How to Create a DevOps Culture within your Organization

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

The technology space is going through a period of rapid change that demands software development teams to change along with it.

Change within this space is primarily being driven by the need for speed.

Traditionally, development teams had siloed organizations that followed a linear process of development.

This means that one team focused on coding, another on quality assurance (QA), while a completely separate group of software engineers focused on operations and infrastructure.

As a result, in dramatically increased the time to market with each team blaming the other for the delay.

This is the primary reason why the DevOps approach to development has grown in popularity in recent years, changing the way software development teams are structured. This approach also enables all the teams to work together more effectively.

For the DevOps method to work, there needs to be a cultural shift within the organization and the development teams. But how do you do it? Let’s take a look.

Start by communicating DevOps principles to all stakeholders

DevOps is all about getting development, operations, testing, and other groups to collaborate around a set of shared goals. This enables the teams to deliver more reliable and secure software to the end-user, much faster.

The key here is to get the development teams and operations teams to standardize on a common set of agile tools and processes for software delivery. These tools and processes include the following:

  • Automated configuration management, testing, and application deployment
  • CI (continuous integration) to automate code builds and create rapid feedback and iteration via more frequent lower risk releases
  • Version control of infrastructure and application code to enable collaboration and rollbacks

But to be successful at this, you really need the backing of senior business leaders within the organization.

Develop a robust business case

To start, you have to build a clear and convincing case for DevOps to eliminate any fear related to changing the current software development approach. This is critical to successful DevOps transformation, especially on an enterprise scale.

To be effective, you have to be clear about why you want to do it. For example, you can tell them that your clients demand rapid development that doesn’t compromise stability, reliability, and security. These are also the components that usually come into direct conflict with each other in a traditional software development company.

This is because when working independently from each other, developers are pressured to get new features into production as soon as possible while the operations team is measured on uptime and the performance of systems. As a result, this scenario puts these two teams in direct conflict with each other.

This is where the blame game starts and deployments to production are often derailed by errors and delays. But the DevOps approach can help eliminate both delays and the blame game. So make sure that this important point is communicated loud and clear!

Rapid deployments and feedback loops get to the heart of it by enabling continuous delivery of code, faster iterations, and continuous improvement. At this juncture, it’s also a good idea to track improvement in your change lead time starting from the early stages.

As DevOps best practices enable enhanced visibility, you are empowered to clearly see what or who is breaking the build. As a result, the teams are also better placed to support each other in quickly correcting the issues rather than trying to cover their tracks and hide from blame.

Developing a DevOps culture can be highly beneficial for organizations as it increases the effectiveness and collaboration between operations and development teams.

But successfully transforming your organization won’t be easy, but hopefully, the advantages of streamlining your software development process to get products to market faster will help get everyone on board.