Plan the work then work the plan – that’s how to realize the full potential of DevOps.
Making the commitment to adopt a DevOps methodology should not be taken lightly. But for one reason or another, some enterprises do not fully or completely execute DevOps and therefore, miss out on the benefits it promises – like greater innovation, agility and collaboration.
How can you be sure to implement DevOps the right way? By planning out your DevOps deployment – a logical sequence of activities and deliverables that involves your entire organization – then working the plan, step-by-step.
What does DevOps adoption involve?
The answer is: everything. While DevOps certainly involves technology, it has far-reaching implications across your organization. DevOps requires the participation of everyone – from development to operations and lines of business. Even your customers and partners are impacted and involved (in a positive way). It also means that processes or tools need to be revised, or new ones created.
A DevOps methodology greatly impacts how people work. No more silos. No more hand-offs. No more working in isolation. Traditional application development is linear, where each step in the process must be completed before the next one begins. DevOps is a circular approach, where a cross-functional team collaborates to achieve a common goal – creating a continuous feedback loop that even involves customer input.
These radically different approaches require radical change. Cultural transformation is work, but it also provides significant benefits such as greater employee engagement and higher customer satisfaction.
Processes are dramatically different in a DevOps environment. One of the key principles of DevOps is to automate as many development, testing, configuration and deployment processes as possible, with the idea of eliminating time-consuming repetitive work so that attention can be given to more important tasks. DevOps includes several processes that are continuous by nature, such as:
- Continuous development
- Continuous automated testing
- Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD)
- Continuous deployment
- Continuous monitoring
A high level of automation and continuity is made possible by leveraging approaches and cloud-native technologies like infrastructure as code, containerization and microservices.
A unique set of tools are required to support the automated processes and collaboration capabilities inherent in a DevOps approach. For example:
- Server configuration tools help manage infrastructure as code, cloud provisioning and application deployment
- CI/CD task-specific automation tools and plug-ins help adjust continuous workflow
- Containerization tools are used to build, configure and manage containers that enable software to function in various environments
- Monitoring tools provide alerts, measure key performance indicators and provide analytics
What are the steps to DevOps adoption?
It’s important to follow a logical sequence of activities and deliverables in order to effectively adopt DevOps. Creating a roadmap will help you avoid the pitfalls of lack of awareness, lack of support, lack of technology readiness and inadequate adaptation of organizational processes.
Follow these steps to ensure your organization will fully capitalize on the benefits promised by a DevOps deployment:
- Align the Organization
From a strategic level, embrace DevOps across all lines of business and at the highest levels of your organization. Determine the goals you intend to accomplish, your expected ROI and how you will measure.
- Assess Current DevOps Maturity
Identify current capabilities and areas requiring improvement relating to your people/culture, processes and tools.
- Define a Future State Plan
Taking into consideration your goals and metrics from step one and current state of maturity from step two, identify priority focus areas and create your future state vision.
- Create a DevOps Roadmap
Map out an action plan to achieve each of the focus areas identified in step three. For example, one of Amazon’s best practices for achieving a cultural shift is the “two-pizza” rule – that is, never have a meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group. In other words, ensure teams are small enough so that everyone has clear visibility into the work being done and understands each other’s contributions.
- Implement and Measure
Now it’s time to act. Implement your plan and periodically measure your progress. This will allow you to identify things you should start doing and stop doing in order to continuously improve your roadmap – much like the DevOps methodology itself.
Adopting DevOps in an iterative fashion is something to consider. Some organizations start with a pilot project by forming a cross-functional team and creating a deployment pipeline. Then, by measuring progress, successes and failures (step 5), continuous improvements can be applied.
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