Businesses today need to move much faster than their predecessors. This is because market requirements change at the speed of thought. Often these changes are attributed to fast-paced technology advancements. Adding continuous value through digital technologies and processes is one of the ways businesses can stay ahead. So how do businesses integrate speed and value-addition to their strategy? To do this, they have to fundamentally change the way they deliver outcomes. Since software systems are key to delivering a great customer experience, applications have to be built with the highest possible quality and speed. While working on software systems, it would be beneficial to keep in mind that the client/user wants better results in a lower time frame.
Traditional Software Development
Earlier methods of software development including waterfall were not focused on agility/speed. These methods lay emphasis on task completion and ignored the need for speed. The development process was separated into phases, testing being the final one. One phase could not overlap the other, or precede it without the other reaching completion. There was plenty of documentation to maintain as well. The result was a slow-paced process that was not user-friendly. Often, requirements had to wait till the next release cycle. The process was by no means an iterative one.
Agile methodology was born as a result of the frustrations that arose from the less flexible and cumbersome software development methodologies. A group of disgruntled software leaders who felt short-changed developed the agile methodology as an alternative method that achieved results faster. There are different methods to agile, and scrum is one. In agile, software development process is highly iterative, embracing speed. Then, there are hybrid methods that combined the traditional with agile. Software delivery was slowly undergoing a sea change.
The Birth of DevOps
Agile led to the concept of ‘Continuous Integration,’ ‘Continuous Delivery’ and ‘DevOps’. DevOps is a combination of the two words Development and Operations, indicating a merger between coding & operations. Developers working in tandem with customers are prepared to change ideas and work, based on real-time monitoring from the production environment. Testing is a parallel activity. This creates a paradigm shift in the traditional software development methods, leading to a faster time to market and faster user adoption rates.
Concept of DevOps
DevOps is more focused on outcomes that eliminate siloed working. Collaboration and communication leads to more predictable outcomes. Changes would be accepted and integrated into the product immediately. It brought developers closer to users and other stakeholders. The new method focuses on speed and value add to the user. Quality is enhanced as a result of the enhanced collaboration and communication. As per the 2015 State of DevOps Report, organizations using DevOps implement software 30 times more frequently and with 200 times lower lead times. Their failure rate is 60 times lesser, and they recover 168 times faster.
1. Standardized processes and measurement methods – DevOps will be successful once you have consistent processes and metrics in place. Inconsistency in maintaining records, delivery timelines and processes can cause roadblocks for DevOps outcomes.
2.Metrics Since DevOps is more about outcomes and not about the process itself, we have to ensure that the right outcomes are achieved. Measurement becomes top priority. While speaking about metrics, everything becomes important, right from people, processes, to the technology to user experience.
3. Agility- Another factor important for DevOps is speed. Since speed can only be achieved through automation and minimum levels of human intervention, tools become important. Repetitive tasks that can be minimized need to be deployed using matching tools. All processes, right from development, testing and implementation should have automation integrated for speed.
4. Continuous Feedback- Without a continuous feedback mechanism in place, DevOps is bound to fail. This is because quality enhancement depends directly upon accurate and timely feedback. For DevOps to succeed, it is important that there is a standard feedback mechanism.
1. Agility- DevOps ensures a greater go to market speed and decides the agility of the enterprise. Faster deployment leads to a faster time to market and possibility of user acceptance. This ensures growth.
2.Customer experience – An obvious outcome of DevOps is enhanced customer experience. This is a combined result of collaboration and communication that eliminates uncertainty. End result is a software product with quality, and this ensures greater customer satisfaction.
3.Alignment with business goals- As DevOps aims at creating value, an alignment with organizational goals is imperative. This means that there is no ambiguity within teams and departments as to what the business wants to achieve. This helps business growth.
4. DevOps is digital transformation – DevOps is an important step in the direction towards digital transformation. By giving businesses the power to be agile, secure and hi-speed, DevOps paves the way for true digital transformation to be achieved.
5. Cultural shift – DevOps in combination with cloud computing can save enterprises millions of dollars in infrastructure and speed.
DevOps seems to be here to stay. It could be a current fad, but we cannot deny the fact that it is something that adds a lot of user value. As per a CapGemini report, 60 percent of the organizations surveyed have implemented DevOps-oriented approach or planning to do so in the next 24 months. It could be sometime before it is adopted on a wider scale by all businesses, but for now, the future seems bright for DevOps.