Question to ask in DevOps: Why

DevOps adoption is pretty ubiquitous at the moment. It is touted as a no-brainer that ‘everyone needs to jump on the DevOps bandwagon’. But is DevOps really guaranteed to deliver on everything it promises for your organisation?

The value factor

Some of the new technologies and tools which have come to the market in the past few years are pretty incredible, and can enable your team to do some really cool things. Techies often get very excited about these tools and enjoy the challenge of learning all about them. They want to find the best ways of integrating these tools into their environments and want to become an expert on using them.

However, DevOps is really all about business value. If the changes you make in your organisation don’t add any value to the business, then what you are doing is not DevOps. It’s not even worthwhile. You probably won’t be able to carry on making changes for very long before someone realises that it’s not adding to the business – and lets it go.

In order to practise DevOps as it was intended we need to provide real value for our business. This means we need to have a very clear picture in our mind of why we are making changes, and how that will benefit the business. Anything else is just playing with technology because it’s fun.

 

Why do we need DevOps at all?

Before embracing DevOps for your organisation, it really pays to ask ‘why DevOps?’. Why do we need DevOps at all? What problems do we have that we expect DevOps to solve? What business goals are we falling short of because of these problems?

Some of the business goals which DevOps can achieve include:

  • Increased speed of delivery to release changes fast and in response to the market
  • Better customer service as businesses are able to fix problems fast, deliver new features, and evolve along with their customer needs
  • Improved delivery quality to serve customers with better products
  • Business transformation / diversification – the ability to deliver new products very quickly in order to experiment and get rapid feedback with minimal outlay

Once you have identified the specific business goals for your organisation you can use those to build your own DevOps strategy.

 

Ask ‘why’

Asking ‘why are we doing this’ is critical, as it means that you open the door to delve really deeply into your organisation’s particular constraints. Different business may have similar problems to solve and similar business goals, but they all have a unique set of restrictions. That is why DevOps cannot be bought off the shelf from a vendor.

Measuring success

From the initial ‘why do we need DevOps?’ question, you are now in a place to be able to derive your KPIs and determine how you will measure your progress.

If you have KPIs that are closely aligned to your business goals, then it will be clear how each metric relates to the goal, and you will be able to really understand the impact of any change. This will drive your entire DevOps journey and – if done right – will steer you on the right course. If your KPIs are not defined clearly or are not aligned to the business goals, changes will still happen under the DevOps banner. But the value they provide to the business will be hit and miss, and you won’t be maximising your DevOps investment.

Feedback for validation

Strong, frequent feedback cycles ensure that you are constantly checking in with your customers to validate your ‘why’.

Frequent feedback cycles really are key to achieving ROI on your DevOps journey. If your understanding of why a change is required is correct then you will be validated and know you are on the path to delivering business value. If the feedback highlights something is off, then you will be able to delve deep into the business goals, understand what is needed, and make sure that your delivery is aligned with the requirements.

‘Why’ is the perpetual question in DevOps. If we are always asking why, then we are always seeking to understand what the problems are. This means that we are able to solve those problems in the most efficient way.

Learn more

To discover the route to successful DevOps adoption, take a look at our Quick Guide: 5 Steps to DevOps Success.

 

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Bronwyn Davies

Bronwyn Davies is a senior DevOps consultant at Sandhata Technologies. She brings more than 12 years' experience in application development to help clients achieve their DevOps ambitions. With in-depth understanding of the financial industry, she is able to draw on her experiences and knowledge to provide best practise guidance and practical tips to organisations looking to reinvent their application development processes.

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