A little over 10 years ago, DevOps was created to streamline and improve software development. It aimed to solve major issues that were plaguing the industry, including long product development lead times and an inability to manage rapid software delivery cycle times. Since the early concepts were first introduced, DevOps has been embraced by nearly every leading software company, including Microsoft and Amazon.
The basic framework of DevOps is as much a mindset and philosophy as it is a set of tools. Built on agile methodologies, these ideas have been refined and perfected over the last decade. Since its early beginnings, DevOps has amassed a significant following, with more than 30 dedicated DevOps conferences taking place each year around the world.
In this post, we’ll explore the basic definition of DevOps, some of the key benefits, and how it can have a positive impact on software development workflows. Like most product development concepts, each company will often customize the deployment of DevOps practices to align with their unique needs.
The Definition of DevOps
DevOps is a philosophy of product development that seeks to fully integrate the development and operations departments of an organization. Traditionally these are separate functions within most companies, which can create barriers between working groups. By combining these functions, DevOps prioritizes speed and quality throughout the product development lifecycle.
There are many challenges encountered when trying to implement DevOps due to the major shift in mindset required. Companies that can successfully align their project team members are often able to develop a significant competitive edge that enables rapid product development cycle times. The competitive advantages have made DevOps an increasingly important priority for many software development teams.
Benefits & Advantages of DevOps
The main objective of DevOps is to combine development and operations functions in a way that allows the team to perform more effectively. This basic concept can lead to important improvements in efficiency and product delivery. Some of the most valuable benefits that can arise from this greater collaboration include:
- Better Products. The ability to solve problems rapidly is a major benefit that companies using a DevOps framework can often leverage. DevOps enables companies to manage product feedback at a rapid pace and release the proper software patches and fixes in a timely manner.
- Accelerated Development. Closer teamwork can foster more collaboration and the ability to innovate as a group. With fewer departmental barriers to deal with, team members can focus on their tasks and identify additional improvements. The overall benefit of these efforts is accelerated cycle times.
- Competitive Edge. DevOps practices can enable continuous delivery and other important innovations. When combined with other competencies, this can differentiate a company’s product development capabilities and create an advantage in the marketplace.
DevOps Best Practices
Any company that moves to a DevOps framework should fully commit to the effort. It is challenging for any business to make dramatic changes to processes, and product development workflows are often complex. These are a few best practices that have emerged among companies that have successfully implemented DevOps for their organizations.
- Integrated Change Management. With most software development resources combined, it is possible to manage product changes in a streamlined way. Many groups choose to create clear funnels to enable rapid feedback. This is an integral part of DevOps that goes alongside continuous delivery to create a complete cycle of product iterations.
- Automated Testing. Because product changes can be managed at such a quick pace, teams often automate certain processes to prevent bottlenecks. Software testing is a prime target for automation and can have a dramatic impact on shortening development cycle times even further.
- Performance Monitoring. DevOps practices can have a clear benefit on the software development lifecycle, but it’s also important to monitor for any performance issues. By integrating performance monitoring into continuous delivery and continuous integration activities, you can ensure that any issues will be recognized and corrected quickly.
- Stakeholder Participation. One of the main reasons why companies fail in implementing DevOps is the inability to align the entire team and embrace the effort. This includes not only project managers and other frontline employees, but it also requires the buy-in of management at all levels. Similar to any major shift in work culture, transitioning to a DevOps environment requires a keen focus on change management.
DevOps has already made a dramatic impact on software and product development activities over the last decade. As companies continue to innovate, it’s likely that the demand for faster response times and higher-quality products will only continue to increase. Those companies that can leverage the benefits of DevOps put themselves in a greater position to differentiate their products from competitors and acquire more loyal customers.