IT is a fast-moving industry. Changes are the only constant feature in the world of IT, and to be successful, you need to keep evolving. Many companies try to imitate IT unicorns like Netflix, Spotify, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. These companies influence the future of IT, so companies try to match the big players by using similar tools and adapting to similar development process and strategies. Sometimes this tactic can result in fantastic gains, but, if you don’t avoid potential pitfalls, you might find yourself in more trouble than ever before.
Some think that the way to DevOps transformation is through tech alone. But, in our experience, this assumption doesn’t bear out. DevOps transformation challenges are not due to any lack of technical expertise or tooling but are more often related to a company’s mindset and culture.
Let us help you avoid the problems. We’ve analyzed why some companies struggle in their DevOps journey. Let’s look at the problems they faced and understand the foundation of a successful DevOps journey.
Lacking corporate agility
Teams work best when they are self-organized. Establishing team agility is important, but for establishing a successful DevOps practice, corporate agility is an absolute must. When starting on your DevOps journey, it is necessary to include the leadership and management in the entire discussion and transformation process. If you silo your project to only technical staff, you’ll end up with an incomplete solution. Avoid bad leadership patterns, like micro-management and top-down management, by bringing leadership in from the start.
Blinded by tech
The success of DevOps transformation does not depend entirely on having the right tools. The ability to change and adapt organizational structures, cultures, and mindsets is equally significant. The easiest and fastest way to calculate the ROI of DevOps transformation is by focusing on the tools and the benefits they provide. But an approach that focuses only on tools, only considers short-term goals. To get the real benefit from your DevOps journey, you must think more long-term and focus on changing people instead of processes or workflows.
Fears and doubts
At its core, DevOps transformation is about change. And any new and sweeping process can create fears and doubts in your team. During the DevOps journey, there will always be some who fear of the unknown, fear change, or just feel inconvenienced by being pushed out of their comfort zones. That’s natural. But when these feelings create an unwillingness to change that must be addressed. By facing these fears head on, you can conquer them and ensure a seamless DevOps transformation.
Misunderstanding transparency for surveillance
Work transparency and application monitoring are key practices in DevOps. But at times, these practices can be misinterpreted as a form of workplace surveillance. If an organization or team is more likely to play the “blame game” than provide healthy and constructive feedback, DevOps changes are more likely to receive a negative reception. Senior leadership must address these fears and create a healthy work environment where these misunderstandings won’t happen.
Looking at all the challenges in DevOps evolution, it is obvious that a purely tool-based, technological approach has a low chance of success. Gartner predicted that “through 2022, 75% of DevOps initiatives will fail to meet expectations” due to non-technical issues.
In such a scenario, how can a DevOps transformation be successful and sustainable? It is imperative to understand that such a project is closer to evolution than transformation. There needs to be a good foundation for change. We identified three core anchors that, when treated as core values, can provide a solid bedrock for your DevOps journey.
A well-done DevOps evolution is evident by the healthy, trust-based relationship between the team and business leadership. Higher-ups trust team members to give their best and create space for them to achieve their goals. Accordingly, team members understand boundaries and actively try to solve problems efficiently and sustainably. The team and leadership have a shared code ownership, without any negative competitive behavior.
Dashboards, monitoring, and solid reporting need to be in place to achieve high transparency.
“If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.” – Peter F. Drucker
It is essential to know the biggest bottlenecks and areas of improvement. Only in having this information are you able to get the most out of the team’s time and effort. Transparency is necessary for continuous improvement and is vital to establish quick and continuous feedback loops, and to break any silos.
Trust and autonomy are closely tied. A good trust relationship, enhanced by transparency, must be in place for team members to be able to act independently. Autonomy enables teams to react quickly to incidents and makes creative problem solving possible. Autonomy allows for ingenious brainstorm and sparks innovation.
There is a common misconception that enough financial investment can bring about a DevOps transformation. But a DevOps evolution encompasses so much. It means transforming the business, the company, and of course, the people within it. Any change can cause growing pains. You might find your share of dented egos, fearful colleagues, and upended processes as your DevOps evolves. If you are a part of the DevOps journey, you may also need to evolve. But never fear because a complete corporate evolution sits on the other side. DevOps projects are complex, fast-paced, highly adaptive, and versatile, with the common goal of:
Higher quality, faster feedback and delivery, lower cost and rework, and more flexibility and system reliability
Watch this video for a quick recap on how to avoid potential pitfalls in your DevOps evolution:
If you have started or are planning to embark on your DevOps journey, Nagarro’s DevOps Assessment can help you assess the current state of your DevOps maturity and address any challenges.