Every company is a software company now, and every company will become a DevOps company soon.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin
It is our quick response to quickly changing technology trends that generate the excitement and drive the business growth, DevOps helps in growth hacking your business performance exponentially by delivering the expected features faster to the market. DevOps was born out of a long history of software development, and it’s a well-thought approach.
Every company is a software company these days, and they all understand the value of DevOps.
DevOps has delivered success to many well-known companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Google. Amazon has been able to speed up their software development lifecycle by automating their releases. Just like everybody, If your ultimate goal is faster releases and higher quality services, and increased customer satisfaction then applying DevOps principles is the way.
The primary intent of DevOps is simple: Ship software updates frequently, reliably, with better quality. DevOps is a mental model transformation of the entire organization for better organizational agility, other words..it’s about delivery Nirvana.
Today we will talk about seven easy hacks for DevOps transformation.
1. Getting ready for the change and embracing the cloud-native approach
We already know change is the only constant. This change can be scary at times but not changing according to the technology trends is the worst thing you could probably do to get vanished. As we all know, DevOps aims at solving one of the IT’s most significant problems, bridging the gap between Dev and Ops people, and this is the need of the hour and has to be addressed as soon as possible. This can be done only through consistent and small incremental changes. The management should make sure to preach the advantages and benefits of DevOps before proposing the culture change, and this has to be driven by the IT architects and managers of the individual team.
Many people thought Cloud Native is just another buzz word. No, it’s not. It’s a complete methodology. Whether it’s a startup or an Enterprise, they want to use a Cloud Native architecture to innovate more rapidly.
Cloud-native takes advantage of many modern techniques; it combines the methodologies of Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery with the architecture and technologies of Microservices, Cloud, Containers, and Serverless. Cloud native strategy gives more speed, power, performance and margins to the businesses. Not just containerization and microservices design but you must adopt new cloud-native approaches like minimum viable product (MVP) development, multivariate testing, rapid iteration, and working closely across organizational boundaries in a DevOps model. Apple, Amazon, Google, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Tesla, Qualcomm are some of the giants who started this approach initially & are really successful with this approach.
Note: Cloud Native has enormous potential, but it also has its own disadvantages when you have legacy applications and traditional practices in place.
“Nothing is stronger than habit.” - Ovid
2. Accepting failures and learning fast
As DevOps is mostly related to doing things fast and learning fast, there might be 99% chances of failure initially and might seem hard at times, but with proper guidelines and approach, the adverse situations can be handled and more importantly, accepting the failures is the biggest factor here, else the blame game starts. The organization and the teams need to understand that the approach of DevOps is to eliminate the confusions between the teams but to reach a fine stage, there will be a lot of chaos initially.
However, just as “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile, DevOps failures are a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practices into one that will lead you towards even greater success, sooner rather than later.
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
3. Learning to be continuous everywhere and at any time
The meaning of continuous everywhere is to apply the practices of continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous deployment, and continuous improvement. These things add more value to the learning curve of the company and help in making the process more agile and lean.
The end goal is simple, to be continuous everywhere just like water, the JFrog defines this concept as ‘Creating Liquid Software‘ a world in which at any one time, our systems’ software is being updated. Effectively, the software will become liquid in that products and services will be connected to “software pipes” that constantly stream updates into our systems and devices; liquid software continuously and automatically updating our systems with no human intervention.
Some days back, I wrote an article on why do we need CI/CD, shared below.
“Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement. Get a little bit better every single day.” - Brian Tracy
4. Focusing on automation
DevOps is mostly about automation, and if possible zero-touch automation. The IT managers and DevOps leads have to be indulged in selecting the best tools and DevOps processes that help achieve DevOps at scale. After choosing the tools, its time to define the policies and steps to use each tool, when and why. The tools like Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, JFrog, AWS, Slack, Chef, etc. are here to help you to build your automation capabilities. Automating the repetitive developer tasks and some daily activities will give developers the extra time to work on the things that matter to the business. Automation also helps companies to fail fast, build fast, deliver fast, and which in turn helps in improved overall performance.
But this culture of automation should come from the top management, and hence most of the company that maintains and follows legacy practices might find it a bit difficult initially to kickoff this culture in the entire organization. But they all have to, like some DevOps experts say, by 2020 every company will be a DevOps company, they have to adapt to DevOps or die.
“The most powerful tool we have as developers is automation.” - Scott Hanselman
5. Having a feedback loop for better communication
The mismatch between Dev and Ops can be conquered through a feedback loop that can help identify the bottlenecks and eliminate them. Feedback loop helps teams to rectify the errors and keep a close eye on the patterns that disturb the continuous software delivery. A proper feedback loop process allows teams to outperform by removing the bottlenecks that cause the problem and thereby increasing the overall productivity.
Many simple processes validate the feedback loop when it comes to software development - Daily Scrum, code reviews, unit tests, monitoring performance continuously in the production, etc
Generally, you want as short a feedback loop as possible so that you can adapt your process quickly.
“We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” - A. Einstein
6. Building the trust between the teams
Trust is a prerequisite for any business to succeed with DevOps.
The business performance directly depends on the team collaboration and trust between the teams inside an organization. As DevOps practices flow downwards from the upper management, trust is to be given high importance since that is the grease that helps teams work collectively.
Building trust between the teams has been the primary aim of DevOps. In DevOps, Dev and Ops will now act as support teams for each other rather than creating blame games. The team bottlenecks and friction will reduce with the implementation of DevOps and hence trust should be an essential entity. Engineering heads and VPs have been using the tactic of maximizing daily interactions between development and operations teams to build trust
“The glue that holds all relationships together - including the relationship between the leader and the led - is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” - Brian Tracy
“When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.” - Stephen R. Covey
7. Having Patience
One critical thing many people over calculate and get disappointed is they think DevOps can be seen as an overnight approach, but in reality, that is not the case. Patience is the key thing here; it takes several months to embed the culture and for the paradigm shift to happen. It is not an easy job for an old company that is maintaining all the legacy practices; they need to think carefully and execute the DevOps initiative. Many big companies took time to consider DevOps but never the less, they all are enjoying the benefits now. One example is Netflix, Netflix’s journey to the cloud began in 2008 & hence to DevOps. As a company that has to handle massive amounts of traffic, Netflix points to the scalability advantages of the cloud as one of the key drivers for their decision to migrate. Patience and keeping a constant track on the improvement is all you need when you start, slow and steady wins the race.
“Change is slow and gradual. It requires hard work, a bit of luck, a fair amount of self-sacrifice, and a lot of patience.” -Robert Greene
DevOps-focused automation can impart significant competitive advantages to businesses. We all know that DevOps is here to stay and it is the necessity today for any software-powered organization. Doing DevOps the right way starts with the right thinking approach and having a growth mindset and figuring out the critical processes that you can automate easily. DevOps is just going to be even more exciting in the coming years.
You might also want to read my top five tips for securing senior management buy-in for your team’s agile ambitions.
Every day on LinkedIn I share stories about DevOps, let’s get connected on LinkedIn.
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