It is quite obvious for the DevOps movement to have found ample traction and adoption by businesses as agility is the most widely sought after goal for businesses these days. The 2018 State of DevOps Report indicated that high performing organizations practicing DevOps spent 21% less time on unplanned work and unnecessary rework, and 44% more time on exploring a new area of work compared to their peers.
DevOps helps in moving out of traditional silos and focusing on increased collaboration and communication. This is one of the crucial facets that lend itself to better and functional business outcomes within organizations. DevOps provides an environment for developers to work closely and in tandem with the operations team thereby keeping the key stakeholders involved in the entire software delivery process.
To begin with, let’s define what DevOps is. As a cross-functional approach to software development, DevOps seeks to make a sustainable combination of two distinct parts of the software development process, namely, development and operations or infrastructure management. It could also be termed as a byproduct of organizational streamlining to seek the goals of flexibility and efficiency. An ever-growing, sprawling organization that use too many resources can cause a breakdown in the overall flexibility of the development team. Organizational streamlining paves the way for many benefits across the entire stakeholder channel.
What prompted the development of DevOps? Where it all began!
According to Patrick Debois, one of the minds behind the movement, the DevOps environment was a well-thought-out reaction against some of the common problems that the IT industry faces. One of the main problems is the siloing of team members and the work they do. There is also uncertainty, whether it is in trying out a fresh approach or simply deploying changes. It is difficult to spot defects and address them and to check whether this affects the other teams. This gives rise to a number of bottlenecks within the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
A DevOps environment works towards addressing these challenges. It allows IT operations and development teams to collaborate and create an environment characterized by a unified team with a multidisciplinary skill set.
Benefits of using DevOps
DevOps is fast becoming one of the most recommended development approaches for business development in both big-sized firms as well as startups. There are several benefits to implementing DevOps tactics at your organization. The fact that industry bigwigs such as Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter have gone the DevOps way is telling enough that it doesn’t hurt to explore the possibility of adopting lean DevOps approach to your SDLC.
The benefits of using DevOps may be viewed both in terms of providing technical advantages as well as adding significant value to the scope of business operations.
Improved time to market
In a world characterized by a frenzy for immediate and quick results, the pressure to deliver software faster and meet the challenges of an ever-evolving market is constantly present. To address this sense of urgency and explore progressive ways of getting a task done, DevOps facilitates close collaboration and transparent communication between cross-functional teams thus creating a powerful and short feedback loop. Through the application of Agile principles, DevOps enables quick adaptation to dynamic market needs thus enabling frequent release cycles for products. This, in turn, helps in building a more efficient and sustainable product/software development life cycle that results in improved ROI. Jez Humble, Nicole Forsgren, and Gene Kim have published research showing high-performing DevOps organizations were twice as likely to exceed profitability and market share goals than those not using DevOps.
A wide range of flexibility
By bringing together different aspects of a business into a single and seamless platform, DevOps leverages the brainpower of the entire organization to resolve issues more quickly. This precludes the waiting period for the relevant team to fix a problem and engages both technical and management personnel with a single unified approach that aligns with the overall organizational objective. The team is able to understand the whole process end-to-end and see where it can be tweaked and improved. This kind of flexibility is usually not viable in a traditional waterfall methodology whose reliance on distinct teams’ functionality and expertise is more pronounced, thereby highlighting the important line between Dev and Ops.
Increased visibility and transparency
Adoption of DevOps in an organization directly translates to increased product releases across intermittent phases. This creates a greater sense of visibility and enables the demonstration of that software to stakeholders. As a result of this unique proposition, managers see a much more accurate view of many things, including progress (percent of functionality completed) and whether the product can meet expectations and quality. A DevOps environment also cuts down on the uncertainty quotient along with improving visibility. Teams now have a clearer and more comprehensive view to address issues and generate solutions. The error or bug is assigned to the right person, who in turn addresses it with increased accountability and more responsibility.
Continuous service delivery
Since continuous delivery reduces the severity of potential problems, it also tends to result in greater stability. A Puppet survey indicated that high-performing DevOps organizations recovered from downtime 96 times faster and also experienced breaking changes five times less often. Continuous integration and Continuous Delivery are crucial parts of the continuous deployment process, thereby facilitating frequent release cycles, with complete automation of the release processes. This means that organizations are well-equipped to deal with evolving changes produced by a dynamic market. Therefore, organizations enjoy the bandwidth to accelerate time to market on an ongoing basis.
Mitigation of defects
With the adoption of DevOps in an application production environment, the likelihood of defects in products is minimized as a result of increased collaboration, modular programming, and iterative development. With digital transformation paving the path for minimizing defects, and endless opportunities are being pursued to reduce defects and enable efficiency within reach and every organizational vertical.
As an almost immediate result of increased and seamless communication split across all channels of the SDLC — team scalability takes a significant leap forward. That way, newer resources also get onto the project quite quickly without having to spend too much time getting acquainted with the project. With the DevOps approach in place, the time required to adjust and acquaint oneself with the overall development process is shortened thereby accommodating the aspects of increased efficiency and scalability.
A McKinsey report suggests that when the development and operational processes of business are aligned at a single touchpoint, it can have a lasting impact of increasing organizations’ speed to market by eliminating large chunks of time for product testing, while significantly reducing the cost of delivering new products and services.
Typically, repetitive and mundane tasks continuously plague the development process. We have to take care of these tasks despite it being redundant. This makes the entire process very lengthy, less productive to the overall business goal, and substantial in terms of production time and resources. Considering the fact that these tasks form the core of a development cycle, they cannot be precluded or done away with. It is at this juncture that DevOps makes it almost a non-issue with the help of automation. Not only does it create a more efficient workflow, but it also helps in keeping a tab on everything through consistent scrutiny and redressal. It is here that automation comes into play and acts as a huge catalyst in the testing process of the SDLC, wherein both quality assurance and increased time to market is taken care of. The decrease of manual actions leads to much more time for more important things. This automation also results in active monitoring wherein constant “health-checks” are conducted to ensure platforms, applications, and solutions are running the way they need to be.
The bottom line
From a business standpoint, the most important benefit offered by DevOps is the seamless and rapid delivery of high-quality services to end users. This aspect is by itself essential to stay ahead of the competition in a dynamic market that is laced with changing customer expectations and demands. However, there is no one-size fits all in the DevOps approach. It should be a custom DevOps solution that goes beyond just implementation of technology. It boils down to devising a new organizational model that enables a holistic business progression for both the business and the customer. By introducing a culture fostering collaboration with multiple feedback loops between Dev, Ops, and business teams, organizations can identify issues earlier in the development pipeline, and eliminate the “War Room” scenario familiar to all. The trajectory of DevOps is pretty laid out this way: In 2010 it was about developers and app platforms, in 2015 it branched out to rope in operators and therefore DevOps tools, while in 2020 we are looking at software development lifecycle being primarily characterized by developers and operators, DevOps AI, PaaS, IaaS, and physical resources.