Untapping the Potential of DevOps, Part 2: Common Mistakes


Many companies are turning to software to differentiate themselves and drive success. But with an increased focus on software comes ever-increasing customer expectations on performance and updates. One of the best structures that IT organizations turn to is DevOpsā€”a strategy that is designed to deliver value quickly and strategically.

Being successful in DevOps takes careful planning and execution. Is the organization structured to execute on DevOps principles? Is the company aligned in culture and goals? But just as there are commonalities for success, there also are common threads that can lead to failure. When it comes to DevOps, it indeed holds true that failure is an opportunity to learn.

With that in mind, here are three of the most common mistakes organizations encounter when diving into DevOps.

Misunderstanding Goals and Definitions
Many organizations are still grasping at a firm definition of DevOps and what it means for them. Simply labeling existing IT as DevOps isnā€™t going to make a difference. Furthermore, having clearly defined goals is key for just about any meaningful business endeavor. How can you know that you have succeeded if you donā€™t have a clear picture of what success looks like?

Before jumping onto the DevOps train, first understand what it means for your organization and decide on concrete, measurable goals to make sure the transformation is adding value. One of the key benefits of DevOps is it lends itself extremely well to data and measurement. After all, DevOps is about delivering value with velocity. How fast can you get your solutions into the hands of your customers? How close to perfect can you get your releases through automation? This measurability is what makes DevOps so satisfyingā€”embrace it. It is a great feeling to watch the performance of a new streamlined development pipeline improve.

Fear of Change
Being fearful of rapid changes and new technologies is a killer of innovation and success. An overly cautious approach with too much manual intervention will stifle the progress of a DevOps transformation. Understand there will be change and the change may be significant for your organization, particularly depending on the current structure and processes. One of the biggest changes may be culturallyā€”DevOps certainly requires different tools and structures, but also requires a change in understanding about how your organization fundamentally views and delivers software. Use DevOps as a catalyst for changeā€”the speed may be daunting but can reap major long-term benefits.

Overestimating DevOps
DevOps alone canā€™t re-calibrate applications or change corporate cultureā€”real leadership is required to push through organizational inertia and bring teams together. This goes back to the cultural change mentioned above. Simply putting DevOps into place and then sitting back and waiting for results will not work. Teams will need DevOps champions, not just at the beginning, but always. DevOps is a constantly growing and changing strategy, built to adapt to customer demands. It holds great power to help teams perform at new levels, but people are always the most important. Empower teams to grow with this new strategy and enjoy the benefits of a sound DevOps strategy.

Adopting DevOps is necessary to stay competitive in any market. However, while uniting people, tools and processes sound simple enough it can be a much more challenging feat than meets the eye. A DevOps transformation does not happen overnight and bumps in the road are to be expected. However, keeping in mind some of these common challenges can help keep the journey on the right track.

Bottom line: Take it one day at a time and make sure to optimize a transformation for organizational goals and long-term strategy.

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