Lean helps Organizations implement DevOps

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With more businesses jumping on the DevOps bandwagon, some still struggle during the adaptation. As with any newer methodology, it helps to analyze the best practices of those early adopters to foster a smooth implementation at your own company. Increasingly firms look to Lean, a system focused on improving efficiency first developed in the manufacturing world, as a pathway to DevOps success.

We previously talked about Lean as a popular Agile framework. Let’s look more closely at how it makes implementing DevOps easier for businesses of all sizes. It just might be what your company needs to succeed.

Lean focuses on Process Efficiency

Lean first grew out of a desire to make car manufacturing more efficient through the reduction of waste. When we covered it as an Agile framework earlier this year, we mentioned its appropriateness for companies with well-defined procedures and policies already in place. IT manager, John Rauser recently wrote an article for SD Times illustrating how Lean can also make a positive difference for businesses adopting DevOps.

Rauser notes how Lean emphasizes process efficiency, focusing on optimizing the interaction between those involved on a project. He explains the differences between this approach and traditional IT’s focus on resource efficiency. Since the prime directive of DevOps usually involves improved software delivery, streamlining the flow of that process makes perfect sense.

The hallmarks of Lean – waste reduction, enhanced collaboration, and ultimately faster delivery – dovetail nicely with the principles of DevOps. Rauser feels these same goals need to foster a transition from an IT department made up of functional silos to one group built around the flow of the software development process. Strong collaboration combined with an “experimentation and feedback loop” then becomes basis for a new organizational culture.

Joining the Efficiency Matrix

The Efficiency Matrix, from This is Lean, serves as an abstraction of the pathway from an old school resource-focused IT shop to one that embraces DevOps. Resource efficiency as it relates to localized silos offers little to a modern shop hoping to achieve continuous delivery. Hauser comments that shops using this outdated structure to deliver software in today’s business world suffer from waste due to poor interaction between these silos.

Realizing the inefficiency of their current organizational structure remains the key for most businesses looking at DevOps as a software development panacea. A Lean approach requires this realization before a transformation to a process-based structure begins. Implementing DevOps as a trial project within a subset of the organization serves as a proof of concept for those unsure about the new direction.

Finding someone passionate and experienced about leading this change offers a greater chance of success. This needs to happen before DevOps gets rolled out on a larger scale. Leveraging Agile techniques along with the integration of automation and other tools plays a key role in improving process efficiency.

Ultimately, growing into a mature Lean DevOps organization involves close monitoring while making subtle changes as necessary. It essentially becomes one living organism focused on delivering value as efficiently as possible. This is worthy goal of any software development business in today’s market.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional dispatches on the ever-changing world of software development. As always, thanks for reading!