Given how dynamic the business environment is, it has become almost impossible for businesses to stay afloat without adopting an agile methodology. The market dynamics keep changing, there’s always a new way of doing things through emerging technologies, customer expectations have never remained the same for a moment, while business regulations and best practices keep wearing a new face. Agility is the wheel that drives companies to respond promptly and accordingly to the constant changes in the business environment.
In the process of trying to keep up with market dynamics, companies are also thinking about delivering high-value products and services to their customers fast and efficiently. Thus, businesses are adopting DevOps alongside the Agile methodology to achieve this objective. While a DevOps certification is an important credential for DevOps team professionals, the DevOps culture takes more than coursework. It is built from the inside of one who is willing to embrace a culture shift.
What is DevOps?
DevOps can be defined in two ways, collaboration and culture. As collaboration and from the root words development and operations, DevOps is a methodology aimed at unifying IT development and operations teams to work together as a team. Developers write codes and updates and the operations team deploys them to the production environment in a collaborative approach. This way, the operations team gives feedback about the code that the development team implements to improve the product thus in a streamlined workflow, a high-quality product is developed without the unnecessary back and forth associated with the two teams working independently.
Secondly, DevOps is a culture founded on principles and best practices aimed at increasing collaboration, communication, and transparency between software development and operations teams. Away from merely focusing on the tools, frameworks, approaches like automated testing and continuous delivery although these too are important. The DevOps culture requires a change of mindset, a cultural shift to developing a shared understanding, and having a shared responsibility for the product being developed.
DevOps principles that build a successful DevOps culture
The main objective of DevOps is to develop high-quality products faster and more efficiently by building small iterations of the product and improving on it incrementally. This approach to building a product can be successful where a DevOps culture has been nurtured. Achieving a DevOps culture takes time and effort. The first step towards this achievement is to create a collaborative environment for the development and operations teams. Here are four DevOps principles that help in building a DevOps culture.
1. Foster a collaborative environment
First things first, the software is an IT product rather than a service and it takes teamwork right from the top executives down to the development and operations team members to build one. Thus, how efficiently a product will be built and its quality will greatly depend on the communication, collaboration, and transparency of the team members in working towards a common business goal. A collaborative environment aligns the development and operations teams with the tools and processes that a company implements for building and deploying the product. To foster such an environment, it is important to define roles and responsibilities, rules of engagement, and a single flow of communication, while also creating time for retrospection. Finally, the buy-in of the executive is important to the success of creating a collaborative environment.
2. Customer centrism
DevOps incorporates the agile methodology in which solutions are built into small iterative cycles. Through the release and integration of every iteration into the main unit, customer or end-user feedback is taken into account and incorporated into the product before building the next iteration. This results in continuous improvement throughout the product development cycle as well as an end-product that meets client needs functionally and delivers customer value. Also, it helps the DevOps team to focus only on features of a solution that deliver value. Continuous innovation and improvement are at the center of a DevOps culture.
3. Continuous improvement
As we have seen above, continuous improvement and focus on customer needs work hand-in-hand. Continuous improvement is key to building the DevOps culture for many other reasons. It helps reduce development costs, lower error rate and waste, while also reducing time-to-market. A culture of continuous improvement motivated DevOps teams to innovate better ways of software development and delivery. They will be spurred to constantly think about how to improve an IT solution in terms of perfomance and reliability. It is about releasing code and features early enough to have ample time to monitor its perfomance to gain insight that will help improve the solution.
4. End-to-end responsibility
DevOps breaks the culture where IT products are built and handed over to the operations team for deployment and maintenance. In DevOps, all team members are part of the process from the development of code to its deployment in other words, from concept to grave. Roles are not separated hence even after the solution has been deployed, both teams work in tandem to offer maintenance and performance support right to the end of life of the product. In essence, there is a higher level of accountability and responsibility for the product by all team members from start to end. This greatly contributes to high-quality products and eliminates the inefficiencies associated with teams working independently and only being responsible for their specific roles.
DevOps is entrenched in seven principles. However, the four principles that we have discussed in this article are key to building the DevOps culture. The focus on aligning the people, processes, and tools into one streamlined workflow. Cultivating the DevOps culture is a continuous affair that should trickle down from the top executives of the company to the DevOps team and other company staff. A culture cuts across the entire organization.