Embracing the DevOps methodology is daunting for many businesses, requiring not just a change of development processes, but a major shift in processes and mindset. How, then, can businesses begin their transition? Arguably, the best start is to set your goals – working out which objectives you want to meet, which bottlenecks and pain points you’re trying to solve, then tying this into an over-arching vision. “When defining objectives, you also need to define what your ideal scenario, end state looks like, so that all teams are moving towards a common North Star” says Jennifer Jones, Capgemini Engagement Delivery Lead.
“If you don’t have that, and you don’t know that your organisation is trying to innovate and adopt a DevOps methodology, it’s hard to get everybody behind a clear, committed strategy” says Sarah Pope, VP for the Digital Innovation and Advisory Group at Capgemini.
Jones, agrees, suggesting that this can also be a good way to explore commonalities and differences.
“It’s important to take different perspectives into consideration” she says, “to balance business’s desire for innovation and fast time to market, while understanding that the Ops team has historically been on the hook for stability, which is typically at odds with that.”
In defining the vision, she says, “You can work out the details of how you deploy new code and features, how many development work streams you run in parallel, and the minimum acceptable deployment success rate. Is the business prepared to cope with some issues if it means learning along the way?”
Once past that point, Pope and Jones recommend identifying and scoping out an achievable point of concept programme, working with the executive leadership to find something that aligns with the company’s strategic priorities. By choosing something with cross-department visibility, like a customer experience, you end up with what Pope calls ‘a tangible result that everybody gets to see – and buy into why DevOps is a new and different way of working.’
The CIO plays a crucial role here, partnering with business units to show how they and IT can partner in these efforts, causing a trickledown effect. They can also bring in support from the executive level, so that the change in process and mindset gets buy-in from the top. “It’s really important to leverage the CIO’s relationships within the business” says Jones, “to educate the other parts of the organisation.”
Pope agrees, “It’s really important that senior management understand the vision and support it at ground level so that, for instance, teams working in customer service can work with teams working on the customer digital experience and build and support something together. Here, those at the bottom are just as important as those at the top.
“They need to be engaged, they need to understand the vision, and they’re a critical part of making it a success” says Pope.
Transparency and communication are key – shared success stories and strategically-placed dashboards can spread the word when things go right and keep everyone informed when there’s more work to be done. Breaking things down into business terminology and business impacts is always a great idea.
“‘When you’re talking DevOps, it can get very technical” says Jones, “so you have to turn the lights on and make sure people are comfortable with the concepts.”
Most of all – don’t give up. “Remember that you can do it” says Pope. “It seems daunting, but if you pick something that’s small and tangible, then you will start going there.”
Want to know more?
- Download The automation advantage report that shows how cloud automation is enabling companies to accelerate their delivery of applications.
- Read the Cloud native comes of age report to find out how cloud-native applications are enabling business agility and innovation.
- Listen to the Capgemini cloud automation podcasts