3 min read

What DevOps is, and why it matters

JK
DevOps build

DevOps transformation series: part one

There’s no denying DevOps is now an intrinsic part of software development. In fact, a 2020 report by Puppet Lab showed that 79 percent of companies are using at least mid-level DevOps practices already. But what does that mean for senior leadership? Rather than questioning whether DevOps should be part of their transformation agenda – it already is – they’re asking what they can do to best implement DevOps practices for a competitive advantage. They want to know how to do DevOps better than before.

In this blog series, we’ll take a deeper dive into DevOps, explore what a compatible culture really looks like, share some top tips for how to improve fundamental processes, and help you build a better toolkit for your teams. But first, we get better acquainted with DevOps and make a clear case for why it matters.

DevOps loop

Get stuck into DevOps

If this sounds like the ideal anecdote to your DevOps dilemmas, take a look at our eBook: Approach to DevOps Transformation.

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Are you doing DevOps?

Let’s set the record straight. DevOps isn’t an individual process or a few tools that should only be used by specific people or isolated teams. It’s a software-wide mindset that needs to be adopted and nurtured by the whole development team. For some organisations, that means big cultural change has to take place.

And what does that culture look like? It means teams that can work fast, with autonomy over their own processes. It means technology and business structures that support continuous product flow. And it means a more reliable, stable, and secure product. For some businesses, this represents a huge shift from current ways of working.

It’s unlikely, but if you’re still stuck on a traditional model – where hundreds of developers batch up changes, where a waterfall workflow means risky releases, and where new features or products are few and far between – then DevOps is a big change for the better you need to embrace. It bids goodbye to slow turnaround, shoddy quality, tumultuous teams, and a lack of accountability. And it does everything so much faster.

The age of agility

We’re living in agile times. Most organisations are transforming digitally, adopting agile processes to work more efficiently and create more value for their customers. But organisational overhaul is all for nothing if products aren’t getting to market at a rate that makes a difference for end-users. If your workflow is stymied by traditional sign-offs and endless testing, all building up to a big release, your agile efforts aren’t working (and you’re probably not doing DevOps).

If you’re just getting to grips with DevOps, here are three things worth keeping in mind:

DevOps extends agile thinking 

Rather than solely focusing on the development experience, DevOps works to speed up delivery without compromising quality. It insists on continuous development that’s fed by feedback loops. And it makes getting an idea into production – and out the other end for customers – so much easier. 

DevOps takes no prisoners

Because DevOps requires people to change the way they work and the way they think, it can be tricky to make the transition. And it requires everyone – from front-end developers to back-end IT infrastructure and security professionals – to make the switch together, supporting and encouraging change across the organisation.

DevOps is about unity 

There are three fundamental principles underpinning any DevOps approach – flow, feedback, continuous learning, and experimentation. Combined, this hive-mind thinking makes sure teams are united towards common goals, working on what matters most, and getting releases out to customers when they need them.

A holistic approach

It’s not enough to hire developers with DevOps experience, implement a few processes, or top up your toolkit with some new tech. There are challenges to consider across the organisation – most notably getting reluctant teams on board – and big changes to put in place. While the road might be rocky, there’s lots to gain by getting DevOps right – for your teams and your end-users. So hang in there and think holistically. It will be worth it in the long run. 

Up next

In the next instalment of this series, we’ll explore what makes a conducive culture, how to empower your people to succeed, and some smart advice for building DevOps-enabled teams. 

Ready to read more right now? 

Download our free eBook, Approach to DevOps Transformation here.