If you use customized applications and software in your business, you probably have a team of IT professionals and developers at your disposal. But do they work well together? Are improvements to your applications getting held up because of a lack of cohesion and collaboration?
“DevOps” strategy discussions continue to permeate board rooms as more business leaders realize they don’t just need to bridge development and system operations teams but also must find a way for them to collaborate to keep pace in the digital world and deliver better business solutions.
DevOps is a set of technology practices intended to minimize the time taken to create, test and deploy changes to systems, especially IT/technology/software systems, while maximizing the quality of the delivered changes.
- How long does it take to make new code available for testing?
- How long does it take to roll new changes into production?
- What’s the instance of regressions after changes?
DevOps practices are cross-functional, bridging software development and IT Operations. Common DevOps practices include version control, continuous integration, continuous delivery, and automated infrastructure provisioning, among many others.
DevOps isn’t as simple as adopting a few tools; it requires significant effort from everyone in the organization to undergo a cultural shift. But we promise the effort is worth it!
If you’re considering adopting DevOps in your business, here are the benefits you can expect.
1. Faster Business-Wide Support
IT gets a bad rap for being slow to respond to the technical needs of other departments. With a better team structure in place and more communication with developers, they can put their skills to use and stop getting caught up in bureaucratic details. They can build solutions for their team members, solve problems, and deploy applications faster.
Consider, for example, a series of microservices deliveries. With a team using the same tools and following the same tactics, deployments can take place more quickly and with fewer roadblocks and miscommunication. With more IT support through continuous delivery and more productive development teams, the entire organization can flourish and grow.
2. Modernization Opportunities
When an organization undertakes an overhaul or merging of its tool and strategies, more thought is put into modernizing tools and strategies. The development team can focus on training for updated architecture strategies, and the organization can adopt better tools. To gain the support of your team, you can even make it a collaborative effort – allow your IT and development team to research, trial, and choose their preferred tools and build their own workflows. All resulting in in an improved software development cycle.
3. Consistent Tech Stack
Developers utilize a variety of tools in their daily work – from project management tools to configuration tools. The more aligned everyone on the team can get on this front, the better.
Standardized Development Environments
Custom environments are often a point of pride for developers. They reflect the creativity and unique style of each individual developer.
Unfortunately, they also create quite a few problems in organizations striving for agile development. They hinder the ability for one developer to jump into another’s work at a moment’s notice. This lack of consistency jams up bug-fixing, team onboarding, and the evolution of critical business software.
Consistent environments between the IT and development teams allow streamlined and simplified workflows for the development team. And during development, less complexity almost always is a good thing.
As important as documentation, we find that many organizations fail to do it at all, let alone do it in a consistent manner. Preferences can vary between individuals and even worse between teams. However, this makes it very difficult for systems and applications to evolve over the years, as turnover inevitably occurs or as team members change positions. A great DevOps initiative is establishing a documentation method, training team members on using it, and reminding everyone to continue to use it.
4. Room for Innovation
As I mentioned earlier, DevOps strategy is about much more than tools. It refers to a change to the mindset of an entire business.
When IT and developers are given enough direction and frameworks to produce their work, it often opens up room for more innovative thought. Much like Steve Jobs’ famous routine of wearing the same thing every day, the fewer details your team has to worry over, the more they can focus on creative development and problem-solving.
5. Consistent Methods
Good development starts with a strategic process. Well-outlined workflows that every developer adheres to drives less complexity within the nuts and bolts of development. This helps team members focus on building the solutions themselves.
As proponents of agile, we highly recommend utilizing Scrum methods. It keeps project managers, developers, and IT professionals all organized and on the same page. It’s also fairly easy to adopt and maintain in your business.
6. Company-wide IT Engagement
Considering how much involvement IT truly has within most companies, the department is often siloed, overlooked, and sometimes even ignored. However, security professionals, database admins, network managers, and other IT team members are critical to how a business runs in the background. By connecting their work with the often flashier development team through strategic collaboration, they are given the credit and acknowledgment they deserve.
7. Increased Automation & Productivity
DevOps can also deliver more automation in your business. While we warn businesses to not over-automate – that’s how critical bugs can fall through the cracks and goals can fail to be achieved – it does make teams more efficient. Automation allows for faster development, QA, and deployment for both the system operations and development teams. This, in turn, further spromotes productivity across teams.
Choosing the Right DevOps Strategy for Your Business
Ultimately, successful DevOps comes down to building a custom plan for your organization. And it’s not just a plan to try on like a hat. True DevOps success stems from a complete culture shift. It requires a long-term vision, detailed planning, and support from everyone within the company.
At Soliant Consulting, we help teams put together strategies focused on their unique needs, strengths, and goals. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build your DevOps strategy and help it mature over time.