What is DevOps and why do we need it? We take a look at how businesses have changed and grown over time and how DevOps can take us forward into better business practices and greater success.
What is DevOps?
As the name DevOps might suggest, this is the melding of two separate entities, Development and IT Operations, but it’s much more than that. DevOps is about a much broader overview of a business, it allows for much greater production and performance, simply by ensuring the sperate areas are working towards a common goal.
Why we need DevOps
While this is the ideal situation, it’s too long been elusive. It’s historically been seen as a ‘them and us’ scenario and IT operations and development have traditionally kept a safe distance from each other, in some cases even acting as enemies. Perhaps because of suspicions of each other’s areas of expertise, the barrier between the areas has led to poor outcomes. This has led to long lead times and a chaotic way of working which also has damaged the quality of work, resulting in a negative customer experience. The answer is simple – we need to change the way we do things.
The team is everyone
This is essentially about bringing features, and people, together. By doing this we can reduce friction and create work systems that enable developers to be more productive and enable teams to use expertise from other areas in their daily lives, without having to depend on others who have the expertise. IT operations are constantly looking at ways to enable better productivity for developers and the answer has been proven to be, introduce the expertise needed to everyone. This is a radical opening up and sharing of information that makes practical sense.
A case in point
If we look at manufacturing in the 1980s we can see a swift and positive change took place. The manufacturing industry found a way to increase productivity and put them way ahead in the marketplace. How did they do it? They adopted lean principles and practices, which increased lead times and brought higher customer satisfaction. Before the manufacturing industry did this lead times were typically six weeks, but after implementing new ways of working these times dropped to three weeks, doubling their output. It was a simple case of implementing the practices or go out of business, which many did.
Be at the forefront
As with the manufacturing industry, it’s important to be at the forefront of such changes and move with the times. Like this industry, technology services and products are also seeing a continuing raising of the bar, and businesses have to keep up. The time and cost of developing strategic business capabilities keeps dropping, from years to mere weeks, to a matter of hours. Today we can test business ideas quickly and deploy them just as quickly.
No matter what industry we are working in today, DevOps is an essential way of deploying changes. How we reach customers and deliver to them is entirely dependent on technology and if we don’t put software at the centre of our business, we face a future the same as the manufacturing businesses who thought they could do without implementing lean principles.