There’s no doubt that DevOps is now mainstream. But, if it has yet to take hold within your organization, where should your organization start with DevOps? Or, alternatively, if your organization has already started its DevOps journey, what else should it be doing to increase the probability of its efforts realizing the expected benefits of introducing the new ways of working?
To assist, this article offers up eight tips to help your organization to ensure that it’s focused on the right things for achieving DevOps success.
8 Starting with DevOps Tips
- Ensure that everyone involved understands what DevOps is. Plus, what DevOps isn’t. For instance, collectively understanding that DevOps isn’t simply the purchase of the latest DevOps tools. Instead, it’s about changing how work gets done.
- Appreciate that there isn’t a single route to DevOps success. That as with IT service management (ITSM) best practice, it’s a case of taking what will work for your organization and, importantly, to use it in the best way for your organization. It’s definitely not the case of simply reading a how to do DevOps book. Instead, seek out real DevOps successes that can be used to help guide your organization’s own DevOps journey, tailoring to suit your own wants and needs.
- Ensure that your organization is ready for DevOps. Importantly, understand where your organization currently is versus where it needs to be. There are third-party assessment services available. For example, DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) uses its annual State of DevOps Report findings to help organizations to assess where they are with DevOps. Or you can start with the DORA DevOps Quick Check (which takes 30 seconds to complete).
- Be prepared to reorganize for the new way of working. This is likely to involve reorganizing teams and people around applications/services rather than traditional IT functional capabilities. With each team then responsible for everything related to their particular application/service.
- Aim to automate work whenever possible. Identify the many repetitive, manual tasks across build, test, and deploy that can be automated. This will make life easier for everyone, in addition to delivering the generic benefits of automation – increased velocity, lower costs, fewer errors, and better business outcomes.
- Don’t “try to eat the elephant all at once.” Instead, be very selective in terms of choosing where to start. For many organizations, this is ensuring that the right application is selected as the kick-off point of the DevOps journey. This usually means starting with smaller, simpler applications.
- Start to look at work through a “value” lens. In understanding how best to build, test, deliver, and run software also establish where customer value is created (or destroyed). Value stream mapping is a technique that will help your organization to create an end-to-end picture of how work is done and where/when value is created. Plus, to identify any opportunities to improve the flow of work and to reduce waste.
- Ensure that your organization is able to measure its successes (achieved with DevOps). Without an initial baselining effort and the right metrics, your organization will never fully know how much it’s improved. It’s not rocket science, simply that any form of improvement can’t be quantified without the baselined as-is state. There’s much emerging good practice on DevOps metrics freely available on the Internet and via events and more formal media. But, as with all metrics, it’s important to select and employ the right ones for your organization based on what’s most important to it and its stakeholders.
So, there you have it, my eight tips for any organization starting out on its DevOps journey. What else would you include? Please let me know in the comments.