October 28, 2019 - Blog

Adopting a DevOps Culture

Oisin De Conduin, Practice Lead - Digital & Cloud Solutions, Version 1

Adopting a DevOps Culture

For the last few years, DevOps has changed the way software is delivered. While many people associate the term with technology and tooling (Config management, CI/CD pipelines, Cloud, and Automation), there are much deeper business benefits with DevOps.

The deeper impact is in the integration of culture, organisational processes and breaking down the barriers between different engineering teams. Through closer team collaboration,  a real difference can be made to support business objectives such as time to market, operational efficiency and improved customer experience.

The fundamentals of DevOps aren’t new, with the ideas behind this set of practices dating back to the lean manufacturing production line efficiencies brought about by Toyota with the Toyota Production System (TPS).  

Closer Collaboration

A key part of any DevOps implementation is bringing teams together who would otherwise be working independently, including developers, testers, infrastructure and database administrators (DBAs).

Instead of passing work from team to team and relying on parties outside of your team to progress or implement a change, DevOps involves putting smaller teams of mixed skillsets together. This way, each small team can now be wholly responsible for their own workloads from idea inception to production.

The adoption of a DevOps culture has been shown to have significant business benefits, with 63% of companies releasing new software more frequently, and 55% noticing improved cooperation and collaboration after implementing these changes. 

Adoption

The first step to the successful adoption of DevOps is having people who will advocate for this culture. Businesses need employees who want a change in the culture and are willing to drive it in the workplace.

These ‘DevOps Champions’ will be crucial for the success of any DevOps implementation, as they will fight for the integration of DevOps and remove any potential blockers to adoption. Greater success can be achieved if senior stakeholders and managers are included as ‘champions’, as they will have the authority to enforce change from the top down.

Although enthusiastic employees will champion the implementation of DevOps, what’s the best way to integrate existing employees? Ideally by training, coaching and upskilling on both the cultural and technology.

This will help in providing the domain knowledge and understanding. By providing the necessary support and training, existing employees can be extremely valuable to the DevOps implementation, and will help drive and spread the adoption within the workplace. 

Bringing in external services will also help with the transition to DevOps, as many businesses won’t have the capacity or resources to adopt the entire DevOps process by themselves. Hiring an IT service provider such as Version 1 will make the transition easier in terms of knowledge-sharing, experience and resources for training.

With only 17% of companies successfully embracing DevOps, this suggests that potential barriers do exist during the implementation process. Companies need to identify and remove potential barriers before DevOps is implemented to ensure that the process is smooth and efficient. 

Barriers

The most common barrier to the adoption of DevOps has very little to do with technology, and everything to do with people – individuals who are resistant to change. They may not see the incentive to change, are generally conservative, and do not like the idea of organisational change. Certain teams may also be more resistant to change than others e.g. software developers who may not want to participate in any ops activities. 

Another key barrier to DevOps is cost. The resources and skills required to implement DevOps can be costly as a result of high demand and lack of experienced DevOps specialists.There’s an initial investment of both time and money required, and no immediate payoff. However, once a company has moved on from that initial stage, the implementation of DevOps means that the running cost and time effort for workloads should become a lot cheaper and easier. Studies show that traditional Ops are 41% more time-consuming overall when compared to DevOps. 

Companies often try to hire an experienced specialist and get them to ‘Do DevOps’ instantly. However, similar to trying to build a dedicated ‘DevOps Team’ anti-pattern – this often doesn’t work.It is usually best to train and upskill existing organisational members and build the culture of DevOps internally for a smoother and successful transition. 

Done correctly, the results speak for themselves: 63% experience improvement in the quality of their software deploymentsand 38% report a higher quality of code production. 

To find out more about DevOps and how it can help your business, visit our DevOps page below or contact us.

Start your DevOps journey today

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