How to Improve DevOps Visibility
DevOps, by design, works quickly and accomplishes deadline-driven projects rapidly. With a high amount of project turnover, visibility into key operational data is easy to mismanage and can lead to simple mistakes, lack of optimization and organizational misalignment. To examine the effect of DevOps visibility, SmartDraw commissioned the “2019 DevOps Visibility Report.” The results were decisive: Each company surveyed is seeking ways to better DevOps visibility, and 84% of respondents list it as somewhat to extremely important to their organization. But achieving DevOps visibility is not always simple.
Roadblocks to Achieving DevOps Visibility
Respondents identified that visibility reports take skilled workers away from their other priorities. In a small, fast-moving lean team, removing a skilled worker from a key deadline-driven task can cause performance and timeliness to suffer.
Further, the reports often are visually complex and not useful. If the team member creating the visualization is unable to design it in a simple fashion, the report is often wasted effort as it provides no actionable insights.
Finally, and potentially the most harmful, the reports are static and do not accurately represent the current state of information. DevOps teams are meant to be agile, and poor report updating practices can lead to stale data. When that stale data is used to make decisions, organizations lose productivity and quality.
So, what should DevOps managers do to improve this process?
Key DevOps Visualization Recommendations
The “2019 DevOps Visibility Report” uncovered four insights to improve operational visibility and efficiency with expanded real-time DevOps data visualization:
- Avoid building static reports in spreadsheets: Spreadsheets, while effective at data analysis, are not the correct medium for visibility reports. The static data quickly become out of date and useless. In today’s modern business landscape of rapid change and competition, any manual work becomes a risk to an organization’s decision-making ability.
- Present common DevOps information in an easily comprehensible manner: Respondents reported challenges in reporting data in a way that a variety of audiences could comprehend. These reports are designed to be consumed by multiple levels of the organization, with varying degrees of technical knowledge. The most successful respondents focused on visualizing data in an easy-to-understand way.
- Adopt low or no-code solution for visualizing unique relational data: By utilizing a solution that is fully or mostly automated, organizations allow their skilled team members to prioritize deadline-driven work. Further, this automation allows for improving real-time information and lessens the likelihood of stakeholders making decisions based on old, outdated data.
- Create self-service reports that enable non-engineers to visualize DevOps data without submitting change requests to engineering: It’s crucial to be able to remove DevOps team members from the update process. Key stakeholders should have the ability to generate a report easily and without input from DevOps. Additionally, this report should be based on existing source data, and should allow for anyone to drill further in to see the raw numbers that the visualization is drawn from.
A good DevOps process improves quality, lowers cost and saves time. Yet, poor visibility can limit DevOps success and lead to misalignment. Organizations should adopt an automated real-time DevOps visibility solution to allow team members to focus on the crucial pieces of their role, provide relevant information to managers and create digestible visualizations.