Setting Up a Successful DevOps Implementation
November 10, 2021

Vinayak Joglekar

At first, DevOps may seem counterintuitive when compared to traditional software engineering and development. It intentionally breaks down silos that function within each specialty to deliver improved, holistic business results. When implemented successfully, DevOps transforms the systems that provide software solutions and, in the process, empowers organizations to leverage disruptive technology to their advantage.

The days of assembly-line product development — with each business function performing repeatable tasks in a singular phase of the process — are over. For many organizations, enlisting professional IT expertise will help adapt to the continuous evolution of DevOps project management. Seasoned DevOps pros will commonly advocate for:

Buy-in culture

Mental and emotional acceptance of teams’ operations is essential for employee productivity. This is especially true in DevOps, where silos are replaced with integrated efforts to design, build, test, and deliver innovation continuously. Multiple functions unite, and everyone works in the same direction toward the same goal.

Existing infrastructure

A DevOps team should regularly assess whether and to what extent teams are supported with the necessary tools to accomplish their goals and gauge their ability to adapt to unfolding tasks in real-time.

Business drivers

What business drivers, day-to-day challenges, and initiatives are planned, and how does software technology play a role in them? Once this is determined, where DevOps fits as a solution can be reliably evaluated.

Success factors

Identifying key performance metrics to gauge success is vital in most business functions, including DevOps. Tracking outcomes rather than focusing on work performed is an example of choosing a key metric to drive decisions instead of less impactful factors.

Upon determining the scale of these attributes, DevOps pros generally turn an eye toward three additional factors.

Consider process automation

DevOps strategies rely on creating and refining products more quickly than in traditional development frameworks. This is achieved in part through the automation of repetitive or arduous tasks. DevOps evaluates:

■ Where teams are repeating standard business practices.

■ Time spent on each process.

■ People and resources are allocated for each process.

■ Errors in processes and whether automation can reduce or eliminate them.

■ Urgency level for new, faster solutions.

Once evaluated, these benchmarks guide investment strategy for implementing automation. Solutions and tactics that support automation typically generate favorable ROI quickly, with additional cost benefits realized over time.

Prioritize tasks

Assessing the urgency of the need for automation (by category, noted above) helps determine the scope of more extensive digital transformation plans. Prioritizing the components of the overarching digital transformation strategy will reveal the resources required and serve as a reference point for allocating talent, tools, and time involved in executing every tactic.

Utilize expertise

Nothing replaces experience. Enlist external DevOps expertise to assess and identify paths to success. Likewise, align existing internal talent to areas where their insight can be most beneficial.

For example, an organization’s existing IT pros have experience with methodology and processes. They understand and can describe business requirements in a product backlog, are familiar with testing and deployment processes and can be beneficial if complex integration arises. Those with cloud experience may have talents to offer on AI and ML deployments with cloud providers.

Effectively implementing and managing a DevOps strategy can seem challenging, but it is simplified with the involvement of experienced professionals. It also relies on an acceptable plan, both existing and acquired expertise in its techniques, and expertise in developing and implementing technology.

It will calm nerves and drive outcomes to bring DevOps experience on board if it doesn’t already exist. The transition to iterative improvements, collaboration, AI deployment and other measures will raise the competitive profile. It will manifest faster releases, quicker and more productive feedback and increased innovation.

Simply adding automation tools to development projects won’t stretch many organizations’ boundaries. Yet, when thoroughly implemented, DevOps is transformative. It may seem complicated at the onset but leads to creating and refining products faster than ever attainable by traditional software approaches.

Vinayak Joglekar is CTO at Excellarate
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