6 Signs your Company is Missing out on DevOps and the Reasons behind it

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Imprecise implementation or Cultural misinterpretation may have you missing the true benefits of DevOps

DevOps is a huge buzzword in software engineering. Often seen as a panacea for organizations of all sizes and industries, DevOps has shown to reduce bugs, improve quality, and shorten development cycles. The DevOps movement combines a technology and culture shift and strives to transform the software development, production, and operational lifecycles.

Now more than ever, companies latch onto DevOps, especially after observing companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Target accredit their success to its implementation.

But is it right for every business? Companies that do it successfully can reap the benefits of automation, continuous deployment, and testing, but companies that fail are left with plenty of inefficiencies as a result.

So how can you tell if your company doesn’t get the most out of DevOps? I’ve summarized my experience of 5+ years working in a DevOps consulting services company, and I will answer all of your questions. Here are 5 signs that you aren’t doing DevOps the right way and how to address them:

1.   You don’t use your “Right” tools

First, I should probably clarify that “the right tools in DevOps” is a relative concept that is based entirely on your processes and environments. Essentially, DevOps tools are a must. DevOps is impossible without the right tech stack. Tools are key to security, automation, testing, collaboration, etc.

When assessing if you are using the right tools you need to focus on the ease of pushing the code to production and the complexity of your QA process. Some of the questions you want to ask yourself are:

  • Do you build and deploy new applications in the easiest way possible?
  • Can you scale up and down dynamically whenever you need it?
  • Is your testing quick and efficient?

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If your honest answers to these questions are no, then I may advise you to reconsider your toolkit. DevOps tools definitely aren’t a “one size fits all” thing in reality. You may even need to consult with a DevOps services provider, but in the end, you will be surprised by the difference the right tools make and what a “business enabler” they actually are.

2.    You perceive DevOps as Continuous Delivery

It is a well-known fact that the implementation of DevOps eases quicker deployment. But speed shouldn’t be your only goal. Some businesses focus entirely on release velocity and neglect the code improvement that comes with it.

DevOps isn’t just continuous delivery: it is a transformational approach that brings many benefits and strives to deliver an agile, stable and scalable system. It cannot be achieved overnight and requires time and dedication to unleash its full potential. Automation processes need to be built carefully to ensure the groundwork is stable, and flawed code doesn’t slip through the cracks. A stable environment is a foundation for improvements.

3.   Manual testing is still a thing: Lack of Automation

It is obvious that some key business areas still require manual testings. Even so, most of your processes must be automated. Manual testings are time-consuming, respectively expensive, they are prone to human errors being made and they most likely divert you from the progress you want to achieve dynamically.

In fact, I will be clear on this one: Anything that can be automated must be automated.

4.   Your “Frequent” releases aren’t that frequent

If your company releases code changes every now and then, you’re mishandling DevOps – no matter how small the changes or how quickly you make them.

DevOps is well known for concepts such as Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment.  Moreover, it’s about sending code to production as often as possible through continuous deployment.

Your goal consists of code that goes through automated pre-check-in tests before being passed to another round of tests to ensure that the code is ready for production. Finally, that code goes live on production automatically if and when fully approved.

Setting up for frequent releases from the early stages is the backbone of the risk reduction approach.

5.   Your deployment pipelines don’t fail

Are you confused? Let me explain.

If most of your deployments succeed in dev/QA/staging, then something isn’t quite right. That may point to two scenarios: either your deployment pipelines aren’t properly integrated with your existing toolsets, or they lack basic test coverage. If you’ve already invested in quality DevOps tools, then leverage them to receive insights into your pipelines.

The good DevOps approach doesn’t mean it has the perfect resume for every single deployment. It means that tons of deployments are being sent and whenever a failed one gets detected it doesn’t affect the customer. Continuous Delivery is test automation, the right tools, and the art of detecting and verifying deployments.

6.   DevOps is separated across teams

The DevOps success rate is measured by three Cs: connectivity, communication, and collaboration between different teams. If you try to restrict DevOps to a separate department of your company, without bringing current Dev and Ops teams together, is a big red flag. Even when you’re using external suppliers for development and operations services, they must work together to achieve the common goal, not remain in silos. And I can assure you, this works! You must ensure the company is ready for this cultural and technological shift, for DevOps isn’t just a sideline.

A comprehensive DevOps transformation contributes both agility and flexibility. This is especially useful when scaling up your business, and it transforms your day-to-day operations. Moreover, if implemented efficiently, DevOps best practices increase collaboration across departments and smoother workload.

Despite all benefits, if DevOps’s cultural philosophy isn’t accepted wholeheartedly throughout all departments, that may hold serious holdback to exponential business growth. If you misapply DevOps, chances are you misapply its culture.

The shift towards the DevOps cultural mindset takes patience, and hard work, and is fruitful for those who are willing to make it work.

And are you making the most of DevOps? Let me know in the comments.

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Mihail Vukadinoff is CTO and Co-founder of ITGix, a DevOps Services Provider company. He has extensive knowledge in engineering, consulting, and delivery of DevOps, Professional Services, Managed Services, and Cloud solutions. He is an innovation seeker and big tech enthusiast. He lectures in Universities around the country. He is eager to help companies and startups design best-fit digitalization strategies, suggest effective business models, build and develop their products.

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