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How CIOs can implement a DevOps culture

If implemented correctly, DevOps can streamline processes and propel a complete working culture shift. By Christina Mercer

The tech industry tends to bounce from one buzzword to another, with DevOps being seen by some as the next on the list.

However, the terms DevOps has been around for a while with it majorly picking up speed in 2016.

And many believe that DevOps is much more than just a buzzword, calling it a new best practice for business operations.

Marrying the terms “development” and “operations”, DevOps is a portmanteau of two areas of IT that have traditionally operated in isolation.

DevOps intends to bring them together to promote stable change and streamline the software delivery process.

Within its remit, DevOps effects collaboration, automation and working culture, unifying workflows and teams.

In order to adopt a DevOps culture within your organisation, you’ll need to be prepared to make a radical change and fully commit.

Only then will you be able to take advantage of its benefits, namely a fast, automated and cohesive approach to IT and business operations.

Here, we offer some tips to make implementing a DevOps culture easier.

Get key stakeholders on board

Implementing DevOps is a huge undertaking, and you’ll have to justify your decision to the CEO and shareholders.

You’ll need to gather evidence to support your pitch and to show the potential benefits that adopting a DevOps culture will bring.

You should establish a strategy to reduce the risks and maximize the benefits of implementation.

Adopting a user-centric approach that aligns with your overall business goals will be the best strategy here.

After all, the technology is only as valuable as the benefits it provides to the customer.

If your organization is resistant to change, it might be worthwhile adopting a DIY ethos and trying out a DevOps approach to a particular project on a small scale. You might find the results speak for themselves, and help with executive buy-in.

Rethink processes

Operations and development will both have deep-rooted systems and objectives. Bringing leadership from various areas of the organization together will help establish a strategy for implementing changes that can be intimidating.

Rethink ways of working to establish a new DevOps approach and provide a strong foundation for adoption throughout the organization and pilot the new approach to validate its potential.

Integrate integrate integrate!

Bringing together development and operations departments will be a challenge that needs open communication and transparency for it to succeed.

Creating shared goals between teams will help break down silos and encourage that sense of collaboration that’s fundamental to the DevOps mindset.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) are staples in any DevOps strategy – in short, businesses will be continuously deploying and integrating new software and with CI/CD developers are able to combine working tasks and products into one repository.

The main benefit here being that through a joint effort, software will be released more quickly, bugs easier to spot, and issues faster to solve.

Bringing in automation software will help your staff focus on the more important parts of development, testing and quality assurance, meaning less time spent on the more laborious tasks.

Get feedback on every step of the way

Seeing as DevOps is a cultural shift more than anything, you should ask for feedback with each step you take.

This will help you identify any weaknesses and sections that will require more support than expected.

Taking a measured approach in DevOps implementation will mean that workflows, from development and testing to release are all monitored and completed.

Get heads of teams and department heads to report back every week or month to show everything is on track and that information can be shared.

Sharing information will only help the process.

Take a ‘fail fast’ approach

You will inevitably run into issues during your implementation of DevOps, it is, after all, a massive culture change and strategy upheaval.

However, by adopting ‘fail fast’ thinking, you can make the most out of your mistakes; fail fast and learn from them.

It is much better to fail early on so you are well-equipped later.

Flatten hierarchy

DevOps culture is about collaboration and breaking down the traditional divide between teams, so it makes sense that organizations level the structure of the office.

However, this is much more than just processes. You should encourage a culture of communication, by holding open meetings where people can talk and voice any ideas.

You could also eliminate any physical barriers that could block collaboration. This could mean creating an open office space and rearranging desks.

Invest in ChatOps

Many businesses work across numerous territories so it makes sense to invest in an instant messaging service.

Plus, when implementing DevOps an instant messenger means that you can get hold of the right person instantly and start working through any issue you may have. This is a must, and extremely valuable in cases of emergency.

A DevOps culture is about joining two disciplines and multiple teams so a solid communication system will greatly improve operations and as well as promoting camaraderie in the workforce.

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