DevOps as we know it is an amalgamation of Development and Operations. It emphasizes better collaboration between teams and tighter integration of tools that ultimately lead to valued process mapping.
However, have you ever wondered why at some point or another, most organizations stumble when trying to implement DevOps? Why many quit the journey halfway?
Over the years, DevOps has gained global recognition among IT professionals and experts who have not only given it a thought but have also gone a step ahead to implement it within their organizations, leaving behind manual interventions and working towards an automated synced world.
You could easily identify automation as one of the major pillars of this movement. However, despite its widespread popularity, why does DevOps implementation continue to remain a challenge for some? Let us look into some of the challenges faced during implementation.
The core challenges in a DevOps implementation
Speaking in terms of technological goals, even though we are well aware of the fact that DevOps aims to achieve the ultimate in automation and integration, practical implementation of it is still a far cry. Implementing new schools of thought has always been a struggle, even if it is about replacing older methods with newer ones. Here are some of the challenges that people often face during DevOps implementation.
1. Lack of a Standard Definition for DevOps
Most people are still not aware of the actual meaning of DevOps, let alone the motto behind it, or for that matter, the benefits of using it.
In addition, some tend to believe in the notion that DevOps overrules other existing methodologies like Scrum and Kanban that are practiced in most industries. This is not so.
The fact is that DevOps helps to improve the execution of these existing methodologies. Hence, lack of proper understanding can often make implementation of new methodologies risky. It gives rise to new problems that could affect the implementation of a stable process throughout the organization.
2. Dearth of Vision
Without a proper definition of the problem or solution, it is very difficult to have a vision. Thus, when analysts get used to a process, they start following a certain path specific to managing things. Despite that, at some point in time, they too are stuck in a circle.
It becomes very difficult to break this ambiguous circle, be more receptive to current scenarios, and discover newer methods for betterment – all at the same time!
Without a proper plan, it is impossible to achieve a stable and profitable output. Lack of vision makes it challenging for project owners to create a clear-cut plan when it comes to deciding an estimate, milestones, and deliverables, to name a few.
Analysts often find it risky because there are only a handful of people who have expertise in this domain, compared to the number of tools that are available in the market. This could often give rise to confusion when it comes to proper implementation, ultimately leading to an exponential increase in the risk factor.
3. Shortage of Tool Knowledge
DevOps has introduced the principles of continuous deployment, continuous testing, and collaborative reporting. However, since most people prefer to continue work with legacy tools, getting accustomed to the functionalities of the latest tools is often a difficult job, especially when it comes to getting a grip on the changes made to the architecture based on cloud and on-premises during the process.
A shortage of tool knowledge often leads organizations into making faulty choices of tools that would best align with their technical vision.
4. Choice of Tools
There are plenty of tools available on the market. However, it becomes difficult to choose a tool when we lack the proper knowledge about the technology behind it. All these make the idea of implementation of a DevOps scenario extremely difficult.
5. Lack of Tool Integration
Continuous integration is one of the pillars of DevOps methodology. In order to make Build, Deploy, and Test work together in a continuous form, we need the tools to be properly integrated.
However, the crux of the matter is how to get the tools integrated. That is because integrating tools belonging to various domains on one common platform is a big challenge.
6. Cultural Challenges
The biggest challenge here is the disposal of legacy methods and the adaptation of new ones. Of course, one can always prefer to continue following the conventional methodologies as long as the outcome is good at the end of the day.
On the contrary, if the outcome is poor, or for that matter, if you realize that your job demands many manual interventions, then it would be best to realize that this could hamper the overall rate of productivity and lead to an adverse effect in the long run.
7. Isolated Teams
Development and Operations have their own challenges. While developers are constantly writing pieces of code in order to build a system, testers perform a thorough analysis to ensure product stability before the final delivery to the customer.
You can see there lies a big gap between teams. Both Dev and Ops work in silos, leading to a lack of transparency and poor teamwork.
8. Risk Analysis
We know how difficult it is to disrupt age-old methodologies and replace them with new ones. When it comes to risk analysis, business analysts design their dashboards by scaling hundreds of reports. This is done based on certain calculations. Most of the time, it is easy to start but tough to scale. That is, after putting things into action, workers often face the trouble of trying to keep the pace steady. Thus, adopting a new methodology involves risks to a great extent.
