8 Steps to Get DevOps Right

Enterprises and start-ups are increasingly turning to DevOps as a way to deliver software and security updates more rapidly — both internally and to customers. But for many, actually implementing the new workflow remains challenging.

Although DevOps delivers compelling business advantages, many organisations struggle to benefit from DevOps initiatives due to uncertainty about how to approach them.

Here are eight steps to help make sure your DevOps implementation reaps the maximum benefits.

Identify the business justification

A DevOps initiative must focus on business requirements and not on “doing DevOps for the sake of DevOps,” wherein the methods and tools become more important than what customers need. Organisations must avoid the all-too-common mistake of launching a DevOps initiative before establishing that a business reason exists to do so.

Define DevOps for your organisation

DevOps is a business-driven approach to deliver solutions using agile methods, collaboration and automation. However, it’s important to define the target state in terms that your organisation will understand. The definition should be short, focused and supportive of the business justification.

Select the “first mover” application

DevOps must be deployed iteratively, with each increment satisfying all three of the following qualities: Politically friendly environment; Acceptable Value; Acceptable risk.

Identify the initial team

People are the main ingredient in a successful DevOps initiative. When selecting members of the initial team, emphasise behavior over skills. Teaching technical skills is easier than teaching the correct behaviors — and the wrong behaviors will derail the DevOps effort.

Look for a good team player who is smart, motivated, understands risk and is a committed lifelong learner, capable of working in new ways.

Establish objectives and metrics

Because people are the most important part of a DevOps initiative, understanding and implementing the right motivators is critical.

Focus on constraints

The life cycle of developing and transitioning new and changed systems into production will have a greatest constraint that limits throughput. By focusing on this greatest constraint, the DevOps team can methodically identify what is holding them back from the required cadence and address it.

Develop the toolchain

The overall goal of a true DevOps implementation includes an integrated toolchain that enables an approach to evaluating and selecting tools so that each tool can be loosely coupled to its adjacent tool in the application life cycle. Linking all of the automation touchpoints and information flows speeds the movement of releases through the toolchain while reducing errors, defects, rework and outages. This will allow the tools used at each stage to be aligned and will provide a view on where automation, integration and tool hand-offs need to be achieved within and between stages.

Scale when ready

Too many companies make the mistake of believing they need to scale DevOps before they start in order to get approval. This leads to a vicious cycle. Because they don’t know how they will scale DevOps, they can’t start. And because they can’t start, they can’t learn and figure out how to scale.

At AltoStack, our mission is to help organisations accelerate their time to value from the cloud by designing, building, and optimising their infrastructures in the public cloud.

We are a team of DevOps fanatics and a core part of our work is helping organisations leverage the cloud to increase the speed and success of cultural transformation.