How DevOps culture improves team performance
The crack between Dev, QA and Ops teams has always been a major barrier for company management, and breaking this barrier is crucial for any successful IT organization. That is when DevOps steps on the scene and saves the day! DevOps is a collection of practices created to speed up software product release, diminish wasting of time and resources and enhance customers’ experience. But more importantly, high-quality DevOps is mostly focused on people, their attitude and the culture of their interactions. According to Gartner, 90% of organizations that utilize DevOps without targeting their cultural groundwork will probably burst up. With that in mind, IT organizations when thinking of applying DevOps, need to focus on DevOps culture as one of the most important conditions for successful team performance.
What is DevOps and how exactly it works?
Before we discuss the significance of DevOps culture for effective teamwork we should refresh our knowledge of DevOps, its benefits for IT business, and how it works. The abbreviation DevOps is formed of two words “development” and “operation.” In plain English, DevOps – is a collection of experiences and practices that unites two different words of development and operations departments, which initially functioned separately. Therefore, IT teams, when working together, produce a high-quality software product, that fully satisfies any customer’s needs.
Benefits of DevOps
The importance of DevOps for IT teams cannot be underestimated. The 2020 DevOps Trends Survey revealed that almost all 500 developers and IT specialists (99%) responded that DevOps greatly improved their performance. Responders admitted that with DevOps, they obtained new skills, produced better results and outcomes and significantly sped up product release. Here are the top benefits of DevOps:
- Partnership and loyalty. Constant collaboration, open communication and combined problem-solving are the main foundations of successful teams. Development and operations departments, when working in their separate silos, usually do not involve systems thinking. The kind of thinking when specialists are familiar with the fact of how their work influences not only their team performance but also the performance of all people and all teams engaged in the process of software product release. DevOps helps develop systems thinking in teams that will definitely break down the wall between them.
- Fast product release and issue resolution. It is very crucial for IT teams to resolve key issues as fast as possible. Without open communication meaningful issues either disappear from the sight of the teams or aren’t resolved in time, which results in poor-quality product realization. With DevOps, development and operation teams get fast feedback, build open communication and solve problems at a speed of light. Moreover, DevOps tools automate all the processes that help boost output and deliver high-quality products more frequently.
- Unexpected tasks management. No matter how well-planned the work is, unplanned tasks suddenly appear in the process of product creation and release. “Playing ping-pong” with such tasks will kill team accomplishments and productivity. DevOps helps with the process of prioritizing tasks and IT teams are able to deal with the scope of unplanned tasks while working on planned ones.
How does DevOps work?
The first step organizations should take when thinking of adopting DevOps is to identify the reason why they need it. The way how it works depends on your company’s course and the journey you are planning to experience. Having this in mind, organization decision-makers shouldn’t underestimate the environment they are about to create. In simple terms, people must “buy” the idea of implementing DevOps. The next step would be deciding on DevOps tools that will make a positive shift in team performance. And, at last, leaders should know how the DevOps lifecycle works. It might consist of 7S’s:
- Sustained planning. When the idea is here, leaders work on plans and determine resources, timeframes, outcomes, necessary skills, so on;
- Synergic development and building. Teams start programming and creating the codes;
- Sustained testing. Dev and QA teams when uniting forces, provide nonstop product testing, that increases its quality and speeds up its release;
- Sustained release and deployment. With CI/CD pipeline product delivery is automated, flaws and errors are removed and feedback to developers is provided;
- Sustained tracking and monitoring. It’s very important to monitor all the changes, errors and give a fast reaction to improving;
- Sincere feedback from customers. Prompt and honest feedback from customers allows taking immediate actions on product correction;
- Sustained optimization. There is always room for improvement. Nonstop work on product and process optimization will definitely enhance team performance and business productivity.
What is DevOps culture?
As already mentioned, organizations that start implementing DevOps should “sell” this idea to the software specialists. When teams refer to DevOps as practices that are used to integrate the teams to produce products of high-quality as fast as possible and share equal responsibility for these applications, that is when DevOps culture starts growing. When team members develop systems thinking and realize that their individual performance influences the performance of all the teams together, that is when DevOps culture starts thriving. DevOps culture eliminates differences existing among IT teams’ roles. Teams unite their forces, competencies, experience and resources to work in sync across the DevOps cycle. Team members who previously worked in separate silos, leave their comfort zones and cooperate side by side, leaving the blame game behind and focusing on better outcomes.
How to develop a well-performing DevOps culture: 5 Life Hacks!
A cultural shift is essential! Here we propose 5 tips on how you can develop an effective and sustained DevOps culture:
- Combine teams by creating a collaborative environment. It is very crucial to create an environment where Dev, QA and Ops teams can communicate regularly, share their experience and ideas and solve problems side by side. In this environment, team members will start realizing how important their contribution to the whole project is.
- Focus on team members who understand and support the idea of DevOps implementation. There are always people who support the idea of IT teams working together. These leaders will influence other team members positively.
- Support multi-skilled professionals. It is important to support and develop professionals who have flexible and various skill sets. This will help them better understand the work processes within other teams.
- Focus on equal responsibility of the teams. Traditionally Dev, QA and Ops teams have separate roles and work in isolated silos. With DevOps, they work as one team and finger-pointing is unacceptable.
- Advocate constant collaborative learning. Software teams should develop and improve their skills constantly. Organizations must create an environment for teams to grow professionally and evaluate progress. The performance reports should be transparent for all the teams.
Must have DevOps skills
If you are thinking of creating a DevOps team from the scratch and hire engineers ready to develop DevOps culture and implement DevOps cycle, your focus should be on key DevOps skills. As a choice, if you want to grow an DevOps team from the team-members you already have, you should promote crucial DevOps skills. Every DevOps engineer should have:
- Comprehension of basic standards of DevOps and DevOps tools. Knowledge of configuration management, source control, integration, teasing, monitoring, containers, clouds, automation tools so on.
- Knowledge of scripting. A DevOps engineer might not be a coding master, but handling basic scripting languages such as Python, PHP, Java, Ruby and others is very preferable.
- Understanding of Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment pipelines and tools.
- Security skills. Professional DevOps specialists should be able to apply security into the DevOps cycle from the very beginning.
- Soft skills. Without well-developed communication skills, proactivity, collaboration skills, emotional stability and customer-oriented attitude, an idea of a high-performing DevOps team will never work.
Bottom Line: DevOps culture: Develop or not?
If you carefully read this article, you already have an answer to this question. And this answer is absolutely positive! If the high performance of software teams, high quality of products and satisfied customers are crucial for your organization, DevOps culture development must be a key focus. This kind of change might be painful at first but the benefits will not be long in coming. Do you still have questions? We are here to help you. Request a free consultation from IT Svit.