DevOps is no longer a buzzword, it’s a reality

by Marianne Calder, VP of EMEA, Puppet 

DevOps has come a long way in the last few years. Scepticism about its ability to make real change in IT and software development has steadily crumbled as more and more organisations have begun to appreciate what DevOps can deliver.

Today, DevOps is no longer just a buzzword, it is an understood set of practices and cultural values that has been proven to help organisations of all sizes improve their software release cycles, software quality, security, and ability to get rapid feedback on product development.

A significant increase in the number of people working on DevOps teams was highlighted in the latest State of DevOps report and demonstrates a growing awareness by organisations that it successful. Further to this it is recognised that DevOps teams underpin the strategy for shifting the entire organisation from older ways of working to newer processes. The report provides concrete evidence that DevOps practices lead to higher IT performance and deliver improved business outcomes, as measured by productivity, profitability and market share.


Among the key findings are:

  • High performing teams achieve faster throughput and better stability;
  • Automation is a massive boon to organisations;
  • DevOps applies to all organisations;
  • Loosely coupled architectures and teams are the strongest predictor of continuous delivery;
  • Lean product management drives higher organisational performance.


Higher performance boosts throughput and stability

 The report finds that low performing teams suffer slower recovery times and higher failure rates, probably because they did not focus enough attention on quality when under pressure to deploy faster and more often. By contrast, high performing teams did significantly better in throughput and stability, experiencing:

  • 46 times more frequent code deployments;
  • 440 times faster lead time from commit to deploy;
  • 96 times faster mean time to recover from downtime;
  • 5 times lower change failure rate (changes are 1/5 as likely to fail).

A major factor in higher performing teams is leadership. A good leader affects a team’s ability to deliver code, architect good systems and apply lean principles to how the team manages its work and develops products. All these factors have a measurable impact on an organisation’s profitability, productivity, and market share.


The benefits of automation

Automation is proving hugely beneficial to organisations. High performing teams have the lowest amount of manual work across all practices and the highest amount of automation. They automate significantly more configuration management, testing, deployments and change approval processes than other teams, such as:

  • 33 percent more of their configuration management;
  • 27 percent more of their testing;
  • 30 percent more of their deployments;
  • 27 percent more of their change approval processes.

The report found that the ability to develop and deliver software efficiently and accurately using DevOps is a key differentiator and value driver for all organisations — for-profit, not-for-profit, educational and government organisations alike. Essentially, if an organisation wants to deliver value, DevOps is the way to go.


Keep it loose

If organisations want to achieve higher IT performance, they would be well-advised to start shifting to loosely coupled services — that can be developed and released independently of each other — and loosely coupled teams, which are empowered to make changes.

To provide strong IT and organisational performance, the architecture

of the system should be designed so delivery teams can test, deploy and change their systems without depending on other teams for additional work, resources, or approvals and with less communication back and forth. Achieving this shift requires significant investment, with many handoffs and approvals to get work from the drawing board into production.


Keep it lean 

Lean product management practices are also very important because they help teams to ship features that customers want and do it more frequently. A faster delivery cycle lets teams experiment, creating a feedback loop with customers. The entire organisation benefits in terms of profitability, productivity and market share.

For example, organisations can give development teams the authority to create and change specifications as part of the development process, without requiring approval.  Many development teams working in organisations that claim to be agile are obliged to follow requirements created by different teams. This restriction can create real problems, resulting in products that don’t engage customers and don’t deliver the expected business results.

But to be effective, empowerment must be combined with:

  • working in small batches;
  • making the flow of work through the delivery process visible to everyone;
  • incorporating customer feedback into the design of products.


Keep it real 

Many myths about DevOps have been dispelled over the last few years with clear evidence that DevOps practices yield impressive results. With so many companies reliant on software, IT performance is critical to any organisation in business today. DevOps plays a major role in improving IT performance and helping to address many different factors, including leadership, tools, automation and a culture of continuous learning and improvement.