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DevOps Do’s and Don’t’s

A fundamental misunderstanding of DevOps is why so many companies get it wrong

By Bradley Clerkin

I recently stumbled across an article which claimed to give advice on building ideal DevOps team structures. But when I read deeper into it, I realized it provided a near perfect example of what not to do when implementing DevOps within an organization.

It wasn’t just that the article’s suggestions for team structures were flawed; it was a fundamental flaw that stemmed from a misunderstanding of DevOps that I often see perpetuated by those in the industry who write on the topic without having a lot (or any) hands-on experience within DevOps teams.

Though we could make an argument that people shouldn’t put out “how to” pieces when they have never actually done the “how,” confusion around DevOps is understandable and goes back to branding/naming issue present within DevOps.

Though DevOps (derived from the words development and operations) sounds like it’s about the philosophy of operating software development, it’s actually about the entire operating model and value stream of all things digital—not solely software development.

DevOps is not used optimally when the focus is on pigeonholing its use by applying it only to hyper specific scenarios. In order to avoid this fatal flaw, here are some do’s and don’t’s for how to do DevOps.

Don’t: View DevOps engineers as “managers of DevOps.”

The goal for DevOps engineers is not to manage the software delivery process. Their goal is to enable other teams to optimize their development processes by adopting methods and tools which allow the business to reap the benefits of DevOps.

Do: Focus on more than software.

Successful DevOps teams focus on helping other teams effectively adopt DevOps processes around not just software development but delivery, operations, testing, and more.

Don’t: Designate your DevOps team’s scope to a single suite of technology.

For example, declaring: “Our DevOps team manages the software delivery process using a CI/CD pipeline” is fundamentally flawed and why companies struggle to implement DevOps. There are certain technology solutions common for DevOps, which includes CI/CD, but DevOps teams should focus instead on broad adoption.

Do: Build with DevOps in mind.

Once you’ve made your desired amount of progress on getting DevOps broadly adopted in the IT organization, you need platform teams to build development and data platforms that have DevOps technology integrated, such as cloud technology.

Don’t: Think of DevOps as something that a team “does.”

DevOps must be intentionally built into the fabric of your development teams’ tools and processes. For this reason, if done correctly, you may eventually no longer need a centralized DevOps team. DevOps is simply enabled across the organization as an integral part of the IT process, not something a team focuses on enabling forever.

Do: Look at DevOps as a lifecycle.

There’s no need to separate DevOps teams into different forms or types of DevOps. Simply holistically focus on enablement across the enterprise to get the most benefits.

Do you need help enabling DevOps? That’s what we do! Reach out today for a consultation on how your organization can start monopolizing on what truly enabled DevOps can offer.

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