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The DevOps journey: Why the human is crucial in the automation of software

This is my first blog post about DevOps. In the coming period a blog post will follow on this topic devided in two topics. first on hybrid landscapes and second on DevOps mindset.Today we start with the human side.

Nowadays we are used to obtaining services, products, and information at any place or time. With just a few clicks, Bol.com will send you the newest iPad, Nu.nl is constantly showing the latest news updates and with the ABN AMRO Tikkie, service money is transferred to another bank account in just a few minutes. We all want this speed for private matters, but this speed is also often expected on the work floor. Though the question remains how to guarantee fast and reliable service or product offerings?

These days, your customer does not want to wait for his orders for up to three days anymore or to receive his or her money back only after one week. After all the competition is able to arrange all in one day or even on the same day. This illustrates that the fast delivery of products and services, whereas the quality of the offering is guaranteed is more important than ever for any company to survive. Many companies are aware of this. Though, DevOps and IT play a significant role in this impact remains still unclear for many.

DevOps: the new trend in IT and for the business as well

Companies cannot ignore their IT anymore; whereas IT was seen as a back-end department in the past, nowadays IT has become the core of almost every company. Therefore it is crucial that the entire management and IT are aligned on their IT strategy, offerings and capabilities. After all, customers are judging suppliers more and more on their speed of business processes. From research within and experiences in companies can be deducted that to change your IT, DevOps can help you.

Many can think that DevOps is a hype, due to the increase of DevOps consultants, DevOps engineers and DevOps conferences lately. Note that this is definitely not a hype! DevOps aims for absolute alignment between several departments. You should especially consider the alignment between the two branches within IT, namely Development and Operations and the supporting counterparts from the business. This way of working does cause an organisational culture change.

Make that extra mile with DevOps

DevOps can significantly increase the performance of a company. Whereas people started off with working in Agile teams (includes building small functionalities and release them as fast as possible instead of large pieces), DevOps is even realizing that extra mile. Working in diverse teams with a broad range of knowledge results in fast project realizations, more efficient and effective communication. This accelerated release of new functionalities leads to quick feedback and corrections and to the reduction of risks and costs.

In our opinion, DevOps is defined as followed: “A way of working that, from an organisational point of view, ensures better cooperation between the Business and IT, in particular between Dev & Ops, whereby end-2-end ownership is encouraged. From a technical point of view, automation is facilitated, while rapid reliable software development and management are guaranteed.” Thus, being able to respond quickly to the demands of the end customer, whereby product quality is guaranteed, and risks are minimised, makes DevOps so crucial for every organisation.

How is this perceived in real-life?

Imagine a company, where everyone works in cross-functional teams. This company offers online music for people of all ages. The teams are not working on a final product for months before they can actually release it. Instead, the team is quickly bringing small functionalities live. They are able to this because they have automated the test and integration steps. This results in fast feedback and fast software development. For example, a simple music app is developed in the first month. Then, functions are added to store your favorite music in playlists in the second month and as a consumer, you can also listen to your music offline in the third month. In this example, the teams could also have waited three months to launch the final product. Nevertheless, they would not have received little to no feedback yet. DevOps clearly prevents high costs and risks. After all, the market is able to give fast feedback and on their turn, the teams can respond wisely to improve their offerings.

Offering both speed and quality to the customer

It is important to note that an individual or organisation cannot apply DevOps principles overnight. It is an iterative process of trial and error, which is very different for every individual, team and/or organisation. Although, with a different approach, every organisation will benefit from DevOps. DevOps is a process that comes along with organisational and technical changes. In order for DevOps to be incorporated in your organisation and to make it a success, you have to know the maturity of your organisation. How are you working within your organisation, what are the goals and which steps do you need to take as an organisation to incorporate DevOps? In other words, what does the way to the top look like for your organisation?

The above-stated question is difficult, though a crucial question to increase the overall performance of your organisation. Surely you would want to offer fast delivery and good quality of offerings to your customers. Closer cooperation between the business and IT is therefore very promising for the future existence of every organisation, team and end-user satisfaction.

Do you want to know more about DevOps or discover for yourself the maturity of your team and / or company and how your “DevOps journey” can look like? Please contact me.

Translated from the dutch blog on blogs.sap.nl
Written together with Sifa van Zutphen (working student)

 

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