4 Reasons Why Your Company Might Not Be Ready For DevOps - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

11:00 AM
Bhanu Singh, Senior VP, OpsRamp
Bhanu Singh, Senior VP, OpsRamp

4 Reasons Why Your Company Might Not Be Ready For DevOps

Make DevOps the culture of your organization, driven by the CEO and a team of leaders with a clear understanding of the implications and outcomes.

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m a huge fan of DevOps. It has been shown to increase quality, reduce problems, and shorten development cycles. It’s often considered a panacea for large organizations looking to transform their development, production and operational lifecycles. But is it right for every business?

Companies that do it successfully can reap the benefits of continuous deployment and testing, but companies that fail get trapped in endless loops of missed deadlines.

There are some criteria that any IT team should investigate before making the transformational shift to CI/CD. It involves taking a hard look at the existing culture, process, and even management style. There’s no shortage of ink spilled on articles that try to convince you why DevOps is the future. Instead, I want to discuss when and why DevOps doesn’t work to truly help identify if it’s right for you.

First: Is the culture ready?

Because the transformation to DevOps is simultaneously a change in process, tools, and philosophy, it requires a cultural shift in collective mindset that’s fraught with potential failure. DevOps success relies on three Cs: communication, collaboration, and coordination among different teams (including software developers, quality, operations, and executive stakeholders). The first challenge is to understand and unpack how these groups are aligned and interrelated. Then, the executive leadership must develop a working model of communication among them with incremental milestones to gradually shift culture toward more openness and connectivity.

If your business is too siloed or relies on legacy organizational structure, chances are good that this cultural shift may prove to be too difficult. I’ve seen it often fail in large organizations with entrenched leadership or processes. Some companies could be hundreds of years old, while others could be the latest and greatest modern organizations that are simply stuck in their existing ways. If the culture won’t change, then the actual DevOps process is ultimately doomed.

Then: Can the structure handle it?

DevOps is highly culture-dependent, but it also requires a shift in how software is architected, built, tested and deployed. At first, this may seem like common sense, but in reality, it’s often not discussed during the transition.

Monolithic software architecture with complex dependencies between different layers and teams can cause a DevOps evolution to struggle and fail. Often, quality is sacrificed in the name of agility and speed. Organizations using a modern, cloud-native microservices architecture are typically more successful in adopting a DevOps practice. In these organizations, product or service teams can operate independently while staying aligned with the ultimate business goals or customer experience objectives. The company is already broken into purpose-built sprint pipelines that can move with agility.

Where to begin? Identify the warning signs.

Before building your DevOps roadmap, it’s critical to spend some quality time soul-searching and stress testing your organizational culture. If you see any of these, you might face some steep uphill challenges in your evolution:

  1. Your company has a well-defined process: Companies that are already in love with their culture and software development process will cling to it with white knuckles. These companies resist change and might not fit the DevOps profile.
  2. Your company wants to dive in head first: If your company just wants a DevOps process because it’s trendy and innovative, you might not be ready for it. Proper implementations require a true understanding of business outcomes with pros and cons. Remember, it’s a mindset, not just a movement.
  3. Your company wants a “Department of DevOps”: Trying to create DevOps as a separate department, without bringing current Dev and Ops teams together, is a recipe for failure. DevOps isn’t a side hustle. It’s transformational.
  4. Your company has fiefdoms: Organizations whose Development and Ops teams are highly distributed and isolated from each other could struggle to bring them together without providing each team with some common leadership.

In short, DevOps must become the culture of the organization, driven by the CEO and his/her team of functional and organization leaders with a clear understanding of the implications and outcomes. It’s a mindset that requires a transformation in process, organization, technology, and information to drive a meaningful, sustainable change. The rewards are huge. But as with any potential upside, your company will have to work for it.

Bhanu Singh is the Senior Vice President of Product Management and Cloud Operations for OpsRamp.

The InformationWeek community brings together IT practitioners and industry experts with IT advice, education, and opinions. We strive to highlight technology executives and subject matter experts and use their knowledge and experiences to help our audience of IT ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Enterprise Guide to Edge Computing
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  10/15/2019
Rethinking IT: Tech Investments that Drive Business Growth
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/3/2019
IT Careers: 12 Job Skills in Demand for 2020
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/1/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Flash Poll