Within the evolution of software development, DevOps is an advanced innovation that couples with the agile development process for the lean, streamlined, and smooth deployment of software applications. Use of DevOps expands agile project development into inter-departmental operating procedures for a fundamental enhancement to the efficiency in software delivery. The goal of the DevOps blueprint is lean production throughout the entire deployment process, from planning to delivery.
As DevOps is organically both a culture and a method, definitive points on which to validate outcomes are sometimes elusive and thereby difficult to specify. The cultural aspect of transition to DevOps, as well as its collaborative flexibility, also allow for indistinct validation. Business leaders must uniquely track DevOps processes to assess cost to market and ROI. Accordingly, agile managers and business stakeholders must look towards differential insights to assess progress.
A Look Into DevOps
To validate DevOps, we must first look into what the DevOps methodology is designed to provide. DevOps was developed to integrate developers, quality assurance, and IT, through inter-departmental association, in the executing continuous, quick, and efficient software deployment. In this manner DevOps actually expands Agile across departments to further integrate both disciplines into organizational performance.
Inherent differences in specific objectives seem to cause conflict among developers, quality assurance, and system administrators. The preference of developers is quick deployment of software products. While the priority QA is to fully review software for stability. And the emphasis of IT is to carefully ensure software performance and scalability. When gauging impediments towards smooth software deployment, the primary problem was identified as the need for more cooperation. The search for solutions led to the concept of DevOps.
The DevOps solution is to remove the concept of mutual exclusivity that separates participating departments into siloed, self-centered detachment, and to install the methodology of cross-functional partnering. The end goal is to overreach barriers to software release resulting in a smooth, continuous, and reliable deployment of software applications with a cross-functional amalgamation of diverse talents among departments.
Organic in nature and fluid in process, DevOps is live, and therefore adaptable to change by iteration. Collaborative teamwork in this way makes software production adaptive rather than reactive. With DevOps, software production can scale and quickly maintain system stability, better respond to the fluidity of consumer markets, more sufficiently support enterprise marketing, and provide non-development team members with a seat at the production table, completing the software deployment circle of influence.
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The span of collaborative development inherent in DevOps coordinates departments within the singular goal of smooth software deployment that facilitates enterprise objectives. Developers can verify experimental components with testers and users. Incremental development allows sales and marketing to perform demos on specific product components. And all stakeholders can continuously monitor product performance.
The DevOps methodology unites with agile development for an adaptive consumer-centered approach to software deployment. Agile flexibly accommodates fluctuating consumer preferences and demands, while DevOps facilitates coordinated agility across functions. The DevOps-Agile partnership enables DevOps continuous delivery, which satisfies increasing user demand for innovation and quick delivery.
The initial transition to DevOps within an organization many times patterns it as a singular process within the overall enterprise environment. The unique nature of the DevOps culture and methodology initially generates a distinction within the workplace environment. However, the culture by its coordinated efforts draws engagement and support from its members. Participants are inspired by how inter-departmental involvement provides greater assurance that product outcomes will meet expectations.
The Benefits of DevOps
DevOps processes also generate unique tracking procedures that signal mobility in reduced cost to market and increased ROI. The DevOps methodology has overtime demonstrated four key areas of positive financial impact:
- Reduced expensive by streamlining deployment
- Generated cash flow with increased customer engagement
- Enabled growth into expanded efficiency
- Stabilized deployment with product reliability
Further benefits are listed below:
Image Source: DevOps.com
At this somewhat early stage evolution, DevOps has contributed multiple improvements to software deployment, and benefits are expected to expand into increased contribution to business profit, stability, and scalability.
* CA Technologies/Vanson Bourne research released in November 2014
Blocks to Actualizing DevOps
DevOps is difficult for management to grasp because it is statically imprecise. A fluid culture by nature, DevOps does not finitely show up on balance sheets or annual reports. The DevOps process runs through the organization as a mindful stream of coordinated output, rather than as budget items on a spreadsheet.
Middle managers tend to view the method as more of a challenge than they can meet. With required output, middle managers are many times held fast to traditional production standards, which causes them to see the transition to DevOps as a necessary slow down to their operation. Not meeting production requirements is a professional reflection on the middle manager, which could mean his or her job.
Moving from highly structured workplace traditions across departments into cooperative cultural change is a challenge. The effort entails reorganizing the entire software lifecycle, an ambitious undertaking for both developers and enterprise management. To gain cooperation in transitioning to DevOps, enthusiasts can approach both developers and management with the forecast of accelerated release and business cycles.
Team Integrations vs. Individual Merit
The expansion into coordinated efforts towards efficient production is a team effort. IT and quality assurance teams tend to be oriented towards individual rather than team performance. The individual merit system that governs so much of business tradition, is antithetical to team member involvement. It takes a graduated progression of comparative insights to bring an individual consciousness into the culture of an amalgamated team. Exposing strengths and weaknesses; adhering to team decisions rather than personal preference; and exhibiting your methods of development can be an ego-wrenching experience for any member who has previously relied on his or her individual merits to produce a desired outcome. Too hurried a transition into DevOps processes can sometimes send participants into ‘tilt’ mode.
