Trouble with DevOps? Make sure you have these 4 components
There are four key components of integrating successful DevOps practices within your team. If you feel like you are losing control of the culture shift, make sure you have these four important components in order. It takes communication, tools, education, and leadership to properly integrate DevOps into an organization.
Integrating DevOps across departments is like trying to change the tire on a speeding car. While delivering new software, products, and updates against strict deadlines, teams are forced to learn new skills, take on additional responsibilities and implement and follow new processes.
Despite the challenge, no one is disputing the benefits of DevOps — everyone wants to operate more quickly and more efficiently — but adjusting business processes shouldn’t be undertaken lightly.
After driving DevOps integration at a major enterprise, I found there were four key components to our success. Every developer needs to be aware of them whether they’re currently going through DevOps integration or not. It takes a village to make this culture shift successful, and it starts with communication.
At its core, DevOps is about bringing departments closer to the end user in order to quickly deliver continuous updates based on their needs. This gives every employee, from developers to customer support, a better understanding of their role and of the purpose of their work. As a whole, the business then aligns more accurately on goals, and can move faster and with more agility.
One way to open communications between departments is through periodic touch points and meetings. Scrums teams should have open discussions with other teams about what they’re working on and where they are in their dev cycle.
Traditionally, agile processes have taken place in silos. Habit keeps them that way. Scheduled touchpoints start to chip away at that habit until collaborating becomes second nature. Enterprise organizations should highly consider training their teams in Scaled Agile Framework (SAF) best practices to ensure that they can properly scale agile practices in harmony across their organization.
Additionally, product roadmaps and updates should be available to everyone — it reinforces collaboration, and the visibility enables customer-facing teams and field teams to provide better customer experience and customer satisfaction.
The right collaboration tools
Once the communication lines are open, teams need to incorporate a tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams into their workflow. They enable departments to quickly collaborate on technical items and help keep those company-wide product roadmaps aligned. Traditional communication tools like email and phone take too long in today’s work environment.
The proper tool ensures departments and team members are on the same page, no matter what phase of the SDLC they’re in. Many tools used for DevOps are technical, like Datadog and TeamCity. While they help facilitate CI/CD or DevOps processes, alone they won’t improve integration DevOps across departments.
When using more technical tools, dashboards need to be built so that all departments can understand who is where in their SDLC. Once this is done, the same dashboard can be provided to users and stakeholders, extending the lines of communication.
Education on what’s happening and why
One of the major barriers to DevOps integration is employees’ resistance to change. However, this is often overcome through education, like showing the benefits of DevOps vs. other styles. It’s also a way to help many developers more easily move from traditional software development to cloud-based service development.
The most critical item for developers to understand is the tie between their role, and delivery and operations development. While it might not be in their job description, without the willingness to collaborate with and support other departments, the entire DevOps integration will fall apart.
A single leader championing the process
Unknowingly, leadership can often bring DevOps to a screeching halt. If an executive gives a product priority to a team, then the team focuses on it rather than on DevOps. It disrupts the integration process and hampers teams.
This is why DevOps needs to be a priority for every leadership member, and why there should be an executive sponsor consistently advocating for these changes. That person will hold all team leads accountable to move to a DevOps model.
It takes time to learn a new process. It takes time to collaborate with others. Left to their own devices, Dev and Ops organizations aren’t going to collaborate and/or merge unless forced to; they’re too busy with the tasks at hand. DevOps calls for leadership guidance and intervention, and if there isn’t any, then the business likely won’t be able to incorporate DevOps.
What’s harder than climbing a mountain? Adjusting business processes
It takes communication, tools, education, and leadership to properly integrate DevOps into an organization. While it’s daunting to be part of business reworking its operations, there’s no reason the change won’t succeed — just keep an eye out for those four components to ensure your company is on the right track.
DevOps is only going to grow in importance and involve more departments every day. We’re already starting to see DevSecOps, but what about FinOps? The methodology is undoubtedly improving businesses in leaps and bounds, the tough part is getting it in place the first time around.