The popularity of DevOps is growing exponentially, with over 50% of enterprise businesses actively using internal or external DevOps services as part of their operations.
If you’re a small business relying on third-party and proprietary software to deliver your services, then you’ll want to know how to leverage DevOps as an integral part of your long-term growth strategy.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is an integrated approach to IT management. It amalgamates Development (Dev) and Operations (Ops) tasks to create a feedback loop between those who create an organization’s software (the developers) and those who use it on a day-to-day basis (the operators).
Linux outlines the 6 C’s of DevOps Adoption
- Continuous business planning
- Collaborative development
- Continuous testing
- Continuous release and deployment
- Continuous monitoring
- Customer feedback and optimization
DevOps engineers take on responsibility for anything from writing code to creating apps, virtual programming environments, automating processes, and scaling infrastructure.
The major bonus of employing a DevOps specialist is their capability to continuously and efficiently develop your systems. If your company was looking to roll out a major new functionality such as new payroll software, your DevOps Engineer could work alongside your development team to create the desired program.
From there, they would be able to continually test the tool, connecting it with other areas in your IT ecosystem (other HR programs, etc.) and constantly maintain operational status. They can also build out any additional features you want to adopt later down the line.
What can DevOps do for smaller operations?
The main benefit of a healthy DevOps culture is greater organizational agility, which ultimately allows you to deliver your end-product more efficiently and at a lower cost.
Fostering this overlap between development and operations professionals provides one obvious boon: the opportunity to concentrate on sharing expertise and pooling resources. The continuous software delivery typical of the DevOps model means you can work out kinks in the system more quickly and give your team more time to innovate and automate.
Above all, DevOps means less time going back and forth between different areas of the business and more time developing and refining new tools. This frees up your teams considerably, improving productivity and giving them more time for innovation.
For smaller companies, it offers the chance to gain a competitive advantage with an agile response to market opportunities. Another long-term outcome of properly implemented DevOps might be a smaller, more automated, and streamlined workforce.
Finally, in spite of some high-profile cases last year, such as the well-publicized Kubernetes security concerns, many see security as a major strength of DevOps. Nowadays, the term DevSecOps is used with increased frequency.
In short, DevOps provides a means of integrating security into your systems at the earliest possible stage to build strongholds against potential cyberattacks and keep these fortifications strong over time.
Once you’ve established your justification for rolling out DevOps, you can focus more fully on starting your first initiative. Smaller businesses can’t afford to risk upending their most important operations, so start with a low-risk pilot scheme. DevOps is iterative, and it will take time to get things right.
Assemble your team and bring them together
DevOps is an inherently collaborative process that starts with getting people on-side and earning their trust. By detailing the benefits of DevOps and showcasing some case studies where it has worked for similar organizations to your own, you’ll ensure your personnel understands your vision from the outset.
Choosing the right team for the pilot project and keeping them motivated is as important as the technicalities of getting your program up and running. The best people for the job are collaborative risk-takers who are open to sharing their findings.
It’s particularly vital to make sure your leadership team are onboard and backing the project. You’ll want to encourage senior development and operations professionals to exchange knowledge and visualize potential issues going forward.
Establish Metrics and Objectives
From the start, make it clear what you’re looking to accomplish and hold regular meetings to evaluate progress towards your given objective. It’s important to reward any particular team successes and outstanding individual contributions here to keep people motivated. This will help you make sure that constant input translates into constant improvement.
Iterate. Improve. Integrate.
As part of your meetings, you’ll want a robust feedback process that gives your team the chance to freely and openly report any issues with the process. Collectively explore how you could overcome constraints and decide on a corrective action to improve the process in the next iteration.
This logic should also inform what you do going forward, or rather which other tools you decide to invest in. When you choose your next project, you’ll want to focus on affordable tools that will integrate nicely with your existing system to facilitate greater automation and collaboration. It’s all about fomenting a constant discussion about what will make your jobs easier in the long run.
Starting a DevOps project can signal a major cultural shift for any organization, but as software becomes integral to the vast majority of SMEs, there’s never been a better time to start thinking about it.