9. Scarcity of SMEs
DevOps is a methodology that is fresh in the market. Hence, it is difficult to find members who have adequate expertise in this field. Due to this fact, most of the challenges are intimidating for companies following a streamlined set of guidelines.
In addition, the absence of a strong DevOps development team at the center or lack of pre-defined KPIs can often make conditions miserable for employees.
“Is there any other way to overcome these shortcomings?” you might end up asking after going through the above challenges.
It is indeed possible. Let us see how.
Time to face the challenges – Give it a go!
- Proper training and focus – With knowledge comes vision and expertise. Lack of vision can be easily handled when one has an idea about the goals and how to achieve it. Proper guidance and training can make people realize the urgency of adopting the latest culture to hit a home run!
- Bringing teams together – With collaboration between teams comes productivity. Would it not be a constant process had the role of building code by developers and checking code quality by testers become a single transparent job? It is only possible when both the teams work together in constant collaboration. This will give rise to better visibility, easy tracking of changes, and augmented productivity. Keeping transformational leadership in mind, the idea of working in a collaborative manner across multiple teams can help us embrace DevOps and achieve our goal. Breaking cultural barriers and making the teams work together can pave the way for business expansion.
- Flexible tool orchestration options – The best way to omit the problem of tool integration is to find the right options for tool orchestration. Cloud sandboxes, for example, can be used to automate the tool environments. You could also find Enterprise Service Bus platforms, Kovair for instance, which can offer you the advantage of an integrated framework with multiple diversified tool support (hybrid and homegrown) including integration adapters for 80+ tools. With such flexible options, automation has become a cakewalk.
- Power of analytics – Integration of tools can help us gather relevant data and put them into one central repository. There are tools that can help in the creation of useful reports and metrics out of the accumulated data using specific parameters like deployment frequency, the percentage change in user volume, percentage change in customer ticket volume, percentage of passed and failed deployments for a particular time period. This helps to achieve complete end-to-end traceability for the entire process.
Are you worried about the budget?
When talking about a centralized automated platform with complete transparency across teams, intelligent monitoring process, and less time consumption, DevOps is the best option for increased productivity. It is high time that we take a step towards budget expansion.
Stop thinking and start acting – The big plan
Achieving continuous deployment, testing and monitoring with cross-team visibility in one shot is impossible without DevOps. However, cultural hindrances and lack of proper tool knowledge have prevented many organizations from realizing the true potentiality of DevOps. The key to resolving this issue is to be aware of them in order to gain a strong knowledge base, an extended vision, and learn to adopt the DevOps way of thinking that will help to implement a complete automated integrated framework and subsequently strengthen business verticals!
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I will argue this point: DevOps is nothing more than a re-embrace of fast implementation without careful testing/auditing (pre-2003?). To speak of a transparency issue between Development and Testing means that the Business Analyst has not communicated fully what the business rules/requirements or user story/acceptance tests should be. There should be no guessing as to what the expectations are if everything is written out clearly. If those rules or stories are specific enough then the only issue is whether developers skip or move too fast in getting their code out. That is where careful testing is needed. (Even with automated testing there is a limit of it working well because the code changes all of the time so the automation steps need to be in turn updated all of the time.) Another item to be aware of is this: When the DevOps concept came out in 2008 we were starting to see an explosion of phone applets so the need to move quickly was and still remains a priority. There is a difference however between an applet and an application. A faster development/testing/implemenation approach certainly can happen with applets but applications can be a different animal entirely.
Hi Troy, Thanks for the response. Definitely, second your opinion.
Talking about communication gaps/ miscommunications between teams, it can be absolutely lessened when the tools used by different teams (Analysts/Dev/Testers/TechSupport) are automated so that information is in sync.If the scope and expectations are mentioned well at the first instance itself and if the same information is sync within all the teams, there is a lesser risk of issues cropping up later during the implementation phase. In this case, we are mainly focusing on the final goal which DevOps leads to ie. helps in achieving “Faster Marketing”. When the entire process is well defined and it becomes quicker, there is lesser time and money consumption, which in turn leads to increased profits of the organisation.
And yes, DevOps obviously works best for applets. However, during the past few years, we can also see a noticeable change in application implementations as well using DevOps.
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