DevOps Streamlined: Is Your Current Strategy Working?

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If your organization has already adopted a DevOps strategy, then congrats—you’re already strides ahead of other companies by choosing to invest in collaborative, productive approaches to advancing your project processes. However, as objectives and tasks within a project shift over time, your DevOps approach must remain fluid to adequately support the needs of your team and its multilayered practices and procedures.

How can I tell if my team’s DevOps strategy needs improvement?

Highly performing development teams can make it difficult for your DevOps strategy to keep pace. Changing technologies, underlying infrastructure needs, and increased user loads can all render your previously effective practices insufficient. If you start experiencing one or more of the following red flags, it might be time for a tune up.

  • Your automated tests and/or deployments regularly fail.
  • Your systems fail, but no alerts are triggered.
  • You encounter an inability to quickly troubleshoot due to lack of documentation or sufficient logging.
  • Your cloud and/or infrastructure costs are spiraling out of control.
  • Your backups are failing.

If your organization faces any of these challenges, you’re in good company. One of my clients in the healthcare industry started having trouble maintaining and updating environments as their business grew. Their systems failed and unfortunately, their end customers were often the ones to notify our client that their system was down. Additionally, this organization was unable to scale in a cost-effective way, requiring infrastructure duplication and steadily increasing costs to adequately service their end users.

Whether your organization has dealt with something comparable, or you want to avoid a similar experience, know that there are ways to fix or avoid worrisome cases like this.

What are the first steps to streamline my team’s DevOps strategy?

Typically, you won’t need to completely reinvent the wheel, but rather make some strategic improvements to modernize or move your DevOps strategy forward. Your organization likely already performed an evaluation of your team’s practices and procedures when first developing a DevOps plan; in order to develop or maintain a streamlined DevOps strategy, you’ll now need to perform an analysis of your current infrastructure as well as the tools your team currently uses to identify areas for improvement.

After such an analysis, it’s imperative to develop a new or revised plan to move forward with specific improvements without negatively impacting your current operations. If you’re uncertain about how to proceed, companies like Base2 can help identify current pain points and recommend a revised strategy accordingly.

How can my team benefit from streamlining our current DevOps strategy?

Modernizing your DevOps strategy reduces both risk and cost; it also serves as a reminder to your team of the value of being proactive rather than reactive—leading to a more productive, innovative, and happier team. In fact, the 2016 State of DevOps Report shows that organizations with high performing DevOps strategies spend 22 percent less time on unplanned work and rework than those who do not. Additionally, employees in these organizations were 2.2 times more likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work.

If you’re in a position where it’s up to you to convince your organization to revisit your current DevOps strategy and tooling, it may be helpful to consider third party assistance—as when organizational resources are constrained, there is typically little opportunity to streamline or improve your current DevOps approach. A third party can focus on the ongoing tactical parts of your DevOps strategy, freeing up your current team to continue providing front line support.

What should my team focus on once our DevOps strategy is revised accordingly?

Streamlining your DevOps strategy is never a one-time fix. Once your organization has completed a DevOps strategy analysis, identified areas for improvement, and corrected any issues—your team must understand that a successful DevOps strategy is one that continually evolves in order to avoid future stagnation. Evaluate where you stand with this DevOps Maturity Model Assessment Tool.

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About Author

Matt Brewster is DevOps Team Lead for Seattle-based Base2 Solutions. His proficiencies include deployment/build/test automation and infrastructure, systems integration and analysis, performance automation and analysis, infrastructure virtualization and containerization, aerospace information technology, software quality assurance and rapid prototyping. Matt’s DevOps/Infrastructure knowledge includes VMWare, AWS, Virtualbox, Docker, Vagrant, Ansible, Chef, Linux, Nginx and Jenkins. Get started with your DevOps practices by discovering how you rank with our DevOps maturity evaluation.