaborate. I would argue that DevOps overcomes those challenges by design. Organizations have become increasingly confident in DevOps with research from Global Market Insights finding “DevOps Market size exceeded $4 billion in 2019, and is poised to grow at over 20% CAGR between 2020 and 2026.” Companies that hold onto practices that are less agile will find they hamper velocity and allow competitors to vault ahead in a rapidly changing digital environment.
A study by the software developer CA Technologies — now part of Broadcom — found that more agile companies achieve 60% higher revenue and profit growth than their peers. In another study of agile companies, this one from industry research firm Gartner, 74% of respondents reported better alignment between IT and the business.
DevOps and Agile go hand-in-hand toward greater organizational success.
Software Developers Feel the Need for Speed
Developers working remotely will thrive on the unimpeded workflows and synchronous collaboration DevOps makes possible, even while separated. Today, when customers are consuming more digital services than ever, the traditional development methods just don’t meet the speed required. In a recent xMatters survey of 300 consumers, 90% said they are using digital services — from grocery and takeout food delivery to videoconferencing and banking. Eighty two percent said they will continue to do so even after the pandemic is history. Customers previously accustomed to brick and mortar services now have high expectations for uptime, performance and feature sets for digital services, so leaders will have to embrace DevOps to continually improve the user experience.
One Team One Dream
Given the various specializations within organizations, embracing DevOps must often begin by bridging the unique cultures of each team, including development, quality assurance, security and customer success. One way to do that is to establish shared Service Level Indicators and Service Level Objectives with a focus on customer experience. For example, working toward five nines digital service availability, sub-second website page loads and same-day security patch deployments as common goals will aid in the formation of a cohesive unit. Additionally, the team should feel executive-level DevOps buy-in, which should manifest itself in optimal technologies and appropriate alignment of talent.
DevOps Developers Are Hot, Don’t Let Them Burn Out
Developers with experience working in a DevOps organization have always been in demand, and the rapid adoption of digital services is making these software professionals even more valuable. According to a recent LinkedIn report, DevOps is the single most recruited position on the platform today. Attracting and retaining these skilled workers can be extremely challenging.
One way to increase retention is to foster a culture that respects work-life balance. When surveying consumers about the impact COVID-19 had on the adoption of digital services, xMatters simultaneously asked 300 IT professionals about the impact this mass-scale adoption was having on them. Unfortunately, 88% said their work-life balance had deteriorated. Most DevOps teams were already accustomed to being on-call 24/7; so if they’re feeling COVID-19 has pushed them over a line, burnout is a real risk. It’s essential to recognize this and act on it. Providing DevOps teams with the right tools to automate CI/CD in a secure way, even while working remotely, goes a long way.
Time for DevOps to Shine
The changes driven by the pandemic will have long-lasting effects on the frequency with which we use digital services to live and work. Customer experience will remain paramount and those metrics will be increasingly visible at the executive level. We will also see a greater focus on lean practices and cost reduction. I can think of no approach that does more to meet consumer expectations, address fiscal challenges and increase employee satisfaction than DevOps does.