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There is no magic recipe to adopting DevOps

Gabriel Vasquez


September 28th, 2018

While over the past five years we have seen more and more organizations of every size trying to adopt DevOps practices, we’re still expecting adoption rates to continue to rise in the future. We have not yet reached “peak Devops”. The motivations behind this comes from the need to reduce time to market, deliver better quality software, reduce operational costs, and ultimately improve productivity and stay competitive.

More enterprises are changing their business models by digitizing their business processes. We’re also seeing increased adoption of cloud technologies, agile frameworks, and disruptive technologies. But these factors will not lead to an accelerated software development lifecycle, if organizations don’t prioritize better collaboration between people (no matter what area they belong to).

Successfully implementing DevOps practices is not easy. Depending on the company’s size it can take several months or even years. Most of these enterprises are learning what it takes to transform their organization to DevOps. From our experience it takes several elements, but most importantly, engaged leadership is one of the most essential aspects for successful DevOps transformations. This leadership support will help organizations create dynamic and flexible business processes that eliminate traditional silos. This means that multiples teams can work together in a collaborative way, making seamless workflows that accelerate the software development lifecycle and improve ongoing product maintenance. Such workflows bring tangible benefits, such as being able to rapidly respond to changing customer demands, and developing better quality software faster.

There is no magic recipe to adopting DevOps

Implementing DevOps is unique to every company

However, when talking about what it takes to adopt DevOps, we have to understand that there is no magic recipe that works for all. Every company has its own unique history, culture, and way of working, and thus will implement DevOps differently. This is particularly the case because DevOps is really an amalgamation of different factors – from technology, automation, to creating lean work processes, to creating a culture of sharing between teams and individuals that were traditionally siloed.

In 2019 organizations will look to scaling initial DevOps initiatives

Very similar to what we have seen with the adoption of Agile development, most organizations have experimented with DevOps or have launched a small-scale pilot. They are aware of DevOps and the benefits it can bring. The challenge going into 2019, for the vast majority of businesses, is how to scale these pilots enterprise-wide. For example, in their 2017 survey on DevOps, Forrester Research found that while just 13% of organizations had fully implemented it, 50% had started their implementation and were expanding their use of DevOps. We’re very much still on the journey to implementing DevOps practices. For example, with many of the organizations that we work with, while they are now using automation tools to get closer to continuous integration and continuous delivery capabilities, there is still potential to use automation to a greater extent.

There also exists a split in the types of applications that organizations are currently using DevOps for. Again, an interesting study by Forrester Research showed that in 2017, while 68% of organizations stated they were already using DevOps practices for building and deploying mobile applications, this percentage dropped to 56% for ecommerce website. I also believe that organizations need to improve how they measure DevOps success – can they create metrics, such as level of innovation, or tie success directly to product revenue or process efficiency?

As we look forward to 2019, more than ever business leaders will find value in looking at the best practices that companies have already developed on their DevOps journey. But we can’t forget, that while two organizations may use the same automation tool, they will have very different cultures and way of working, with different goals and objectives. That’s why DevOps takes so long to implement, and represents a fundamental shift in how most organizations create, deliver, and maintain software.

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