10 Ways To Win At DevOps: What IT Pros Need To Know

DevOps can lead to greater developer productivity, higher operational efficiency, and improved user experience. But the journey toward DevOps is not easy. Here are 10 ideas to get you started on the right path.
Start At The Top
Build The Team
Invest In People
Remember The Systems
Build Tools Across Systems
Create True Feedback Cycles
Consider Kanban
Keep It Simple
Measure Your Progress
Empower The People

Let's talk about DevOps. Actually, let's start by defining "DevOps." According to Gartner:

DevOps represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture), and seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps implementations utilize technology -- especially automation tools that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective.

DevOps can be an enormous win for an organization, with benefits that include greater developer productivity, higher operational efficiency, and improved user experience due to continuous feedback. With all the benefits, no one ever said that DevOps is easy.

That doesn't mean it's not worth doing, of course -- but there are definitely some things you should keep in mind if you want to make DevOps worth the effort to your company. We've recently looked at 8 Ways to Fail at DevOps, but now let's look at the topic from the other direction.

As you go through the 10 tips in this list, you'll notice three big themes. First, DevOps is complicated. Really complicated. And it involves an awful lot of people and departments.

Next, those people are vitally important to getting DevOps right. You can write up and implement the best business processes in the history of business, but if you can't convince your employees to enthusiastically participate in those processes, you won't succeed.

[See 8 DevOps Lessons IT Can Teach the Enterprise.]

Finally, those systems and business processes are critical. Just as processes without people will fail, great people working heroically to slog through awful processes will never hit the level of success they should. Everything has to work together.

Devops began in the specialized realm of cloud service providers, but Gartner has predicted that 25% of the Global 2,000 will be using DevOps by the end of 2016. No matter how you define the term, it's obvious that its use will grow for the foreseeable future.

Many of the ideas presented here will strike you as common sense, but we've all been around long enough to know just how rare a commodity common sense can be. To come up with the list, I looked at blog posts and web articles, talked to managers and executives, and drew on our own experience.

Take a look at the ideas here and let me know whether you think we've gotten it right or missed some key suggestions. The comments are open and ready for your thoughts. I'll see you there.

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