Development lifecycles are now being measured in much smaller timeframes – days or hours, or even minutes in some cases. There are many good reasons for this, not least that organisations utilising faster development lifecycles will further widen the gap between them and those who don’t in terms of moving releases quickly. However, the world of DevOps is more accessible than it first appears, and the perceived barriers to its adoption in reality can be overcome without hassle.
The starting blocks
Although DevOps is not the solution to every development challenge, experts agree that choosing the right aspects of DevOps and applying them to the most appropriate areas of the organisation can, and usually will, improve efficiency. It is important to recognise that the migration is not simply a destination, but is the journey itself.
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The ideal place for any organisation to start is choosing one project or team as a test run, as many minor or major changes can be made to the process as required to ensure it’s right for the organisation. This is beneficial as organisations can implement a system that works best and runs smoothly, before it is rolled out across more teams in the organisation.
When starting out, there are a few key areas to focus on, including:
- Accountability – Each developer can specialise in their own code segments for each release and if any problems occur at any stage of the continuous release methodology process they can be held accountable.
- Communication – This is key to ensuring that the whole DevOps lifecycle runs smoothly. It also ensures there is complete visibility and transparency for the whole team throughout.
- Customer experience – Satisfaction surveys can be a quick and simple method of receiving feedback from customers. The most important thing to note is that the team needs to be able to use the feedback to improve how they function.
- Metrics – Starting off with baseline metrics to show the changes taking effect from when DevOps was first implemented allows teams over time to also introduce new metrics that focus on business objectives, development agility, etc.
- Processes – Deciding what the processes need to be, and using these to plan any changes that are required to improve them as teams discover what works and what doesn’t.
- Product quality – When measuring quality, it is more like measuring the lack of problems. Organisations will need baseline data to identify the problems that existed before DevOps, to then recognise the positive effect that implementation has had.
In smaller organisations, the transition to using DevOps may be fairly smooth, but bigger organisations in particular will need to think carefully about how to integrate with existing functions. The best way to ensure that DevOps is being implemented effectively is choosing the right team.
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The team should be made up of people from different areas of the organisation, such as developers, operations and testers. These need to be people who are flexible and willing to try new approaches, as the initial stages of introducing DevOps may be difficult.
The situation involves attempting new ideas that are different to how they will have worked before, and so they need to view DevOps with an open mind and challenge the more traditional ways of operating. Change has to be thought of as a good thing, or else the project could fail. The entire team will have to be part of the process to change the implementations to suit the project and where it leads.
The finish line? There isn’t one
It is vital to remember that DevOps is more of a journey than a destination – there is no end to implementation. Teams will continuously discover better ways of using DevOps within organisations. The only end goal that should be considered is for it to be sustainable, and this means seeing enough benefits that add value to the project.
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When looking over the progress that has been made, there are some main areas where teams should be able to see improvement in efficiency, and thereby know they have succeeded in incorporating DevOps. These include testing, code handoff, and a range of lifecycle and methodology management tools.
If organisations have the ability to integrate DevOps, vast improvements can be made to its current systems. Though different for every business, DevOps can become an essential addition to the teams that use it. The surest way to implement it successfully is observing how other companies have already done so, and replicating this in a way that will add the most value.
Sourced by Bob Davis, CMO at Plutora
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