More organizations are discovering they need a serious software upgrade -- but not the kind of upgrade you’d expect.
Instead of rebooting their laptops, some organizations need a serious patch for the way development and operations departments function, work together, and ultimately view their roles within the company.
When is it time to call in DevOps?
When it comes to software deployment, higher quality code, quicker turnaround and more consistent delivery aren’t fantasy goals; they’re demands being made across industries that teams increasingly need to address.
A properly deployed DevOps strategy could well be the answer for organizations struggling to work through everything from stubborn kinks in processes to fundamental structural flaws in software development and delivery. In short, DevOps is a strategy for creating unified, cross-functional teams in which all groups – from development to operations – work together throughout the development process to create better software solutions in shorter timeframes.
If this sounds like something your organization is lacking, you’ve likely already experienced scenarios that hint your company could use a fresh approach. From subtle to brutally obvious, these warning signs signal your company needs a DevOps upgrade.
#1: Development and operations teams live on different planets. Often, it seems development and operations only interact when something goes wrong. A key pillar of a good DevOps strategy is changing the cultureof an organization, where shared ownership, accountability and common goals are clearly defined and embraced across departments. When everyone is on the same page, there often are fewer fire drills during delivery and more consistent, predictable results during deployment.
#2: Software updates are dreaded like the plague. Making a fresh pot of coffee for a 10 p.m. conference call during a software update should be a clear red flag that something needs to change. If updates require downtime at odd hours, it’s likely that manual processes are clogging up time and energy from development to deployment. Both the development and operations teams should embrace automation, from configuration management to testing code. Is the phrase “It works in my machine,” uttered frequently at your organization? Do teams fear recovery time from a failed deployment? The automated tools and processes of a good DevOps strategy help avoid situations that can make software delivery an anxiety inducing experience for all teams.
#3: Stakeholders’ questions about when features will go into production are met with blank stares. “Not sure” isn’t the answer that leadership and stakeholders should get when it comes to questions about delivery of updates or new features. An organization that has adopted DevOps, however, has much clearer responses. DevOps transforms companies into learning organizations that constantly analyze current delivery practices and ensure they are functioning optimally. Increased efficiency helps boost a team’s ability to forecast and deliver reliably by introducing performance metrics that may not have been tracked in the past. A more complete view of stats related to successful builds, lead time to feature deployment, and mean time to recovery after a delivery failure help teams become much more confident when committing to schedules and delivery dates.
#4: A stable codebase exists … somewhere. If your organization needs an archaeologist to help dig up a stable version of your codebase, something has to give. Part of developing a good DevOps strategy involves deploying a consistent, easy-to-follow branch/merge strategy that ensures everyone is working off the same source control repository. This avoids time-consuming merge conflicts, allows for easier identification of stable and deployed versions of code for easier patching and enables the team to efficiently deliver high-quality software.
If any of the above warning signs hit close to home, it’s time to consider how a DevOps strategy might benefit your organization. While it takes work, and the process constantly evolves, a DevOps upgrade of an organization's culture, processes and tools can be the fix needed to increase efficiency, boost morale and greatly improve both software quality and the delivery process.
Justin Rodenbostel calls himself "a polyglot software engineer, architect, and leader of one of the custom application development practices" at SPR Consulting, a digital technology consultancy, which focuses on building solutions for clients using open source technology. Throughout his career,he has worked on large, mission-critical enterprise apps, small internal apps, and everything in between – for clients as small as a 3-person startup and as large as a global Fortune 50.