Beyond the Hype: Setting Realistic DevOps Expectations
Just because you aren't immediately seeing the benefits of your DevOps adoption doesn't mean it's not working.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Over recent years, the perceived need for brand new tools that can provide customers with faster agile and DevOps application delivery has increased on an unprecedented scale. Despite the fact that the idea of going faster and how DevOps can aid this isn’t new, businesses are eager to prove to their customers that they can produce results with DevOps. In the competitive landscape that organizations now have to navigate, being able to provide customers with improved delivery can help them stay ahead of the game.
With the introduction of tools for automation, requirements management, and deployment, businesses are claiming that they are providing a faster and better service to customers than ever before – a result of DevOps. But the experts have a different opinion and argue that, if they are not being utilized properly, the tools might not work as expected.
The Problem With Overestimating DevOps Maturity
According to Forrester’s 2017 Global DevOps Benchmark Survey, executives and DevOps professionals have widely differing perspectives on their level of DevOps adoption.
When asked if they automate their CI/CD pipelines, 53% of the executives responded in the affirmative, but only 42% of the DevOps professionals said the same. On the subject of whether configuration management was automated, 56% of executives and 45% of DevOps professionals said yes. Meanwhile, 58% of executives as compared to 40% of DevOps professionals claimed to automate release to production, which at 18% was the widest differential in the survey.
In addition to this gap in perception, executives are starting to feel that they’re investing in these hot new technologies but aren’t reaping the expected business benefits. Clearly, there’s a disconnect here – and it’s not a new or novel occurrence.
The reality is doing DevOps is hard, and there are lots of roadblocks and speed bumps along the way. After a year or two of progress, executives expect the transformation to be complete. However, they aren’t seeing measurable results because, in reality, they just aren’t there yet. The processes, the people and the architecture of the organization itself must be primed to take advantage of DevOps. Without those crucial pieces, businesses will never see a return on their investment.
Speed Might Be Important, but It’s Not Enough on Its Own
Speed can be a tempting metric because it’s relatively easy and straightforward to measure, but simply delivering faster is not enough to delight customers. Delivering true value requires quality as well as speed.
To use the metaphor of a race car, you can think of the driver as the customer and the pit crew as the product-oriented team trying to help the driver perform. They are trained for this particular car and labor meticulously over all the details to help this person go as fast as possible. They rehearse with practice runs just to make sure that they’re doing everything properly. It’s not just about having the biggest engine and the most reliable manufacturer; the entire endeavor can fall flat if the person filling the gas tank fails to carry out their task.
Looking at DevOps from A Different Angle
Achieving quality along with speed is no easy task, and it can be helpful to adopt a very expansive view of what DevOps is. Examine it from the perspective of people, platform and process, not just automation or Agile.
Simply thinking, “We’re going to divide everyone up into small teams and meet up every day,” isn’t enough. It’s critical to have visibility into the entire system, which takes into account the process changes and the collaboration between teams. People need to be able to communicate without having to depend on a weekly or bi-weekly meeting, or even worse, spending all weekend in a conference room trying to coordinate delivery schedules.
When introducing DevOps processes into a business, it’s crucial that the whole ecosystem of DevOps tools is managed efficiently and that the collaboration, integration, and management as a whole are also taken into consideration. The main focus of bringing DevOps into an organization is to ensure that high-quality releases are delivered on time with the full visibility and analytics that this requires. Although DevOps is not the end all be all, it can help to transform businesses if they are committed to adjusting their mindset, implementing proper planning, combining the proper tools and being persistent with the methods it is built on.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.