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Why DevOps requires more than a technology transformation

Why DevOps requires more than a technology transformation
By Molly McDaniel
Molly McDaniel
Partner, Cloud Consulting and Client Services
Molly McDaniel's Recent Articles
Finding value through technology maturity
Nov 9, 2021

For many organizations, DevOps is often thought of as simply a technology-centered transformation focused on integrating the development and operations teams. While that is a core element of adopting DevOps, the benefits extend far beyond team integration.

Properly leveraged DevOps methodologies can optimize organizational efficiency and maximize value output—resulting in gains across the business. For organizations looking to accelerate DevOps adoption, success will rely on a willingness to expand, and divide focus equally among the cultural, process, and technology changes DevOps requires.

The phases of DevOps

In a previous post, we identified five phases of DevOps maturity:

  1. Start with small teams to realize attainable wins before extending to the broader organization.
  2. Invest in automation as a natural next step.
  3. Continue pipeline integration to capitalize on automation investments while starting to deliver tangible DevOps business benefits.
  4. Break down silos between development and operations.
  5. Achieve a continuous deployment environment.

Identifying where your organization is—or should be—within the DevOps evolution phases is critical to determining where further investment may present opportunities for positive impact in key facets of your business, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Focusing too narrowly on technology changes can cause gaps to develop around the process.

Adapting workplace culture to support DevOps

Cultural changes need to be made as part of an organization’s DevOps journey. Organizations need to shift how they view technology—as not just a means to reduce cost, but as a tool to identify new opportunities and add value. For that to happen, executive leadership teams must collaborate with their technology teams.

Enabling change throughout an organization will rely on leadership teams that are fully invested in breaking down silos and powering a bottom-up transformation within the organization. Together, key players from each of these areas should determine their overall goals and what will define success for the transformation.

For example, a major component of DevOps is the adoption of automation—automated builds, deployments and testing, continuous delivery, etc. That has long been thought of as just a way to reduce cost by delivering more with fewer resources, reducing the amount of downtime, or autoscaling resources on an as-needed basis. But what if we change the lens and look at how automation can deliver value faster to clients, customers, and end-users?

Shifting the perspective of integrated teams to how technology can add value will provide a better—and faster—customer experience, test product, or feature deployment. That change in perspective will also help provide a clearer direction for other decisions that need to be made as part of DevOps adoption—including people, process, and technology changes. Organizations that can adopt DevOps as a cultural change, in conjunction with technology changes, will only further realize its benefits.

Improving processes through DevOps

Another added value of implementing DevOps methodologies is the reduction of inefficient work. In large organizations, a lot of time and thus money is wasted on unnecessary, duplicative work. Introducing improved processes and repeatable workflows can decrease time spent on debugging or re-writing code due to requirements that may have changed. As a result, teams will have increased capacity and can re-invest that time into additional feature development, innovation, and professional development. All of these will add value back to the business and result in an improved experience for clients, customers, and end-users.

Technology isn’t the only factor in DevOps success

Non-technology issues can often be the most difficult barriers to fully adopting DevOps practices for organizations. Initially, it can be challenging to convince both technology and business leadership that there is a need for change.

Transitioning the conversation to value gained will help provide a single purpose for the integrated teams. Move along the continuum toward strategically employing DevOps to break down barriers and power measurable business outcomes across your organization.

In its truest form, some would argue that there isn’t a DevOps team at all but rather a methodology and set of principles that guide a self-forming team.

It isn’t about your team or organization reaching a destination, but rather the continuous improvement into further adoption of DevOps best practices. Implementing the cultural and process changes—in addition to the technology changes—will make the difference in how much your organization will gain from adopting DevOps. Optimizing the value of a DevOps transformation will ultimately separate the leaders from their contenders in the market.

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Meet the author
  1. Molly McDaniel, Partner, Cloud Consulting and Client Services

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