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How DevOps Can Help Your Organization Build a Productive Team

by Korey Berg
in on Jul 11, 2019

Productive DevOps team working together

If DevOps was a government, its founding law would be collaboration. Without it, the whole thing comes crumbling down. For DevOps to be successful, teams need to understand what’s being built, its architecture, and how the team and its developers will interact with it. Open and transparent communication is at the heart of DevOps. Would your team benefit from better collaboration?

When operations and development teams work together, they don’t just improve efficiency, they gain a competitive advantage. Companies who implement DevOps experience faster deployment cycles, faster recovery from failures, and better customer service. But, DevOps affects more than company processes. We’ll look at how applying DevOps principles foster speed and collaboration.

DevOps principles foster speed and collaboration

According to opensource.com, “DevOps is a word that is used to describe a set of modern IT practices which seek to more closely bring together software developers and operations staff to work on the same project in a more collaborative manner.” So, it makes sense that its principles would foster teamwork. But, four of these principles seem to have the biggest impact.

  1. Whatever you do twice, automate it. While there are exceptions, the idea is clear — if you are performing repeatable tasks with strong processes, you should be automating.
  2. There is no such thing as separate teams. There aren’t separate QA, Ops, and Dev teams. Everyone is working on the same problems and towards the same goal. Instead of silos, teams are built like clusters and leverage expertise from a variety of departments.
  3. Sharing is caring. Every solution and decision needs to be shared. For example, someone can’t arbitrarily decide they’re going to change the instance in AWS used to host a product. If they want to make a change, they need to present their research to the team. Then the team can object if they see a flaw or support them if they agree with the solution.
  4. DevOps requires continuous measurement. It’s important for teams to identify and measure the KPIs to demonstrate success. While the shape of the project may shift, its goals remain the same. Establishing KPIs gives your team a guiding star even when the project changes.

These DevOps principles help unify your team and allow them to work more efficiently. But, at what point will you start to see a benefit?

Those thinking of implementing DevOps should consider the 80/20 rule

Let’s play the philosopher here and say that you’ll never fully implement DevOps. That’s not to discourage anyone, but fully implemented DevOps means that everything is automated and people are not needed. Since we don’t live in some dystopian, computer-controlled future, not everything will be automated. If that’s the case, how can business leaders maintain a reasonable perspective when implementing DevOps?

For a practical viewpoint, we can use the 80/20 rule. That states that 80% of the benefits will come from focusing on 20% of the problem. How can you apply this to DevOps? In DevOps, there are a small set of fundamental changes that will give you the biggest reward. These include:

  • Consistent monitoring and alerting.
  • Automated infrastructure.
  • Following GitFlow in developing and creating a clever branching strategy.
  • Continuous delivery or ensuring your code is always ready to be deployed.

These DevOps practices are comparatively easy to implement since they are more common and the process has been refined. Also, implementing these core components will help prove the value of your investment. That said, there are some reasons to calculate the cost before implementing DevOps.

What are the dangers of bad DevOps implementation?

DevOps implementation takes proper planning.

As the famous Benjamin Franklin quote goes, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Even though DevOps can bring many benefits, teams that poorly implement DevOps can cause more harm than good. Avoid poor implementation by learning why organizations fail and using this knowledge when you plan your DevOps strategy. What are some of the dangers of poor implementation?

  • Your company may not be ready for it. For example, if you increase your deliveries from weekly to daily, your marketing or customer support teams might not be ready for the faster pace. This could even affect their ability to work with customers or cause them to miss new changes.
  • Lack of communication. A team could mistakenly assume that since it’s part of the DevOps process, everyone on the team will implement the new processes. The problem is most technical people are busy with other projects, and non-technical people may be too far out of the loop to even know how to implement processes. This means teams need a good communication plan in place before trying to implement DevOps.
  • Too much speed. When QA is automated before processes are perfected, there is a chance that errors get missed and buggy software gets to production quickly. Teams need to ensure processes are rock solid before automating.

How can teams avoid the consequences of poorly planned DevOps implementation? Teams implementing DevOps need to ensure that they are ready to take on the added work of continuous delivery. This involves communicating the strategy to your team and ensuring all members understand how it will affect their role. You will also need to analyze and optimize any processes that will be automated to avoid negative consequences.

With the risks involved, one might wonder: Is it worth it? Let’s look at how Coherent Solutions has benefitted from DevOps.

How has Coherent Solutions’ team improved from using DevOps?

DevOps isn’t something radical or revolutionary. It’s a basic principle that means people working on the same product should be working together and automating as much as they can.

Coherent Solutions’ DevOps Department Manager, Michael Sagalovich, shared his experience in the early days of DevOps: “I was applying DevOps principles in pretty much all the teams I was working with before it was called DevOps. Of course, I was missing a lot because there wasn’t as much information as there is now on the subject.

It benefited the company in many ways. Starting with a fundamental component of DevOps like continuous integration meant we stopped deploying everything manually. For example, we no longer copied and pasted packages from a developer’s machine into QA or in a production environment; instead, we let computers do that. These changes, even before DevOps was mainstream, helped us experience improvements in the speed of delivery and boosted our confidence that we delivered what was promised.”

Like Coherent Solutions, DevOps has helped improve collaboration in many organizations. Instead of constantly putting out fires, teams have time to work together. When groups of people can sit down and discuss ideas and how they’re going to implement them, innovation happens. Are you curious to see the unique impact DevOps can have on your team? Talk to one of our specialists today.

 

Korey Berg

Korey Berg

Director of Marketing

Korey has over 10 years in digital marketing and IT experience with emphasis on Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Graphical content creation, and Web Development. Korey garnered his education from the University of Minnesota, Cornell University, and vast experience in the technology space since the 90’s.

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