Does an Informal Approach to DevOps work Best?

04-07-2017-DEVOPS

The DevOps approach to an IT department’s organizational structure continues to make inroads throughout the technology industry. As companies strive to reach a continuous delivery model for both new software and code enhancements, DevOps seems like a wise choice for most. Increased competition requires businesses to embrace a variety of innovations when it comes to software development.

One recent industry study questions whether an informal approach to implementing the methodology actually works better than a more sharply defined process. Here is a closer look at what their study discovered. Perhaps the survey’s findings make sense for your team’s approach to DevOps or even Agile?

A Paradoxical DevOps Survey Finding

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Digital Research Team surveyed a wide range of technology enterprises on their process maturity, a concept essentially the same as the Capability Maturity Model first developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. John Jeremiah, a technology evangelist for HPE, wrote about the survey for TechBeacon.

The survey queried over 400 technology professionals at larger enterprises about their approach to DevOps. The ultimate goal of the study involved determining what processes led to success in implementing this new organizational structure. Finding out the maturity level of the respondents’ DevOps deployment was an important differentiator in the survey.

These four maturity levels included research/evaluation, pilot project, partial implementation, and widespread implementation. Surprisingly, the study didn’t show a correlation between the DevOps maturity level and a more efficient software delivery process. Diving deeper reveals a few answers that may help your own organization’s approach to DevOps.

Getting High Quality Code into Production Faster – with Agile

The survey noted those who took a more informal approach to DevOps – with many still in the research stage of process maturity – enjoyed faster release cycles with fewer code defects. These findings almost seem counterintuitive. Why are they able to write and test better software than those companies more experienced with DevOps?

The probable answer lies within one word: Agile. A vast majority of the survey respondents still researching and evaluating DevOps were already very experienced in Agile, especially compared to those companies higher on the process maturity level. Focusing on the strong communication and collaboration typical of an Agile shop is more important than the structures and processes found within a mature DevOps implementation.

In short, as we commented earlier in this very blog – Agile and DevOps make perfect partners. The HPE study notes that an informal approach to DevOps, focusing on a collaborative Agile culture, plays a key role in making the software development process more efficient. The study revealed those companies first exploring DevOps already used some of its typical tools and processes because of Agile. These include ChatOps, containers, automation, and more.

In fact, companies researching DevOps with the hopes of achieving continuous delivery would do well to “go Agile” before restructuring their IT organization. Reaching DevOps “maturity” by itself is no guarantee of efficient software development. As Jeremiah summarizes the study finding, “DevOps is not a destination; it’s a journey.”

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