What Are the Obstacles to DevOps Success?

DZone 's Guide to

What Are the Obstacles to DevOps Success?

The inability to embrace change on several fronts, like culture, methodology, and management, can slow down and hinder a successful DevOps transformation.

· DevOps Zone ·
Free Resource

To gather insights on the state of DevOps, we spoke with 22 executives at 19 companies implementing DevOps for themselves and helping clients to implement a DevOps methodology. We asked, "What are the most common obstacles to the success of DevOps initiatives?" Here's what they told us:

Embrace Change

  • Embracing change from management and team members. Adopting the mentality of fail early, fail fast. People are worried about the security of their jobs not realizing that DevOps will take them away from pushing buttons and put them in revenue-generating tasks. It takes time to learn the new process and it’s never really complete. There are always new tools to learn, understand their maturity and business value for your particular business.
  • Hesitation to adopt a loosely coupled architecture that will give the enterprise the agility and flexibility necessary to make the digital transformation. 
  • Inability to deal with change. Willingness to try new things and let go of fiefdoms.
  • Not realizing that problems go away just because you are using a DevOps methodology. A developer can become an architect or responsible for DevOps but they need training. Political fiefdoms where built out teams for security, operations, or testing do not want to give up their roles.
  • Lack of education and understanding about the ability to move from the traditional infrastructure and the ability to move data yet still be able to access it at any time.
  • One of the most common obstacles to the success of DevOps initiatives is implementing new technologies. It’s important the tools we use are open and able to be integrated into one another to enable us to be iterative and agile. 
  • Not having a corporate culture that’s willing to make the changes to ensure success. Failure to implement the necessary practices. Failure to identify the right toolsets.
  • Silos between developers, QA, operations, and product management. Don’t be product management driven be product driven. Not a lot of product management oversight, coordination, or over communication. Much more agility and flexibility.
  • Developers think adding security to the methodology will slow them down.
  • Finding the right people that will work together and can agree on the processes that will be followed. 
  • Lack of culture and management support. Too many lines of business that need to adopt. Start with one and let others see the benefits.
  • The cultural hurdle. Start with one thing and don’t overthink it with a small tiger team. Watch the organization change as the DevOps methodology is adopted.
  • Realizing that it takes time. There are a lot of tools and critical steps can fall through the cracks. Reduces the number of people involved because of automation. Make sure everything is set up and configuration is done correctly.
  • Lack of planning, solutions, people, culture, processes, and automation.


  • Based on the survey we just fielded: cost, complexity, and legacy IT.
  • Knowledge of tools and different parts of the pipeline can be an obstacle. The ability to trace what happened in the application code. A lot of different tools, abstractions, dependencies, and security to keep up with. We roll all of that into a single solution providing defaults that work for everyone. We provide tools without people having to ask for them.
  • Failure to define the initial goals, starting small, and then scaling. Roll out all at once versus investing the time in a focused effort for success.
  • Security is certainly one. The DevOps aspects of our operations were one of the biggest areas of discussion with our SOC2 auditors and required very careful consideration of controls.

Here’s who we talked to:

  • Gil Sever, CEO, Applitools
  • Mike Tria, Head of Infrastructure, Atlassian
  • John Trembley, CMO and Scott Harvey, V.P. Engineering, Atmosera
  • Aruna Ravichandran, VP DevOps Products and Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies
  • Flint Brenton, CEO, Collabnet
  • Tom Hearn, Data Center Architect, Datalink
  • Shehan Akmeemana, CTO, Data Dynamics
  • Robert Reeves, Co-founder and CTO, Datical
  • Anders Wallgren, CTO, Electric Cloud
  • Job van der Voort, Vice President of Product, GitLab
  • Ben Slater, Chief Product Officer, Instaclustr
  • Ilya Pupko, Chief Architect, Jitterbit
  • Tom Joyce, CEO, Pensa
  • Stephanos Bacon, Chief of Product, Portfolio Strategy for Application Platforms, Red Hat
  • Michael Mazyar, CTO, Samanage
  • Eric Wahl, IT Director and John Joseph, Vice President of Marketing, Scribe Software
  • Manish Gupta, CEO and Founder, ShiftLeft
  • Martin Loewinger, Director of SaaS Operations and Jonathan Parrilla, DevOps Engineer, SmartBear
  • Chris McFadden, V.P. Engineering and Operations, SparkPost
architecture, devops, digital transformation, it, security

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}