Best Practices for a Successful DevOps Transformation

Digital first is the mantra that every business and organization across the world is embracing to stay competitive. This also means improving the existing IT infrastructure and workflows, welcoming new technologies, methodologies, and approaches, and imbibing a culture of change. DevOps is one such methodology that software development companies need to implement to enhance quality, capability, and efficiency, drive faster releases, adopt a customer-centric approach, and reduce operational costs and performance issues, among others.

DevOps entails better collaboration between the development and operations teams to enable the creation of robust CI/CD pipelines. DevOps transformation should be mainly underpinned by each organization’s cultural foundation, and there should not be any ”one size fits all” approach. According to Ian Head, the Research Director at Gartner, most organizations attempting to implement DevOps without addressing their cultural issues are bound to fail. Let us understand how organizations can implement a successful DevOps strategy to achieve their business objectives.

Best practices For DevOps implementation

To achieve any enterprise DevOps transformation, businesses should follow the best practices as described below:

Alignment with the business goal: For a successful DevOps transformation roadmap, the three main pillars include the right people, the right workflow or processes, and the right tools. To align with the business goals, enterprises should identify the right combination and keep the stakeholders involved in decision-making. The decision to embrace a DevOps approach should be based on demand, not because it happens to be the latest trend. It is important to take necessary inputs from the stakeholders and garner timely information on the challenges of executing the DevOps transformation plan.

Team collaboration: Every team in the DevOps pipeline should specify the requirements, develop prototypes, and test the code during various deployment phases. A robust collaborative culture with effective communication among team members should have fewer chances of errors. Also, any critical input from the team should not be discarded but acted upon promptly to meet the challenges and help in the successful implementation of DevOps. By breaking the organizational silos, enterprises can help every stakeholder get access to information, make critical decisions, encourage innovative ideas, and achieve the best outcomes. The DevOps principle should not be lost on anyone – fostering collaboration among development, operations, and other teams to act as a cohesive unit and not as separate functions. This can be done through running regular awareness programs and instituting chat communications to make discussions more interactive.

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Define the performance metrics: DevOps enables quick identification and fixing of glitches or errors in the build. But how to do that if the performance metrics aren’t defined? The project teams should work with the relevant stakeholders to define the performance metrics and then achieve them by working backward through the DevOps process loop. By tracking and measuring the performance parameters, teams can gain insights into operations and enable decision-making.

Monitor CI/CD pipelines: The crux of any DevOps transformation strategy is to continuously monitor the integration and delivery of software solutions. The implementation of the CI/CD pipeline enables quick software fixes and releases through DevOps automation. Here, the DevOps monitoring tools can be on-premise, cloud-based, or containerized. With effective CI/CD monitoring, teams across the value chain can gain information on threats early and deliver a quality software solution faster to production. Enterprises can study critical data pertaining to performance-based metrics such as average time taken to repair, failure rate, frequency of deployment, and lead time. Also, proper benchmarking of requirements such as the number of processes automated, the number of team members required, and the infrastructure needed should be done.

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Maximize the use of automation tools: Automation should be embedded in the DevOps processes to allow DevOps QA experts to test the build quickly and frequently. These allow for the identification and fixing of any inherent issues or glitches in the code and ensure its reliability, accuracy, and consistency. Some of the critical areas requiring the usage of tools include API integration, collaboration and communication, customization, and reporting, among others. The tools may include Jenkins, Kubernetes, Git, Docker technology, and others, and enable stakeholders to automate mundane tasks and exercise a sense of control over the project. Importantly, as per DevOps experts, the automation tools should be chosen based on their compatibility with the systems and processes. The tools can help minimize conflicts between the development and operations teams to a large extent.

Emphasize customer satisfaction: The success of any software product depends on its adoption by the end customers. However, it is critical for enterprises to know if the software has fulfilled customers’ expectations. This can be done by enabling a continuous feedback mechanism wherein important customer information is collected and passed on to the value chain for various stakeholders to take notice and act. For a successful DevOps transformation, teams should not hide behind rules and protocols or pass the buck, but work collaboratively with other teams to address customer queries.

Architecture modularization: Any DevOps implementation can lead to a change in the legacy applications. So, these applications need to be modularized to modernize the production environment as well as reduce costly overheads. In the ultimate analysis, moving from a monolithic legacy architecture to a modular approach can help to achieve successful DevOps outcomes.

Conclusion

The successful run of DevOps is critical for any organization to stay ahead of the competitive curve. The above-mentioned list of best practices should be decided based on the setup of the organisation, the degree of automation involved, the project volume, and the level of collaboration and communication among the teams.

 

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About the Author

Hemanth

Hemanth Kumar Yamjala has 10+ years of experience in IT Services, predominantly Marketing, Branding, specializing in Digital. Currently a part of the marketing for Cigniti Technologies with functions such as leveraging digital marketing channels for lead generation and promotion.
Find out more about @hemanth-yamjala

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