Is DevOps still considered to be New?

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Even with DevOps rapidly becoming an industry standard as a software development methodology, some IT pros still think of it as something new. In a technology world known for its rapid pace of change, this appears to be a surprising development. Of course, many industry veterans still call Agile new even after nearly two decades of use.

What follows is an analysis of a recent survey of tech professionals on DevOps and its usage at their organizations. Perhaps, the survey findings offer a measure of insight into DevOps’ true place in the software engineering world?

DevOps Adoption remains Difficult for many Businesses

As with any revolutionary change in methodology, some businesses struggle with successfully adopting DevOps. This fact is noted in DevOps Pulse 2017, a recently released survey by Logz.io, a data analytics company, which polled over 700 technology organizations. Madison Moore reported on the study’s findings in SD Times.

Half of the companies in the study only recently began adopting DevOps. This group includes either those firms currently in implementation or with a successful adoption within the past year. Still, data that shows 50 percent of the surveyed companies in the preliminary stages with DevOps bodes well for the methodology’s continued growth.

Some of the reasons companies struggle with DevOps include a few common complaints. Inflexible company policies, poor communication and transparency, as well as little incentive for change among tech managers rank near the top of the list.

“These three actions — among others — are often tied to the fact that it is very hard to escape the typical silos that develop within companies and teams. Everyone and every team has a different way of working and a different set of priorities to address, and goals to meet,” noted a comment from the survey.

A DevOps Skills Gap still matters

In addition to the three challenges highlighted earlier, many survey respondents also reported difficulty in finding IT professionals experienced in DevOps. The extra time and resources required to change procedures and structure to adopt DevOps remain hard to find while still meeting the current responsibilities of the organization. Most company executives likely won’t allow a few months of no software being written and deployed for a revolutionary methodology change.

In fact, the survey respondents already suffer from stress, with nearly half reporting either moderate or extreme levels of pressure. 70 percent also worry about becoming burned out. In this environment, it is no surprise DevOps seems like the latest “new kid on the block” conspiring to siphon their productivity.

DevOps’ Advantages are worth the Struggle

Along with the survey findings related to the struggle to implement this new methodology, DevOps Pulse 2017 also noted some of the cost savings achieved by combining DevOps adoption with Cloud-based service offerings. Many respondents use cost management programs like Cloud Native, Cloud Health, and other Amazon Web Services tools.

In short, while adopting DevOps is difficult, its benefits definitely make it worth the effort. Ultimately, companies need to ensure their staff receive proper training. A gradual rollout of the new methodology using a pilot project ensures minimal disruption to the business.

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional insights from the software development world. Thanks for reading!

 

Lean helps Organizations implement DevOps

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!

Finding the Heart of Agile

Even with its wide popularity across the software development world, there are more than a few programmers who simply don’t like Agile. The reasons for this antipathy range from a resistance to change, to simply being averse to the meetings and procedures typical of many Agile frameworks.

Bringing these prodigal sons – and daughters – back to fold is an important part of building a successful application engineering team. Some tech thought leaders feel returning to the simplicity of Agile in its earlier days will help. Let’s take a closer look at some of their concepts to see if they may help your staff.

The Modern Movement to return Agile to its Roots

There are two main movements hoping to lessen the animosity towards Agile by instead focusing on what caused its growth in the first place. Modern Agile is something we’ve talked about previously on the blog. Guided by four simple principles, this flavor of Agile is continuing to attract proponents hoping a simplified methodology leads to happy developers and a subsequent boost in productivity.

The other newer movement within the Agile community is called the Heart of Agile. It was first developed by Alistair Cockburn, one of the original authors of the Agile Manifesto. Like Modern Agile, the Heart of Agile also focuses on four simple principles Cockburn feels are essential to the original methodology.

The Four Keys to the Heart of Agile

In 2014, Cockburn began to feel Agile had become too dependent on procedures and policies; “overly decorated” was the term he used.  With Agile getting away from the simplicity he felt was vital to its initial success; it seemed like a good time to restate the core concepts of the methodology. Of course, Cockburn stays away from calling the Heart of Agile a framework, methodology, or process; instead he refers the curious to its four core actions: collaborate, deliver, reflect, and improve.

“Collaborate” is the first action and one many software engineering professionals feel is one of the most important aspects of Agile and related frameworks, like DevOps. “Deliver” is self-explanatory, and remains a focus at any software shop, including those striving to achieve continuous delivery.

“Reflect” is an important concept helping individual developers and software engineering teams understand their own previous project work and where they can become better. “Improve” is the fourth action to Cockburn’s new manifesto and serves as the natural result of any reflection.

Cockburn emphasizes that these four actions are practiced by anyone in the software development industry on a daily basis. “Each one unpacks into unendingly complicated skills, actions, tools, and all. Each is rich with nuance. And still, we can fold back up all the nuance and complications, and remind ourselves: ‘Collaborate. Deliver. Reflect. Improve.’” says Cockburn.

Ultimately, his most important point is to never lose sight of these four simple concepts no matter the relative complexity of an organization’s Agile framework or the increasing number of tools required to manage a mature DevOps organizational structure. They are words worthy of periodic reflection. Keep returning to them on a weekly or daily basis.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Betica Blog. Keep returning for additional insights and philosophies from the world of software development.