While most organizations are committed to the full adoption of both agile and DevOps, many are struggling with key challenges and missing out on the extensive benefits these practices can have on their bottom line, according to a global study by CA Technologies.
The study, How Agile and DevOps Enable Digital Readiness and Transformation, found that while 75 percent of respondents recognize that agile and DevOps approaches drive significant business success when implemented together, only a relatively small proportion consider the consistency, depth and breadth of usage of these practices to be high.
The study showcases characteristics of "Agility Masters" (the top 18 percent), which are organizations that are farthest along in the full adoption and doing most or nearly all of the right things to make agile and DevOps an essential part of how they function day by day.
"Agility Masters" are seeing a 60 percent higher rate of revenue and profit growth
These Agility Masters are also more likely to use agile practices across other company functions, so it is unlikely a coincidence that these organizations are seeing a 60 percent higher rate of revenue and profit growth, and are 2.4 times more likely than their mainstream counterparts to be growing their businesses at a rate of over 20 percent.
“The pressure is on to make all parts of an organization as flexible as possible when responding to changing customer demands, user expectations, regulatory changes and – most important of all – market opportunities,” said Ayman Sayed, president and chief product officer, CA Technologies. “Business leaders need to be aggressive and intentional about driving adoption of agile and DevOps within their organizations. The success of their business depends on it.”
It's Not All About Technology and Process: The People Perspective
The study also found that organizations are plagued by similar challenges: culture, skills, program investment and leadership alignment. The research highlights a widespread recognition that implementing agile and DevOps practices across the software lifecycle is not just a matter of new skills and working patterns. For some, it also requires a significant shift in mindset and behavior and making those changes is very much a people issue – even at the executive level.
Top priorities to improve effectiveness identified by respondents include:
■ Improve the culture of the organization so it encourages and rewards collaboration (84 percent)
■ More support and commitment from management at all levels (82 percent)
■ Training for IT teams on how to collaborate and incorporate best practices into their day-to-day jobs (78 percent)
■ Additional resources to help implement agile and DevOps practices (75 percent)
■ Relieve time pressures so teams can implement effective agile and DevOps practices (74 percent)
Respondents also found it very difficult or challenging to find professionals that were familiar with agile methods (68 percent), had experience with DevOps (77 percent) and/or had collaborative cross-team working experience (67 percent). This clearly indicates a skills gap for the majority of organizations, which requires resources, especially training, to be made available.
“Raising the capability of the engineering team through a well-crafted careers development program will allow us to continue to recruit and retain high caliber individuals,” said a Chief Architect/CTO of a retail business interviewed for the study.
Connecting Execution to Business Outcomes
The connection between agile, DevOps and business outcomes centers around the continuous feedback loop running through live customer experiences to requirements engineering – showing how well software delivery is performing and supporting the business itself.
To further reap the benefits of agile and DevOps, organizations must also leverage the responsiveness and flexibility offered by cloud, containers and other new code design and delivery architectures, with a smooth shift-left of all activities – such as continuous testing – and finer granularity of iteration across the whole of the software delivery and ops cycle.