Maximizing Your DevOps Investment: Adopting a Culture of Continuous Delivery in Everything You Do

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Implementing a DevOps plan is only the first step of ensuring your organization is positioned for success. Investing in DevOps is just that—an investment. It calls for ongoing analyses of practices and procedures—as well as cross-functional organizational cooperation—in order to reap any lasting rewards.

A truly streamlined DevOps strategy requires a culture of continuous delivery. Essentially, this is an approach to automating delivery, while carefully considering new features and bug fixes to maintain quality. A continuous delivery approach is adaptive; it blends various processes in order maximize the effectiveness of your DevOps investment.

How can my company adopt a DevOps culture of continuous delivery?

Hopefully your team has already adopted the mentality of streamlining your DevOps strategy by continually evaluating the effectiveness current tooling and practices. This sets your team up to reap the rewards of implementing continuous delivery. If you’re ready to take your DevOps strategy to the next level, take a look at my recommended top three ways a company can adopt a culture of continuous delivery:

1. Automate everything. Have tooling in place that requires zero manual interaction to build, test, and deploy code.

2. Plan for failure. Any DevOps team understands the importance of anticipating potential problems. It’s critical that your team can detect when things start to fail—and have a way to automatically pull failing code out of production. This enables your team to experiment without fear.

3. Release code to production (at least) every day. Enable your development team to move code to production quickly. Your processes and tooling must make it easy for this to happen.

What challenges might my company face when implementing a DevOps culture of continuous delivery?

Automation and tooling must be rock solid as you plan for a DevOps culture of continuous delivery. If your team does not or cannot trust the tooling in place, continuous delivery becomes very difficult—and at times even impossible.

For example, Base2 developed an application built on a container based architecture with a focus on automation from the beginning. We delivered the application to the customer with all of the tooling in place to support an automated code check-in to production pipeline deployment. Additionally, we put a special emphasis on logging and monitoring to ensure we knew the operational state of the system and could react accordingly.

Additionally, all functions must effectively collaborate with one another. Traditional release processes will slow down or prohibit continuous delivery, so your organizational culture must be willing to adapt in order to support a continuous delivery mindset.

What are some benefits of continuous delivery?

While the challenges of committing to a continuous delivery culture are many, the gains are enormous. The 2016 State of DevOps Report notes that organizations that adopt continuous delivery practices are on average able to deploy 200x more frequently and recover from failures 24x faster than those who follow a more traditional model. As an added bonus, these organizations spend 50 percent less time remediating security issues.

Continuous delivery enables faster innovation and greatly reduces time to market for business models that are highly competitive Production deployments are no longer a “hold your breath and pray” experience, as frequent small changes are easier (and less risky) to deploy than large wide-sweeping changes. Quality goes up and rework goes down—a win for everyone.

How can my company maintain a continuous delivery philosophy moving forward?

Succeeding at continuous delivery requires that everyone share responsibility for supporting continuous delivery efforts. The team must maintain a laser focus on building quality in from the beginning—thus supporting the idea that business value can be delivered all the way to production every day. A continuous delivery philosophy values accountability and routine. Ultimately, when your organization carries out a culture of continuous delivery, you’re committing to hyper focus and a proactive mindset—leading to enhanced process speed and scale with better quality and cost. 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.