The benefits of nurturing a DevOps culture

  • Posted on March 24, 2015

If you’ve been in the software industry for any length of time, you will have first-hand experience of ‘the wall’ that often exists between development and operations teams.  In many organizations, the wall has well-oiled machinery that helps shepherd solutions from test into production, but also has the unfortunate effect of segmenting skills, objectives and responsibilities.

DevOps has been called many things: a philosophy, an approach, a way of working, a method, a team, a capability, a movement. The list goes on. We choose to call it a culture, defined by the relationship between development and operations roles.  But why these roles in particular?

The growing adoption of Agile development techniques has greatly improved the speed with which solutions are being developed and made ready for deployment.  This rapid lifecycle, however, grinds to a halt when it comes to ‘the wall’.  Even with well-oiled machinery, there are still established processes that need to be considered before a solution or update can be deployed.

That’s the development team view.  From the operations side of the wall we have a different view.  Operation teams are concerned with the stability of the production environment and the ability to transfer knowledge and absorb additional maintenance effort that a new solution may bring.  These processes exist to ensure quality a proper handover takes place.

The conclusion is that ‘the wall’ exists due to the lack of interaction between development and operations teams before the moment of deployment.

Think about it.  At the point a solution is ready to deploy and even before it is actually deployed, the code itself doesn't change. The code-quality has been verified and the deployment scripts are already in place and have been tested in a production-like environment.  Any dependencies or data migration efforts have been planned and are ready to execute.  So, why the big delay?  And why can we only deploy every three months or so?

The DevOps culture is based on an improved collaborative relationship between the development and operational roles that helps remove any need to pause between the moment a solution is ready for deployment and the actual deployment.  This is the culture that has allowed companies like Amazon and Netflix to scale their deployments to thousands per day and it is the culture that has allowed high performance organizations to get ahead of their competition by conceiving, building and deploying new products in a matter of weeks, rather than months.

It is probably an understatement to say that not every application needs thousands or even one deployment per day, but the benefits that the DevOps culture can deliver can be valuable to everyone, even for the project that is planning on deploying only once, ever.

This is just deployment but DevOps can enable so much more.  In this series of posts, I’ll be looking at the high performance capabilities that DevOps unlocks and how they can transform your business. I will also take a look at the path to DevOps and the foundational skills and behaviors that need to be established before you can unlock that value. Lastly, I will examine DevOps as a business enabler and how Avanade has embraced the culture to help our customers accelerate their DevOps transformation.

This blog post is part of a series about DevOps by author David Jobling. Check back to read the latest installment.

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