If you’re managing IT operations, you’ve heard that DevOps has the power to help IT move faster, scale up quickly with less pain, and boost efficiency. Now you may be thinking about how DevOps might help you and your team cope with the increasing pace and quantity of work coming your way. Gareth Rushgrove’s paper about DevOps offers insights and tips for managers from his experience working in operations and in software development teams. Here are a few highlights around why DevOps is good for ops teams.
Customers are more demanding than ever, and you’re being asked to keep up with (and ultimately, surpass) your organization’s competitors. DevOps is about extending the advantages of agile software development practices into operations, and indeed to other technology-driven departments.
Where ops teams using one-off scripts, spreadsheets and manual configuration are struggling just to keep up with normal maintenance — let alone cope with a faster pace of deployment — teams that adopt some of the agile practices traditionally used in software development find they can deploy fixes and new features much faster. That pleases their colleagues, and their business managers, too.
The explosion of software as a service and infrastructure as a service — along the trend to digitize more processes — is spawning more and more computers and services. With greater compute power, however, comes greater responsibility — these computers, devices and services need to be managed, maintained, secured and monitored. DevOps methodologies can help you scale faster and more efficiently through automation, and even (eventually) creation of self-service for development (and other departments).
Ops teams are charged with keeping systems stable and reliable, while dev teams are charged with — and rewarded for — getting new products and features out to market faster. Devs aren’t the only people required to do things faster; sales, accounting, customer service and other teams can feel equally pressured to produce more, and faster. This can lead to dev and other teams turning to SaaS companies, or setting something up themselves. These self-provided services bypass IT’s control, becoming what’s known as shadow IT.
DevOps culture encourages teams to understand each other’s needs. Instead of enforcing restrictive server provisioning processes, Ops can set parameters for using public cloud and other SaaS services that devs and other teams want to use. That puts Ops in a completely different role: Rather than being seen as an impediment, Ops can be regarded as a helper, freeing colleagues on other teams to do their work efficiently, while keeping the organization’s data safe and its IT spending under control.
Avoiding the blame game
Everyone has war stories about the development team completing a new application or website and heading off to celebrate, leaving operations to work things out at the last minute. The immediate reaction — to blame cowboy developers — isn’t really fair, though. The devs were incentivized to meet their deadline, and so their motivations and workflow just aren’t aligned with Ops’ motivations and workflow. The result is a negative feedback cycle and lack of empathy between the teams.
A core element of DevOps is alignment of each group’s work with the strategy and mission of the organization. That means the ops team working closely with dev from the start of the project so Ops understands what’s needed throughout the development process, and can work closely with the developers. Devs will know what Ops needs from them, too, and will have no excuse for just tossing code over the wall to be deployed.
DevOps is the answer
If you want to deliver better software faster, scale quickly and easily, avoid the pitfalls of shadow IT, and enjoy better relationships with your colleagues on other teams, DevOps can help. Bringing Dev and Ops together will remove roadblocks, encourage new modes of thinking and more collaborative practices — and help you deliver better products.