Make Dev and Ops Work Better Together
Ever wondered why DevOps is such a hot topic right now?
Think about your IT teams during product development. Do they progress in parallel, unaware of each other’s problems on the road to deadline?
Agile development methods can help your dev teams deliver code faster and better, but your upgraded development speed comes at a price. Avoiding fragile, hard-to-maintain infrastructure caused by Agile shortcuts is important for continuous support for your ops teams.
DevOps is hot because it provides a way to help deliver high-quality services quickly and amicably.
The DevOps Dilemma
In a very stripped-down way, DevOps is shorthand for IT development and operations professionals working together in product development.
Who Are Dev and Ops?
Many definitions of DevOps are available, but these are especially useful:
- “A practice, something that happens when operations and development professionals work together throughout the product or service lifecycle.”
- “A cultural and professional movement that’s focused on building and operating high-velocity organizations, born from the experiences of its practitioners.”
But who’s involved in DevOps? Although some definitions limit DevOps participants to engineers, in practice:
- Dev means engineers and many other professionals involved in developing the product. This can include programmers, product engineers and QA specialists.
- Ops includes all the systems engineers, system administrators and other folks who establish and maintain IT infrastructures.
Dev and Ops: Two Different Worlds
IT leaders know about the DevOps dilemma: getting developers and systems operators to pull in the same direction. What real-life factors make DevOps success so difficult to achieve?
- A separate existence. Dev and Ops have existed separately for decades.
- The wrong tools and methods that help developers succeed may spread misery to the ops team. Agile development processes deliver software more quickly—by using shortcuts that make systems more breakable.
- Each team is unaware of the business value the other provides. And, they don’t know how to accomplish shared objectives.
- They are rewarded for totally different things. Developers: create and deliver code quickly. Operations staff: keep IT services running. There’s nothing to encourage collaboration
Building DevOps Success
Although DevOps is still rather new, it’s possible to describe what does and doesn’t work in developing successful DevOps efforts.
Don’t Focus on Processes and Tools
Enterprise IT departments understand that collaboration is a must-have for DevOps success.
But, focusing on the technical side of DevOps—merging development and operations tools and processes—doesn’t work. Gartner research reports that by 2018, 75% of enterprise IT departments will have tried to create DevOps capability. But, when efforts focus on processes alone, fewer than 50% of them will reap the benefits.
What does work? Developing DevOps as a practice (some call it a culture) and integrating it into the enterprise IT and business environments.
Focus on DevOps Culture
Dan Head, Research Director at Gartner, estimates that “By 2018, 90% of I&O organizations attempting to use DevOps without specifically addressing their cultural foundations will fail. ”
Culture—Isn’t that a bit much? What do we mean, in a practical, real-life way? Another way to address DevOps is as a way of thinking and working. One that requires a special set of resources, which include:
- A safe space for people to engage with each other. This opportunity gives the company’s employees a place to define their roles, get to know each other and understand the changes that DevOps requires.
- Support for DevOps leaders. Make sure that team leaders have the skills and knowledge they need to start adopting the DevOps culture.
- The same incentives for everyone. It’s not reasonable to measure dev and ops by old standards and expect new behavior.
- Room to make mistakes without blame or shame. Part of DevOps is experimenting, testing and learning so we can generate faster feedback loops and course correct quicker.
And most importantly, IT departments must embed DevOps thinking and doing throughout their organization.
Embedding DevOps Culture into IT Departments
A healthy DevOps culture gets your dev and ops teams to pull in the same direction. Getting your teams on the same wavelength is more than a Kum-Ba-Yah moment. It’s time and effort saved. Just think of the hours (money) your ops team spends annually, fixing problems on systems made fragile with the latest development approach.
4 Signs that a DevOps Culture Is Working
How do you know that DevOps culture is taking root in your IT department? [According to recent Gartner research, DevOps will only work when both Dev and Ops teams are willing to collaborate. But, but how do you know teams are collaborating effectively? Here are some positive indicators:
- Team members are changing their behavior. Without this change, the 90% failure rate applies.
- Everyone’s getting more patient. It takes time and shared experience for a new DevOps culture to embed itself. For example, time to give skeptics the chance to see the benefits of the DevOps approach.
- Teams better understand each other’s problems. Both teams are getting beyond mere communications. Ops professionals will understand why Agile is a sweet solution to dev problems while developers understand why hard-to-fix infrastructure is their problem too.
- Leadership manages dev and ops teams with the same incentives. A classic example—Making a better customer experience everyone’s goal.
Ready to build a DevOps culture of your own? It will require plenty of time and effort. But, you can get an ample return in time, effort and cost savings in the long run. For more information about building a DevOps culture at your facility, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.