Four Things Businesses Should Know for DevOps Success


In my last article (Strategies On The Road To DevOps), I provided a broad overview of DevOps of potential pitfalls and investment areas. In this second instalment, I share four practical business handles to help guide businesses in developing an effective DevOps strategy.

In August last year, Ryan Grepper set a new Kickstarter record for the most-funded campaign ever raising over US$10.3 million dollars. His project, The Coolest, is a tricked-out cooler with a built-in blender, speakers, and USB chargers.

In a recent interview, Grepper said that The Coolest wasn’t an overnight success. Instead, his first round of funding on Kickstarter failed to raise his target of $125,000. When asked what he did differently the second time round, he admitted that unlike his first launch, he simply took the time to plan when to launch the project. The old adage, “Fail to plan, plan to fail” comes to mind when hearing this story and still holds true today in the world of application creation and development where businesses are under pressure to deliver more frequently and faster than ever before. This is where planning for DevOps comes into play.

Planning for DevOps Success

There’s a lot of hype building around DevOps right now with industry pundits touting it as the “next great IT movement.” Signs are pointing towards increasingly more businesses on the road to DevOps to streamline the development process by combining multiple steps into single, automated process. Our recent survey by analyst firm, Vanson Bourne, revealed that 81% of businesses in Asia Pacific and Japan already have or are planning to have a DevOps strategy.

However, DevOps is not an easy strategy to adopt to transform a business into an agile and nimble machine. In my experience as an application delivery consultant, I’ve worked withseveral businesses in their DevOps implementation through advising them on various best practices. Here are the four common areas that businesses can plan for on the road to DevOps to find fewer problems and more answers.

Sharing a Common Objective

In today’s Application Economy, businesses are under increasing pressure to be agile and nimble to stay ahead. Traditionally, development teams and IT operations have worked in separate departments, striving to achieve different results while DevOps demands that all teams understand the shared, common goal.

However, a DevOps strategy in itself cannot be seen in isolation as a solution that would be the secret ingredient in changingbusinesses overnight. Instead, DevOps requires a far broader and impactful organizational change – One that is shared by a common goal and desired outcome. Sharing a common understanding of why the company is moving towards greater collaboration and the need for increased agility via DevOps will be key to an effective implementation.

Bridging the Cultural Divide

Cultural change is another common concern and one that is essential for an effective long-term adoption of DevOps.People who understand the importance of a culture shift and the process updates across domains, including the business, will be mandatory inachieving positive results and to communicate early wins with DevOps. This effort to better integrate development and operations can help businesses avoid costly delays and miscommunication.

People are typically resistant to change, yet change must continually take place in today’s business environment. There are a number of ways businesses can help facilitate this culture shift including rotating jobs between team members, knowledge sharing, or creating a single shared purpose rather than a departmental one. The best advice we can offer businesses is that they have to be prepared to make mistakes during this process. What’s more important is that businesses learn from these mistakes, test creative new approaches, and take prudent risks in bridging the cultural divide.

Taking Stock of Your DevOps Toolbox

Another common discussion topic in our conversations with customers is that DevOps goes beyond changing cultures and having a common vision, it’s also about employing a variety of new tools and services. While most companies would likely already have a myriad of tools in place, the question to ask is how do they all interconnect in the DevOps context?

Businesses need to consider assessing current toolsets or risk sacrificing software, accelerating lead times, and speeding deployments, ultimately affecting the customer experience. Failure to do so could potentially erode the benefit and credibility of DevOps, leading staff to bypass the process altogether. One effective way to address this issue is to have a specific administrator or team who would be responsible for creating and maintaining DevOps applications.

Measuring DevOps Success

Every business has its unique needs and outcomes. A final but crucial phase in the DevOps process is for businesses to determine how DevOps success will be measured – Will it be by customer deliverables, internal cost savings or reducing software bugs?

DevOps doesn’t have an end date and businesses need to find ways to quantify success and build on each win. While DevOps may be the answer to many problems within enterprises, the DevOps deployment itself will continue and grow with every business and technology initiative. A great starting point is on a single project and team where the results can be clear and provide a blueprint for success across the organization.

What’s Your DevOps Plan?

DevOps is rapidly becoming a non-negotiable strategic requirement for modern organizations and a new normal for IT and businesses. Winning in today’s Application Economy requires more than just a DevOps strategy in isolation. While we’ve outlined four common aspects of any DevOps strategy, it is by no means a comprehensive list as there are various other areas that businesses need to look at. Ultimately, developing a planned approach that matches individual business needs is necessary for a successful implementation on the road to DevOps.