Electric Cloud's CTO, Anders Wallgren, recently sat down to take part in the “B2B Nation: IT” podcast — the series dedicated to serving the IT professional community with expert opinions and advice on the world of information technology.
Listen to the great conversation, where Anders shares his thoughts on DevOps lessons from large enterprises, the growth of microservices and containers, and more.
Anders identifies DevOps and Continuous Delivery (CD) as essentially a natural extension of Agile, enabling us to finally “plumb” the last mile to the customer – delivering software innovation faster, and with better quality, to our end users.
With the growing evidence of the ROI of DevOps and CD, the industry now has a shared appreciation for the value of DevOps, and patterns continue to emerge – and shared – for a successful DevOps and CD implementation. Despite this progress, we are still seeing common challenges and pitfalls to avoid, particularly as large enterprises set on the journey to adopt DevOps. One phenomenon Anders has seen is when organizations send everyone to Agile courses, and they come back doing standups, thinking that with this change to how they work, that they’ve nailed it. Truthfully, the transformation journey is much more subtle – and complicated – than that, and you need to be in it for the long haul.
Speaking of how teams work, Anders further identifies that, likely, over the course of time, your organization has done a lot of specialization — engineering specialization, QA specialization, database specialization and so on. This structure can lead to segregation and silos. One of the things DevOps does, for example, is not to necessarily the ridding of those silos, but to acknowledge them, work around them and truly understand where they’re creating bottlenecks and issues. This idea of looking end-to-end and attacking problem areas first is a fundamental tenant of a CD and DevOps approach. “If you are attacking your build times, but your real delay is in testing, you need to address your testing, not the build times.”
Truthfully, this idea of an “end-to-end” delivery approach is a little bit new to software world, while it is not new to some other industries such as manufacturing. To be efficient, you really need to be cognizant of all the steps along your “production line” and how to quickly, cost-effectively, and with high quality, deliver your product. In the software world, there’s been huge investment in authoring of software, management of source code, how we monitor and choose application servers and databases, but just now in the last five years are we paying attention to how we move all of those things along the pipeline, without mistakes and without delays, so we have a predictable and repeatable process.
With all that in mind, you might be wondering how you can scale DevOps and CD across the organization- to optimize and streamline your pipeline throughout your business. Anders points out that if you’re a startup, you’ve got a green field and can make decisions and choices much quicker than if you’re an established enterprise. For established business, you have to figure out how to change tires on a car without pulling over. What you really have to do is be Agile about your transformation. By establishing a roadmap and understanding the time it will take, you can have success at any scale.
Listen to the full interview above for more tips on how to take an agile approach to your DevOps and Continuous Delivery transformation.