Untapping the Potential of DevOps, Part 3: Keys to Success
Over the course of this series, we’ve talked about some of the common mistakes we have seen organizations make as they either launch or continue their journey into the world of DevOps. But just as it is important to understand the pitfalls that may happen during a DevOps transformation, it is perhaps even more important to know what the key indicators are that drive success. With that in mind, here are a few tried-and-true tactics for making the most out of your DevOps initiatives.
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Start With Automation
One of the most powerful areas of impact for DevOps is in driving automation. It accomplishes several things: it increases the velocity of the development pipeline, it can reduce the number of errors or potential errors in code and it often frees up time for developers, allowing them to focus more on creating value and less on repeatable and mundane tasks. By ensuring that DevOps automation goals, including CI/CD, test automation, monitoring, Infrastructure as Code and GitOps are included at the outset of projects, you can better set up your organization for successful software development and delivery—both in the short term and for the long haul.
When it’s all boiled down, DevOps is like any other advanced business tactic as it relies on strong communication to deliver the most success. As the name implies, DevOps engineers must bridge the worlds of development and operations, so to be truly effective they need to possess fluency in both worlds. Can you have success if you have engineers who are only strong on one side of the equation? Technically, yes. But you will not maximize the amount of value from your DevOps initiatives without stakeholders who can adeptly manage both sides. Additionally, communication with the business and other non-technical sides of the organization is critical. The entire organization should be on board with DevOps, with clear visibility into the transformation—your successes and challenges will come from frequent, effective communication.
Adhere to Processes
DevOps is process-driven, particularly as organizations scale. To work effectively, and to serve real enterprise environments, creating and adhering to processes is key. While automation is important for the rapid delivery of value, effective change management is important for sustainable development and system operations. Process and compliance are an important part of sustainability for large environments. It is also extremely important for organizations where compliance is vital—think industries such as finance, medical and government. By implementing and adhering to well-defined processes, you can avoid future headaches or rework that will slow down the pipeline.
The most impactful changes have one thing in common: strong leadership. Leadership dedicated to delivering customer value and understanding the software’s prominent role in delivering that value is key. Organizations that cling to outdated methods of development and delivery (i.e. waterfall) lead to slower delivery of value, which is the ticket to extinction. DevOps also benefits greatly from having leaders within the organization who serve as champions for change. By keeping a finger on the pulse of your organization from within, you can better practice change management, identify potential weaknesses earlier on and make your DevOps initiatives work for you.
DevOps can be an extremely effective way to deliver the most customer value from your software pipeline. By keeping these four key indicators in mind, you can better position your team for success and enjoy the benefits of your DevOps journey.