Whilst the DevOps methodology on the surface looks like something that would be relatively easy to implement and adopt within your organisation – I refer back to the definitions of DevOps put foward in the blog thread What is this trend reminding you that DevOps is not a tool but as much a social implementation as it is a technical one. We all know that technology is easy to solve and people dynamics is one that has many more facets to consider to ensure that you get it right rather than create unholy anarchy in your teams!
So how do we go about assessing the potential impacts so that you are aware of them and can put plans in place to address the gaps that lay ahead for you in the DevOps journey?
A brief summation I put together on the notable challenges in the implementation of DevOps could be noted as per the graphic and can be explained as follows:
Failing fast and learning from it allows you and your team to understand the complexities you face, solve the gaps and move on and grow together through the failure. This requires strong C-Level buy-in to know that you will, as a team, go through teething problems but get stronger together and move on. Yes this is an idealistic view on the world but it does exist and i have witnessed teams being hardened through storming and norming with the support of great executive leadership and the results are well worth it.
Fostering a collaborative culture and identifying the teams strong advocates for change is a critical step in ensuring that the journey for DevOps is one that is long lasting. These advocates become drivers for change and ultimately subject matter experts throughout the organisation.
Ensure you subscribe to active practitioner blogs and forums to see the latest trends, technologies out there and don’t re-invent the wheel – many problems you will face have already been solved by companies out there.
Look to the Gartner published metrics, referenced below in the graphic, and see how you can measure your progress to the metrics and when you measure up well take time out as a team to celebrate a notable success to enhance the team synergy.
Some of the harder aspects – ensuring your architecture is right for DevOps – this may spawn off a stream of project initiatives but it is important to ensure that you take risk on DevOps methodology where it makes sense. A back-end technology that is antiquated and not prone to accepting frequent change either due to the nature of required testing involvement or the span of involvement across different departments is not necessarily the right way to go as a first step.
Ensuring that once you identify your gaps and then move to choose the right toolsets per phase is also key. SOme may opt for all in one solutions whilst others may choose deemed best of breed per phase – this is often linked to organisational maturity to handle vendors and vendor management principles. Listen to your team experts and go with what works for you – don’t simply be sold by the pitch!
The worst mistake that could be made is having a development team and then apportioning some of the development team to be the “Blackops DevOps”team. This creates a silo in an already often soli’d team which creates the reverse culture required to adopt a new methodology!
It is key to look at your maturity across your life cycle and their are already pre-drafted metrics available to help you assess yourself – including survey offerings from industry leaders such as Puppet. The key advice here is simple – be honest with yourself in that you are only kidding yourself and masking the gaps you need to full which will lead to reduced adoption and failed implementations of the methodology. An example of an assessment rubric is as follows – found in continuous delivery practices online:
According to a survey undertaken by Forbes the top challenges for DevOps can be reflected as per the below summation below which shows the complexities involved in implementing a methodology that on paper seems pretty simple – but without going into it eyes wide open could lead to several unforeseen issues that due to the softer nature of solving could be catastrophic if not known upfront.
Taking heed of this advice and the views expressed is a critical step in ensuring you are off to success on the DevOps journey. If you find yourself in despair remind yourself that companies like Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Walmart, AirBnB, Uber cannot all be wrong in adopting DevOps and it is definitely working for them with the ability to release multiple times a day – imagine the productivity and returns you could realise in adopting this amazing trend?