How To Kick-Off A DevOps Initiative?

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In the software development world where agile processes have become more important than ever, DevOps is emerging Agile’s faster, shinier, avatar. Known for shortening the software development cycle and maintaining a consistently high quality of software delivery by liaising between the development, testing, and operational teams, DevOps has become the darling of software development. There is no denying that DevOps can help drive business transformation at a rapid pace.

The primary goal of a DevOps initiative is to improve time to market, reduce costs, minimize errors and bugs, and create a stable operational environment. But as businesses embark on this journey of undergoing a DevOps transformation, they may encounter a set of challenges. Addressing them may end up defining the success of the implementation.

According to a study in 2018, worldwide DevOps adoption among software teams increased to 17% from the previous year’s 10% and this growth continues. But it was also noted that 15% of the companies were considering the adoption but something was holding them back.

Since a DevOps initiative makes changes to the core of the business process, being mindful of the DevOps journey is not just wise but a necessary first stage.

Let’s learn how you can map out and ensure a successful DevOps initiative by understanding your current business processes and tailoring them to fit within the DevOps principles.

How to kick off a DevOps initiative

1. Prepare for the cultural change

DevOps is an organizational change- there’s no ignoring that. Since it resets and redesigns the end-to-end delivery model, a cultural change that helps in a swift transition towards DevOps is imperative. Introducing cumbersome policies and time-consuming learning materials will hinder, not help. It requires the cooperation, coordination, and transformation of all layers of the workforce. And for this to happen in harmony, preparing for the cultural change with a dedicated change management team, a domain expert to guide through the various stages of adoption and extensive knowledge transfer to improve the understanding of business processes and responsiveness towards business needs is crucial.

2. Provision infrastructure towards automation

Once your organization is prepared for the change culturally, what next? The current business infrastructure may not necessarily be sufficient to cater to the automation that DevOps ushers in. Mapping the requirement of the infrastructure by understanding the current state of devices and systems, building it, and making it automation-ready is the next step in your DevOps adoption plan. Automating infrastructure provisioning, choosing the right tools, appropriate infrastructure, and smoothly migrating the classical operations-based infrastructure to a fully-automated environment should be the key points of action at this stage of your DevOps initiative.

3. Product ideation & launch

While the infrastructure is being created, it is important to identify the business goals and the exact pain points to be “fixed” the key measurement parameters and the associated risks. This helps in creating a plan for actual product development. The key stakeholders have to be involved to ensure regressive groundwork, continuous integration and delivery. With a DevOps-ready infrastructure, the production team will then be able to take the ‘build and run’ approach, make quick iterations and an automated deployment platform can be created.

4. Continuous testing

One of the important upsides of going the DevOps way is achieving error-free code. And to ensure this, continuous testing must be implemented at all stages. In DevOps, testing is essentially an integral part of the development and has to work in synergy with the production to arrest downtime and keep the time between check-in and releases, minimal. The DevOps (or DevTestOps) team has to undertake Smoke, Manual, Regression, Adhoc, and Exploratory Testing to troubleshoot errors and bugs continuously, and on the same entity as development and deployment.

5. Monitoring performance

It is important to set up monitoring and log analysis tools to measure the development velocity, number of code changes, number of bugs and errors, the severity and the MTTR (mean time to repair) to understand whether the current DevOps plan is working or not. Along with these metrics, it is also necessary to measure infrastructural efficiency and server health. Having insights into resource usage, application performance, and adherence to regulatory compliances is equally important.

How to make it work…

The above-mentioned pointers can be a great starting point for your DevOps initiatives. While the results of DevOps adoption seem fascinating, the journey is no cakewalk without professional handholding. DevOps has evolved from simply being a methodology. But for it to really work for you, the most efficient route is to choose a DevOps adoption partner who can help in setting up the infrastructure, driving the cultural change as well as the ideation and launch to providing essential tools for testing and monitoring.

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