Many organisations successfully launch small DevOps initiatives within targeted teams or business areas but can face challenges when attempting to scale them to deliver transformation across the organisation.
So, how can scaling DevOps be achieved? In this blog post, we discuss four steps to set your teams up for success as you scale your DevOps initiatives across the business.
1. Prioritise collaboration across a wide range of stakeholders
DevOps will bring big change to nearly every aspect of IT, and for it to succeed, every stakeholder needs to be on board. It’s important to remember that the impact of scaling DevOps practices isn’t limited to development teams and their operations counterparts, but also executives, IT, security teams, and business managers.
To successfully scale, DevOps teams must stay in constant communication with key departments across the organisation to discuss what’s working and what’s not. Understand the constraints they are facing, and what areas need to become a priority for change. However, too often, even in the flattest of organisations, informal hierarchies persist. These create barriers to collaboration and prevent information sharing.
This means leaders must work hard to encourage open sharing and create an atmosphere that values the notion of equality among team members. The success of your DevOps strategy ultimately boils down to how well different teams across the organisation come together to abandon the status quo and optimise how they deliver work.
2. Approach as both top-down and bottom-up processes
For successful DevOps transformation on a larger scale, teams must employ both top-down and bottom-up approaches.
Different IT groups cutting across organisational boundaries, each with their own mission and culture, is a vital component to the expansion of DevOps practices. This demands solid backing and buy-in from senior management, including C-level executives. Without visible support from leadership and central IT, scaling DevOps efforts throughout the organisation will be difficult.
At the same time, it’s important that teams on the ground are also invested in making DevOps succeed. If they are uninterested in changing established ways of doing things and not excited about DevOps implementation efforts, it will be impossible for any initiative to get off the ground.
3. In-house expertise might need augmentation
For many organisations, DevOps is still a fairly novel practice, and often companies do not have the necessary in-house expertise to manage the complexities around the associated people, processes, and technology that scaling DevOps requires.
One approach to reskilling your employees is to establish a DevOps training programme that helps them get acquainted with the various tools, methodologies, and mindsets that are vital to DevOps success. You can even contemplate hiring new talent with the necessary knowledge and skill set.
For quicker results, many organisations choose to bring in outside consultants to help them jumpstart new collaborative practices. These experts can objectively assess your DevOps progress and coach team members, helping them to navigate complex transitions or high-stakes projects.
4. Don’t set unrealistic expectations
As with any transformation initiative, setting unrealistic expectations can result in dissatisfaction and loss of buy-in. Too often, organisations grapple with major challenges as they attempt to achieve too much too soon.
It's difficult to pick projects and transform them into DevOps overnight. If staff are continuously under the gun and do not have enough time budgeted to optimise processes, they're going to burn out quickly.
Senior leadership must therefore advocate an incremental, iterative approach to expanding DevOps initiatives across the larger organisation, with a focus on continual improvement and communication. Arriving at a consensus on metrics and objectives can also help bridge the gap between what is expected and what can actually be achieved.
As you learn and mature, you go from individual projects and scaling up to handle thousands of projects. When training new people to function effectively in a DevOps organisation, it is important to consider factors such as their unique background and expertise as well the geographical background of distributed workforces. It is also vital to set up continuous feedback loops for monitoring data and processes.
When it comes to scaling DevOps, it is important to keep in mind that there's no magic bullet. A lot of it calls for good-old-fashioned hard work and a grounding in reality.
Discover how Adaptavist can help you scale DevOps and push past barriers to wider success.