The latest approach to Software Development (Dev) and operations (Ops), also known as DevOps, focuses on increasing efficiencies, raising quality, and reducing costs. It eliminates barriers, and bridges the gap between development, testing and operations. DevOps promises to reduce the number of issues teams face during development, implementation and operations resulting in a quicker delivery of applications/services and newer features.

What is DevOps

DevOps is an agile operating model of IT. The software is built for achieving quick feedback through continuous delivery pipelines. These pipelines are automated and consist of automated codes. Sharing of knowledge is easy and creativity enhances growth while knowledge silos are broken for a continuous pipeline flow. DevOps is further based on lean development concepts such as build, measure, and learn. The four metrics used in DevOps based organizations are: Meantime to change, Mean time to recovery, Frequency of Release and Defect Rates. DevOps practices can be easily implemented in small companies and startups due to high agility, small teams, available open source and cloud technologies, automated development and deployment series for continuous delivery.

Getting Enterprise DevOps

However, in complex environments such as Enterprises, DevOps must be redefined. Many organizations have applications based on third party software where the development is not done in-house. Further, teams are dispersed geographically (outsourced) and there exist organizational barriers (to change). Hence, bridging the gaps becomes tougher. Enter Enterprise DevOps which focuses on communications, automation and transparency by using internet and enterprise native technologies. The environment of Enterprise DevOps consists of inter-dependent, sub systems, teams and software pairing with each other. Enterprises must be a pipeline centered organization with the capability to grab prospects in the marketplace, consisting of static software/hardware environments, change control processes, security and compliance requirements, waterfall base processes, and manual workflows across multiple teams/stakeholders.

Enterprise DevOps must ‘run what is built’ 

Design for production: If the developer teams ‘run what they build,’ it is easier to catch issues/bugs which could occur in the production phase while they are designing it.

Employee autonomy: If employees are encouraged with ownership and accountability, it leads to a growth of employees and the organization as a whole.

Transparency: With ‘run what you build’ and a greater transparency in the environment, employees are able to monitor issues/concerns before they become larger. Further, root causes of the ones continuing to occur despite monitoring is possible in a transparent organization.

Extended automation: While developers go on to identify the root causes of issues, they can automate such activities along the way, leading to an enhanced production cycle.

Operational excellence: With automation and transparency in place, the operational quality of activities can develop too.

Customer satisfaction: The ‘run what you build’ practice encourages the entire IT team to further comprehend the customers’ requirements. Knowledge is shared and not limited to a single team (eg. sales/products) and the feedback can be constantly used for services/product augmentation.

Federal government gets on DevOps train

Customers (citizens) expect higher functionality and enhanced performance from IT systems, and all this has to be made possible in a complicated and reduced resource environment coupled with tight budgets.  As the government looks out for innovative ways to increase efficiencies, by leveraging tools and technologies while maintaining budgets, DevOps helps significantly. It is slowly gaining a foothold in the federal agencies. Some agencies have begun to capitalize on DevOps such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and NASA. Another example is of a department of Homeland Security, which is using DevOps by working on continuous monitoring in the production phase, checking for vulnerabilities, providing continued feedback to developers and rolling out new versions, and handling specific needs by following an agile procedure. With collaborative planning, a sturdy governance structure and technology, DevOps success is achievable.

DevOps can also drive innovations swiftly with the help of cloud and modernization of services, making possible the offering of solutions quicker with fewer failures and more contented customers. Though challenges include a cultural change, fear of transformations, technical and business issues, it has been predicted by analyst Gartner that by 2018, if organizations, do not address cultural foundations, they might fail. There is also a need to do away with siloed approaches. The government must begin to bring builders and architects in a culture of flawless and effectual collaboration.

DevOps is all about getting the teams of developers, infrastructure, operations, testing and quality assurance to work in partnership, leading to developing services/products quickly and effortlessly.

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