Where should I begin DevOps? – Technology or Process or People

By Krishna Prasad – Project Manager – WATI

With our experience of working with many clients across multiple industry verticals and geographies, what we find as a common thing in development and delivery teams is that they don’t like the term “transformation”. Whenever any new concept in the way they work is being introduced it is considered as and step taken towards cost cutting by “resource redeployment” or “outsourcing.” We work with organization on effectively handling these change management. Most of the CIO’s that we work with, their primary responsibility is to transform the way projects  are being delivered today and always there is a need to do it faster, cheaper and better. Our recommendation to them is to adapt the techniques of Agile and DevOps to enable these outcomes.

But the question is where to begin? How can we address these 3 important areas of transformation Organizational Processes, Culture of the People and the Technology Architecture used for development. Where should we start focusing on, while all the 3 has to undergo transformation as each one is important to deliver the intended results. There is always a need for customization of the approach to meet specific needs, but at the same time there should be a basic framework of the activities and potential time frames necessary to implement the transformation program.

DevOps is no longer a niche or new concept. DevOps involves various teams and individuals working together toward a common goal. Whether it is driven top-down and pushed down in an organization from the Project Sponsor level or being pushed from the Project Team or Operations team upwards, the change management is key to any successful devops adaption. Having said that, there is an general assumption that greenfield projects or new companies that can start projects from grounds-up are easy tickets for devops, which is not true. We see a lot of successful devops rollout in businesses dealing with Legacy hardware and software with a seasoned professional working on established and matured processes.

Early adopters of DevOps were driven primarily by operations leaders whereas the current push for DevOps, is coming from the developer side of the house. In most of the traditional IT, the devs and ops are very, very separated, larger teams, not as easy to establish the communication and collaboration amongst themselves, more management overhead, more red tape to be precise. So the best place to start is cultural alignment of people.

It is important that all the people in the organization understands the benefits of DevOps from a broad, organizational perspective. The immense benefits for all: better teamwork across development, testing, deployment, and operations teams; faster time to delivery for customers; greater agility and flexibility. But,
for the teams and individuals involved, it can be hard to embrace DevOps objectively, as opposed to viewing it through the filter of their own specialized discipline. All teams need to be equal partners and for a DevOps initiative to be successful. DevOps is the notion that everyone should cooperate and collaborate toward a common goal and that everyone is responsible for the success of the project.

When the Organizational culture and its people are aligned to the concept and the benefits that devops could deliver for each one of them and collectively as a team, there are a lot of technology tools and processes that are available and can be selected based on the requirements and tailor made for their organizational system and platforms.

The Author is the project manager with West Advanced Technologies Inc. and has worked with a counties and state governments in implementing Agile Methodologies, DevOps and Project Management Principles and Best Practices in many large projects.

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