DevOps: a cultural change to achieve agility

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In this Agile era, is essential for companies to promote DevOps so that the development and operations work as one unified force. But for this, a cultural change is required. What does this mean? Find it out here.

The rise of the digital era means that these days, keeping up with constantly shifting customer behavior is critical to survival. This kind of agility requires a cultural change – more specifically, it requires a change in enterprise infrastructure: the move to DevOps.

DevOps as the foundation of digital transformation

DevOps: a cultural change to achieve agilityCustomer behavior has changed radically in just a few short years. The social trends that guide consumer behavior are now established online, with content ranging from social media to video to website-based guidance and information.

Digital marketing is now a pre-eminent force, having impacted consumer behavior in every sector. From retailers to B2B to energy companies, insurance, and even education, it is the digital experience that matters the most in attracting new business. And customer service is also the differentiator when it comes to keeping existing fans happy for the long term.

For companies that are not digital natives, all of this represents a sweeping cultural change. Becoming “customer-centric” is a lot harder than starting out as a customer-centric business. First of all, it requires embarking upon a journey of digital transformation that involves a lot of new software and the infrastructure to support it. IT departments need to step up and support a whole new range of digital demands that come from every department within an organization.

In order to support this 21st-century level of agility, enterprises are reorganizing how their IT departments work, following an approach called “DevOps”.

Content related: Why DevOps in two perspectives

What is DevOps?

DevOps promises to promote faster delivery of features so digital transformation can take place. At its heart, it is a collaboration across the entire spectrum of the IT value chain, combining the following aspects of a business:

  • Business interests
  • Development
  • Operations
  • IT infrastructure

DevOps takes what used to be formerly siloed interests and fosters among them a culture of communication and collaboration. This includes those responsible for maintaining the company’s network, developing new applications, and storing company data, for example.

Suppose a development team is very agile, with the ability to respond quickly to consumer trends by creating new applications to better serve end users. Or suppose they create some new features. All the agility in the world won’t do much good if there is a bottleneck because the company’s last-century IT infrastructure slows down or complicates deployment. DevOps aims to fix that bottleneck.

In other words, if Operations has not evolved, Development won’t be able to fully realize the benefits of becoming Agile. There will always be an outdated, slow, complex system that gets in the way. Maybe the ticket management system is processed manually or maybe traffic is routed in a complex, archaic way that slows down app delivery. Maybe there are outdated network security measures that bring everything to a halt.

Whatever the case may be, when Development and Operations work as one, unified force, companies can begin to enjoy the full benefits of becoming Agile. But DevOps adoption is not easy. So, what does it take to change the way your business works? Obviously, it requires a culture change. But cultural changes come in three forms:

  1. Mindset
  2. Processes
  3. Tools

The cultural changes that help bring DevOps to life: Mindset

DevOps: a cultural change to achieve agilityThere are several fundamental shifts that need to take place in the hearts and minds of the company employees in order to bring DevOps to your IT infrastructure:

  • Work as One. IT teams should work as teams, not independent groups of specialists working in isolation on their piece of the IT infrastructure puzzle. For example, security should not be the responsibility of just the “security team”. Everyone should play a role in safeguarding company assets in the cloud or anywhere online. The idea of “hand-offs should be abandoned, and replaced with an integrated team where accountability is honored. The team would cover things like development, networking, security, and infrastructure automation.
  • Apply design thinking. A focus on user experience that stems from a customer-centric approach is the heart of design thinking. Through this approach, DevOps teams can work to deliver end-to-end value to the customer or the business user. It takes recognition of the importance of user research and an understanding of the test-and-learn approach to delivering value.

Take a look at this: DevOps in Agile teams and why to encourage it

The cultural changes that help bring DevOps to life: Process

Changing IT infrastructure is not easy, either but new processes will help launch the journey to a DevOps culture:

  • Consider “Infrastructure-as-Code”. Shedding the expensive hardware that stores data and handles business computing requirements is a big move toward bringing DevOps to life. Continuous delivery of infrastructure means it can easily and quickly scale with the business as it grows and becomes more digitally mature. Businesses can pace their investments since they’ll be eliminating costly up-front prices that come with traditional hardware purchases.
  • Agile software development. Shorter release cycles and visibility into the development process are a few key features of agile development practices that enable a DevOps culture.
  • Automation improvements. From testing to some security functions, automation of processes is a key component of a transformed enterprise that supports a DevOps culture.

Enabling DevOps culture requires new processes and a fresh mindset that stems from Agile philosophy.

Once teams understand the agile mindset of continuous learning and “customer-comes-first” thinking, that is seeing the entire system from the customer’s perspective, they can adopt new processes to support a DevOps environment.

DevOps: a cultural change to achieve agility

DevOps is more than just source code repositories and other tools, is really about influencing company culture, replacing traditional development and operations silos with collaborative teams. This way of work establishes a culture that focuses on fostering collaboration to achieve shared goals and eliminate hierachical interactions, promotes open communication, and encourages feedback. In addition, such environment motivates teams to ask questions and find answers, encourage knowledge sharing, and bring the development and operations teams together, thus ensuring continuous deployment.

You must be ready to say goodbye to disastrous long-term projects, your team must be open to automate where they can, open to test-driven development, be serious about PaaS, enable a blame-free culture with transparency and good communication, and understand governance and security.

DevOps and digital transformation are part and parcel of the same cultural shift

So at the foundation of every digital transformation, we have DevOps. An approach that requires its own digital transformation within your IT and development departments, DevOps promises great outcomes for developers and operations teams alike.

For companies who are currently on their own digital transformation journey, DevOps is the cultural change that brings users and customers into the technology equation. And truthfully, that is what digital transformation is really all about in the first place.

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