While the development side of the DevOps equation frequently gets a lot of attention, the experts caution that it's important not to forget about operations. Often, organizations can achieve a lot of efficiency by improving the communication and collaboration both within operations and between operations and other parts of the IT group.
"In many cases, agile has already pushed dev teams to optimize their delivery pipeline," says Ian Buchanan, developer advocate at Atlassian. "Those teams would be better served by starting with the idea of amplifying feedback from operations, rather than sub-optimizing with more delivery automation."
Why are you transitioning to DevOps? And how will you know if the transition is successful? Experts say it's a good idea to answer these questions before implementing DevOps. Ideally, DevOps should have a positive impact on some of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you track for your business.
When you make a change in your IT processes, it's going to affect other parts of the business as well. Cramer recommends taking a "holistic view." He explains, "It is important to change business processes to align with the new release cadence stemming from DevOps. For example, the marketing team may have processes in place to focus on traditional annual or semi-annual product launches, and they don’t understand how to adapt processes when the releases are much smaller in scale and more frequent. Another example is the internal governance process where the requirement is visibility into 12-month release plans."
IT leaders need to make sure that they are communicating and collaborating with these other departments as well as within the development and operations teams. In fact, many organizations that have implemented DevOps say that the principles behind the philosophy can be beneficial for many other internal teams, not just IT.
With so many enterprises adopting DevOps, there's no need for organizations to "reinvent the wheel." Experts say that companies can learn a lot by participating in DevOps events and online communities and by talking with other organizations that are involved in similar initiatives.
"The idea, practices, and tools that make DevOps work are constantly improving," notes Buchanen. "Your people will need to use the community to check theories, to benchmark progress, and to find inspiration for even more improvements. And don't be shy about telling your story, no matter where you are in the DevOps journey. There's always another company who will find your story helpful."
As organizations move towards implementing these DevOps best practices, they should keep in mind that adopting DevOps is a long-term process. Unlike other IT management practices like ITIL, Agile or Lean, DevOps more a movement and a philosophy than a specific framework or set of practices.
In most cases, enterprises aren't going to reach a state where they can say they have "achieved DevOps." Instead, they are constantly going to be experimenting with new tools and processes, trying to find those that can help them achieve greater integration between development and operations, and ultimately better results for the business.