DevOps = Empathy + Continuous Improvement
Back in 1982, many pundits in the business media were raving about the publication of “In Search of Excellence” — a book written by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. As you may recall, the topic wasn’t about the typical mainstream company of that time. Instead, it was about forty-three selected companies that were deemed to be “excellent” by the two authors.
Those companies were chosen to be profiled due to their superior organization and people processes. Today, it’s more likely for management consultants to write about business technology adoption — specifically, digital transformation and the role of DevOps practices within the evolving enterprise IT organization.
But is DevOps really a significant trend, or merely a fad? International Data Corporation (IDC) believes that DevOps will be adopted — in either practice or discipline — by 80% of Global 1000 organizations by 2019.
IDC released a summary the findings from their “2014 DevOps Benchmark Survey” which is designed to help organizations assess their maturity level against industry benchmarks. IDC believes that DevOps offers organizations an opportunity to transform how they develop, deploy, and manage IT services.
“One of the most revealing aspects of this benchmark research is that a growing number of IT organizations are using new automation and performance management tools across both the Development and Operations teams, and linking these projects through DevOps practices,” said Stephen Elliot, vice president at IDC.
These organizations are delivering business value in the form of cost avoidance, while increasing the speed and quality of their customer impactful services. One of the biggest challenges, according to the IDC assessment, is actually getting started with native Cloud DevOps.
The Quest for Digital Business Transformation
IDC believes that the benefit of DevOps is typically gained via process standardization, with an increased focus on teamwork across software development and IT operations teams. Moreover, it’s achieved when leaders are actively traversing internal organization silos and bringing cross-functional teams together — working towards a common goal.
Often, according to IDC, the existing IT organization culture is seen as a significant DevOps adoption barrier that can demotivate projects. Adopting a progressive IT culture of collaboration, teamwork, sharing, empathy, communication and trust are extremely important.
Software production quality metrics and the application of ongoing measurement are also important to achieve long-term improvement — enabling Line of Business leaders to achieve their business outcome objectives.
Organizations deploying enterprise mobility and cloud computing solutions in DevOps profit by driving tighter collaboration across key business stakeholders and development, test deployment, application support, and operations teams.
IDC also measured maturity across the five key dimensions: People, Culture, Technology, Business, and Process. According to the IDC study findings, several insights are particularly noteworthy:
- Many organizations are still at the opportunistic stage for all five dimensions of DevOps maturity, with a minimal number of organizations at the ad hoc stage.
- Overall, DevOps capabilities are consistent across the people, technology, and process dimensions.
- Less than one-tenth (9.2 percent) of the survey respondents are at the optimized stage in the culture dimension, while more than twice that many (20.2 percent) are at the optimized stage in the business dimension.
- Most IT organizations today have a better understanding and acceptance of the requirements and needs to achieve a desired state for business alignment, strategy execution, and budgeting than the relentless courage and risks required to drive cultural change.
- Cultural transformation is at the heart of DevOps practices and a core impact point for achieving DevOps success.
- This disparity is also reflected in over half (53.7 percent) of respondents indicating that they are at the opportunistic stage in the culture dimension, while the counterpart percentage for the business dimension is 41.7 percent.
For a more in-depth exploration of the potential upside of adopting a DevOps methodology, consider the wisdom of Gordon Haff. In a recent editorial he said “DevOps is fundamentally about adopting many of the same open source best practices. Agile. Transparency. Collaboration. Iterative fast release. Continuous integration. These come together and, over time, create an open source lifestyle and culture. They can likewise come together to make DevOps thrive.”