Although large companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook have reportedly very successfully transitioned into agile and DevOps methodologies, the transition to DevOps tends to be simpler for start-up organizations than for larger enterprises. Since the hierarchy is still somewhat closely involved with production, start-ups involved in transition to DevOps can more easily see positive results at the management level. Quicker productivity, lower costs, more reliable output are all process features that become more readily apparent within start-up organizations.
Is Your DevOps Process Working?
We earlier defined DevOps and explored the methodology to provide ‘meat’ for validating its actual usefulness in operation. DevOps can only effectively meet its devised objectives if it is efficiently implemented through an insightful perspective of the methodology. It is therefore the responsibility of both DevOps coordinators and participants to target the highest performance that is within the collaborative vision.
Project Manager Validations
Project managers should first analyze their DevOps team’s Sprints. It is a good idea for PMs to verbally record the results of each Sprint. Verbal recordings are expedient. And listening to your voice intonation delivers the mood of your assessment.
Are conflicts of interest cleared? Individual vested interests can throw blocks into the Sprint and team performance. Team members must perceive that the value of the team effort supersedes individual merit.
Is the inter-departmental delivery pipeline integrated with all concerns and contributions stipulated? Each DevOps participant must understand their part in the process whole. Otherwise it is difficult for the process to ‘jell’ into a coordinated effort.
Is deployment continuous? A shortfall or decline in the delivery of completed items can indicate a lack of agreement on certain processes within the deployment pipeline. It may be necessary to revisit the collaborative process to ensure that each participant accurately perceives their part in the coordinated effort.
Is production lean? Too many parts in the chain of production indicates ineffective planning. The functions, capabilities, willingness, and efficiencies of all departments are not sufficiently taken into account. There could also be an insufficient distribution of talent among participants.
How consumer-centered is the product? Each department has a beneficial perspective on consumer needs. An in-depth review of department viewpoints and experience provides significant insight into consumer oriented deployment.
Are team members engaged in the process? For optimum results, all team members must buy into the process with full commitment to the effort. DevOps test management and tools can help the process.
Is there a coordinated mix of talents and purpose among team members? Ensure that you have the diversity of talent required to produce the targeted outcomes. The focus of each member should highlight that member’s specific area of expertise.
Are team members transitioning well from individual merit to team integration? The team experience for each participant should highlight growth rather than stressful struggle. Not every personality is suited for participation in DevOps.
Developers should validate product planning and development. The developer’s priority is to ensure quick delivery of innovative and reliable software.
Are required and preferred components included in application development? Innovation is a major enhancement to software applications. Consumers are enticed by ease of use, intriguing appearance, added interactions, and heightened communication. Ensure that software planning, design, and development are customer-oriented.
Is deployment continuous with cooperation from all departments? As a developer you want to ensure that software products quickly move into the competitive market. Quick and continuous deployment is also a priority at the enterprise level. The greater the software turnover, the greater the management support for the DevOps process.
Does code integration include input from all participating departments? Streamlined, quality coding, must integrate the perspectives of all participating departments. Also consider how completely add-ons are integrated into the CI pipeline.
Is development scaled to need? Developers must confer with participating departments to ensure that application design includes expanded volume and functions that meet consumer preferences and requirements.
QA Testing Validations
Is version control validated? Version control should include all relevant instances of past development and defects. DevOps communication should spot oversights in version control.
Are inline comments complete? Software developers should leave a narrative for each coding sector to explain the significance of codes and the anomalies contained therein. Communication within DevOps emphasizes the most essential placements of inline comments.
Do changes in coding require regression testing? Regression testing is a requirement for all significant software updates. Inter-functional communication prevent the oversight of significant software updates.
What are alternatives to coding defects? The significance of coding defects, along with their effects on software applications and deployment, should be a DevOps discussion.
What is the performance input from IT? Within DevOps communication, the performance input from IT would be related to all participating departments, including QA testing.
Upper Management Validations
Without in-depth analysis of the methodology, the enterprise level focuses validation primarily on the DevOps production results. Upper management asks such questions as:
- Are expenses reduced?
- Is revenue increased?
- Is efficiency improved?
- Is the product more reliable?
Process validation with DevOps may differ according to need and organizational configuration. Because of its breadth in reach and fluidity of application, DevOps can mean different things to different participants. This fact engenders collaboration that produces rich ideas towards innovative software delivery. Remember that continuous integration and continuous deployment are the DevOps goal. Base your validation of process on these two objectives and your verification will be valid.
Learn more on how other teams have implemented DevOps and agile processes by attending the upcoming session of Atlassian Summit 2016– Scaling Without Expanding: a DevOps Story.