Devops cycle

5 Signs You Need Better DevOps

Imagine this scenario: you want to build a new house, so you hire two people: an architect to design the structure and all the plumbing and wiring and the like, and an interior designer to come up with the various features of the rooms, the lighting, the colors, the decor. Six months later, they each hand over their plans...but they haven’t actually spoken to each other the entire time. If you hand those two sets of plans over to a contractor, how likely do you think your house is to be built effectively and efficiently?

If the person responsible for the functionality and stability of the overall house (the architect) had worked collaboratively with the person designing the features inside the house (the interior designer), you’d have a good chance of getting a well-functioning, nice-looking house built on budget—and you’d have seen an apt metaphor for DevOps practice.

DevOps methodology melds software development and IT operations with a set of tools and processes that impact key value vectors: reducing costs, increasing efficiency, getting more secure and stable software to market faster. Here are five signs that your organization needs to mature its DevOps practices now.

1. Your enterprise treats IT as a cost center

Many years ago, IT departments had to spend most of their time doing “keeping the lights on” work—making sure hardware ran, avoiding system outages, maintaining backup and disaster recovery. And it made sense at the time, when enterprises were only beginning to implement digital systems. But the digital landscape has changed since then—and your relationship to IT should have too.

If your IT department is still viewed as just an overhead expense, you’re missing out on a huge amount of business value. IT is a crucial component of the value stream, and treating that department as a strategic partner is key to achieving your business goals. When you empower your IT leaders to collaborate on strategic decisions, you tap into the real power of digital transformation. This is a big cultural change—and one that DevOps consulting services can help you navigate successfully.

2. You spend more time fighting fires than solving business problems

If your IT leadership walks into the building each morning with no idea what their priorities will be that day, it’s a sure sign that your enterprise is stuck in a reactionary mode. With no organizational system management or strategic digital roadmap, your IT organization is caught in an endless cycle of putting out fires, reacting to what’s broken, and fighting through friction—instead of doing the strategic work that drives the business.

A mature DevOps approach prevents fires from happening in the first place and minimizes the impact of mistakes—through good moderation, federation, and environment handling. Good DevOps allows your IT leadership to pursue clear priorities that have long-term business impact.

3. You’re regularly rolling back releases

Perhaps the biggest fire an IT department must quell is a bug-riddled release. The costs of rollback are huge—in staff hours, in unrealized revenue, in lost users, and in brand credibility.

If you find yourself in this position, it’s easy to start casting about for blame—and that blame usually falls on the IT organization. But it behooves you to step back and ask some larger questions: Do you have stable processes in place to support stable releases? Is your IT leadership empowered to speak truth to power when necessary? Does your IT organization have both the headcount and the resources to implement strategy? Does your C-suite view technology as a set of tools and practices that help good people do good work instead of a magic wand that grants tech wishes? If the answer to any of those is no, it’s a sure sign that maturing your DevOps practices is the first step toward ending the release-rollback cycle.

4. You aren’t delivering business value on the timetable your business demands

In a perfect world, your company isn’t just keeping up with competitors or responding to the current market—you’re the leader pushing your industry forward. If your timelines are determined by when your competitors are releasing new features or when the latest hardware innovation drops, you’re always going to be playing catch-up to the market—and the gap between your releases and market demands will inevitably grow larger as your momentum is derailed by putting out fires.

One of the most compelling benefits of DevOps is reducing time to innovation and time to market. When you increase the maturity level of your DevOps practices, you unleash the IT organization to drive new innovation, ahead of the market curve. You go from chasing timelines set by outside forces to being the driver of those timelines—releasing value to market on a daily basis.

5. Your people are complaining about tool sets and practices

There are two diametrically opposed mindsets about employee complaints: “People need to suck it up and work harder” versus “People have the expertise to know what tools they need to meet the business needs.” The latter is the mindset most conducive to mature DevOps practices and better operations. So if your teams are saying they don’t have what they need to get the job done well, listen!

A mature DevOps practice fosters a culture in which the C-suite looks at the overall vision for the organization and invites strategic partnership from teams to make it reality. You don’t have to understand the technical details of the IT organization’s needs—but if you treat that department as a strategic partner, you’ll quickly understand the root causes of friction and discover better ways of driving business value.

DevOps has been a hot topic in recent years for good reason—it’s a tremendously effective approach for software development that supports both efficiency and quality. If you’re anxious to see those benefits for yourself, seek out DevOps consulting services that can give you a clear-eyed assessment of your organization’s current maturity level, pinpoint where you need mature for maximum value, and create a path for getting there.

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About the Author

Victoria Blake, Vice President of Product

 

Victoria is a product manager who developed her product practice in the crucible of startups. Because of this, she understands technology within the context of the whole business organization, from sales to client services to customer support. She specializes in investigating users' core needs, digging into the competitive landscape and business case, and prioritizing features that deliver real value. Victoria is a true believer in Agile. She uses all the tools in a product manager’s toolkit--including A/B testing, continuous improvement, phased and MVP releases, user testing, and data-driven decision making--to build products that solve real needs. She takes pride in good work, believes in the power of teams, is fluent in Nerd, and has a burning desire to get things done. 

When she is not drinking Kombucha from the tap at Metal Toad, she is spending time with her family, attempting to get to the gym, and trying to get to sleep by 10 p.m. after watching an episode of Battlestar Gallactica. 

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