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DevOps Journal: Article

DevOps – Getting the Most From It

So exactly how do you kick start a DevOps strategy?

So exactly how do you kick start a DevOps strategy? For example, say your organization is tied down to a very sequential, but cumbersome Waterfall approach to software development that is wasting precious dollars and hindering productivity? In the following we’ve outlined some strategy tips that every business leader will need to consider as they start down the path of DevOps adoption.

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Get Executive Buy-In
Whatever steps your organization takes on the DevOps path of rolling out software faster and more effectively and deployment will require the support of your senior level management team. Explain the advantages of DevOps to the executive team in terms that they can easily understand. Provide an outline of how DevOps and cloud computing can save on ROI and get your new mobile application into the hands of the customer faster and more effectively with higher quality.

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Bring together business owners of Development and Operations together and setup a demonstration of some cloud-based testing and automation tools that can show cost savings. This can and probably should involve a series of meetings. Create several weekly lunch and learns for the executive team. Be creative but ensure that the message gets across that DevOps is about saving the organization time and money!

Build a DevOps RoadMap
In order to implement DevOps effectively, you’ll need to organize your strategy and outline the scope and approach. In the process, ask yourself what is the endgame, what do you want to achieve in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years? Obviously, you want to produce higher quality products and services faster and more efficiently, but you’ll need to wrap some context around that. To monitor your progress on the path to DevOps, pay attention to these KPIs:

  • Time to set up an environment
  • Time from change request to release
  • Number of deployments per week or month
  • Mean time to resolution

As you organize your roadmap document, keep an eye on use cases of what other organizations have done. Also keep in mind that your roadmap is going to relate to people, process, and technology working in unison and harmony. It’s meant to be a dynamic document, not a static one written in stone. Keep it updated and iterate often as you and your team develop new insights.

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Transforming the Culture
DevOps is not just about technology but it’s about people and process. It’s about effective collaboration and communication across the organization. All of this gets at the importance of culture and cultural practices. Old habits die hard and if your organization is steeped in long-standing, traditional enterprise approaches to software development, then moving the needle on efficiency will obviously take longer.

As one source has well said, “You can’t directly change culture. But you can change behavior, and behavior becomes culture.” Start by creating an environment in which innovation and brainstorming are welcomed practices. Reward people for their ideas. Host a monthly innovation contest by providing a free lunch or $50 gift certificate to whoever finds the best solution to a manual, time-consuming process.

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Automate, Automate, Automate!
The benefit of automating the testing and deployment process hardly needs explanation. With just a few clicks a continuous integration tool will run a series of unit tests, deploy the code to a new server, and then carry out a series of integration tests. The obvious takeaway is that continuous integration automation reduces cost and increases efficiency so that developers can spend their time writing code instead of tracking and fixing bugs.

Developing the ability to automate an organization’s infrastructure may seem like the most daunting of tasks, and it’s at this point that companies usually become their own worst enemy. However, there are a significant number of automation tools on the market now that can help make your build, test, monitoring, and deployment process efficient and effective. A tool like Monitis can give your organization a jump start on your DevOps strategy by providing continual performance, testing, and monitoring updates for your infrastructure.

Realize DevOps takes Time
There is no quick fix solution to creating a DevOps environment; it takes time to get key stakeholders onboard and to change policies and practices. Be persistent though and the dividends will pay off!

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DevOps is an epic transformation in the world of IT that is creating a host of new opportunities for businesses to become more agile and efficient in the delivery of their products and services. If followed through, the foregoing strategies can dramatically save your organization significant amounts of time and money while boosting efficiency at all levels. The DevOps train is leaving the station, but it’s not too late to get onboard. Get started today to see the differences DevOps can make in the level and quality of your business practices.

More Stories By Hovhannes Avoyan

Hovhannes Avoyan is the CEO of Monitis, Inc., a provider of on-demand systems management and monitoring software to 50,000 users spanning small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to Monitis, he served as General Manager and Director of Development at prominent web portal Lycos Europe, where he grew the Lycos Armenia group from 30 people to over 200, making it the company's largest development center. Prior to Lycos, Avoyan was VP of Technology at Brience, Inc. (based in San Francisco and acquired by Syniverse), which delivered mobile internet content solutions to companies like Cisco, Ingram Micro, Washington Mutual, Wyndham Hotels , T-Mobile , and CNN. Prior to that, he served as the founder and CEO of CEDIT ltd., which was acquired by Brience. A 24 year veteran of the software industry, he also runs Sourcio cjsc, an IT consulting company and startup incubator specializing in web 2.0 products and open-source technologies.

Hovhannes is a senior lecturer at the American Univeristy of Armenia and has been a visiting lecturer at San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of Bertelsmann University.