Top 5 DevOps Challenges & Solutions Part 2: Focus on Technology Leadership
People, Process & Technology
November 09, 2016

Jeanne Morain
iSpeak Cloud

Start with Top 5 DevOps Challenges & Solutions Part 1: Focus on Business

Back in June, at a CIO engagement, one Chief Technology Officer stated bluntly that the biggest challenge for DevOps was Ops. He believed the best way to have a successful implementation was to completely cut the Operations Team out of the strategic leadership discussions. One senior leader asked him how could they truly call it DevOps; without "Ops" it simply is just "Dev." This reminded me that DevOps implementations can be hindered by lack of involvement from both the business and technology leadership as the team initiates and creates the new DevOps culture.

In Part 1 of this blog series, I provided an overview of the Top 5 Challenges and Solutions the business faces when the technology team implements a DevOps Strategy. In Part 2 of the 3-part series on Challenges and Solutions for implementing DevOps, I will focus on technology leadership challenges and suggested solutions.

Challenge 1: Starting with technology solutions

One of the key mistakes repeated by technologists is focusing on the technology solutions instead of the customers' requirements. As a result, they end up with solutions that fail to fulfill the minimal requirements for the company to be successful. This has led to a commonly held belief by users that IT exists in a bubble and $1.9 billion in unused IT Projects, according to PEW Research. (2015, PEW)

IT can address this challenge by working with its business counterparts to understand the "people" and "process" aspects prior to recommending technology solutions. A user-centric service approach will also help streamline the process to distill requirements down to the minimal viable product.

Challenge 2: Maintaining silos

The political landscape of a company can significantly impact your DevOps initiative. DevOps implementations can fail to realize their full potential value if the approach is too narrow or if IT maintains the current silos instead of assessing how the new process and platform can identify and consolidate duplicate sets of compute and data.

For example, one large financial services organization reported over 20+ silos of customer information and data that existed as a result of the multiple application siloes. This created significant frustration within the company, the business, and its customers because the systems did not sync. The silos caused multiple data entries for even a simple action, such as a customer request to update their address or contact information. Through micro services, the company reduced the siloes and eliminated a significant amount of duplicate efforts by both the business and technology teams. One key requirement for DevOps success is to proactively choose to eliminate siloes of competing work and/or create new ones.

Challenge 3: Beginning with Dev and ending with Ops as an afterthought

I interviewed 50+ IT leaders for my recent book. Interviewees who stated that they tried to develop their DevOps strategy in a vacuum within Dev, while not including Ops from the outset, have failed and flailed. Over and over, by the time the Ops team was pulled in, it was too late. The Dev team already had bought into their preconceived notions regarding critical Operations functions around scalability, reliability, serviceability, and security. This caused the implementation to fail. Why? Because the operations experts that understood those areas of the process were not consulted, so they did not buy in. As a result, the implementation fell apart.

To ensure success, invite the right people to have a seat at the table. One way to achieve this is by reimagining the software development lifecycle process as one technology initiative from the CIO down. This approach will reduce the political friction that can lead to failure.

Challenge 4: Treating DevOps as a Project rather than a Culture Shift

Similar to Business Service Management, DevOps can become a point of political friction within a company with multiple teams vying to be the owner or decision maker of the implementation. This approach often fails because DevOps is a cultural shift. Exclusively cutting out one team or creating DevOps in a vacuum not only increases friction, but also introduces risk into the company environment.

From my research, I learned about a continuous integration, continuous delivery process from development having significant impact on the network performance and ISP costs. By treating DevOps as a Dev Project, they failed to have the operational support or knowledge to reduce the risk to the business. A few interviewees reported that DevOps was being treated like a project and, as such, the resources were moved to other projects when they achieved the minimal viable product. Neither the business nor developers were comfortable adopting a process without dedicated resources to maintain it.

Challenge 5: Disengaging, delegating and disconnecting from the DevOps Shift

The final challenge that came up in my interviews with IT leaders was technology leadership disengaging, delegating or disconnecting from the process. In doing so, DevOps did not catch on as there was too much resistance to the cultural shift.

Technology leadership must stay completely engaged and involved to ensure the success of both DevOps and the overarching Digital Transformation the company is going through.

Read Part 3 of the series, covering the Top 5 Technology Implementation Mistakes.

Jeanne Morain is an Author/Strategist with iSpeak Cloud

The Latest

May 24, 2018

DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the top tools to support DevSecOps. Part 3 covers security and monitoring ...

May 22, 2018

DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the top tools to support DevSecOps. Part 2 covers DevOps and development ...

May 21, 2018

While DevSecOps, much like DevOps itself, is more about changing IT culture than employing certain types of technology, some tools can be an important support. To find out what the right tools are, DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the top tools to support DevSecOps. Part 1 covers the testing phase ...

May 17, 2018

The top two business priorities for CIOs of midsize enterprises (MSEs) in 2018 are growth and digital transformation. However, 57 per cent of MSEs are not yet delivering digital initiatives, according to findings from Gartner Inc.'s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey ...

May 15, 2018

Almost every company is facing the challenge of digital transformation today. This means rethinking and retooling your company to compete and succeed in an increasingly digital world. While digital transformation is not only about technology, the right tools can help. To find out what these right tools are, APMdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the essential tools to support digital transformation ...

May 08, 2018

With data breaches consistently being in the news over the last several years, it is no wonder why data privacy has become such a hot topic and why the European Union (EU) has put in place General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will become enforceable on May 25, 2018, which is less than a month away ...

May 03, 2018

The prospect of increased workloads, combined with shrinking mainframe skillsets, has huge implications for mainframe DevOps. The only way for organizations to solve this skills gap crisis is by optimizing developer productivity. Drilling down a level further, what does this all mean for mainframe DevOps? ...

May 02, 2018

When it comes to operations and development, DevOps has changed the traditional compartmentalized style of development by eliminating silos. But what about the security team? Security is largely still siloed from operations and development. No doubt, many DevOps teams have some security controls baked into their automation processes, but a recent survey shows there are still alarming gaps ...

April 30, 2018

According to the 2018 Global Security Trends in the Cloud report, 93 percent of respondents faced challenges when deploying their current on-premises security tools in the cloud, and 97 percent lacked the tools, cross-functional collaboration and resources to gain proper insight into security across the organization. These numbers indicate a big problem in DevSecOps that needs to be addressed ...

April 26, 2018

Moving more workloads to the cloud is a top IT priority, so eventually it will be time to consider how to make those critical legacy applications cloud ready. In Part 1 of this blog, I outlined the first four of eight steps to chart your cloud journey. In addition, consider the next four steps below ...

Share this