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Overcoming modern DevOps challenges – From people and processes to tech

The DevOps journey is essential for companies who want to remain profitable in today’s cut-throat, hyper-competitive, business landscape. However, as teams strive to mature Agile and DevOps processes, there is a need to change culture, processes and technologies.

As executives begin to understand and support the move to DevOps, staff must work more collaboratively. This is a big shift for some organizations.

From a process perspective, understanding the route to introducing automation, and how to revise processes across an entire software development life cycle (SDLC), is vital.

The final hurdle is in selecting the right technology to facilitate a move to DevOps – such as configuration management tools, continuous delivery platforms and automated testing itself.

Leaders must decide the process and criteria for selecting tools, how they’ll be managed and how (or if) to limit the number of tools that should be used within an organization.

To help streamline the process and implement change, let’s explore six different steps organizations should take to achieve success.

1. Initiate continuous production monitoring

By implementing continuous production monitoring, teams can identify usage trends and production issues. These activities drive consistent feedback to management and developers, helping the entire team to adjust the service in various ways, quickly, and based on customer needs.

2. Conduct continuous cost analysis

Continuously measuring the cost of the product and being able to optimize it for efficiency impacts revenue and the success of the entire team. In order to successfully and efficiently evaluate costs, look to implement tools that can measure and collect production analytics, usage trends, and available inhouse knowledge of development costs and product support.

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An attendee working on a laptop computer participates in the Yahoo! Inc. Mobile Developer Conference Hackathon in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. The Hackathon is an opportunity for mobile developers to come together and hack around the Yahoo! Inc. Mobile Developer Suite. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

3. Leverage a customer base usability lab to inform decisions and progress

Customer base usability labs provide a lot of value to teams and should be conducted whenever possible. For example, insights garnered include confirming whether feature spec meets their desired outcomes and that an app’s implementation is easy to use and intuitive. Leveraging the insights from the usability lab, R&D teams and UX experts can take the input from customers and leverage it to help define and develop new products.


4. Outline feature rollout plans

Depending on the size of the feature and its value, the DevOps team will decide whether to gradually expose a feature, do an early access, or release it with an entire product iteration as is. Each path has its pros and cons so the important point here is that leadership needs to be involved to help make calculated and risk-based decisions.


5. Match the technology stack to product requirements

As teams work to mature Agile and DevOps processes, it is imperative that they build an efficient tool ecosystem that can support development, testing, and monitoring activities. When evaluating tools, teams should consider both open-source and proven commercial tools.

6. Develop a plan to support DevOps activities

In addition to the steps outlined above, having a plan in place behind overall DevOps activities is key to success. The method of assuring quality includes a lot of components – ranging from treating test code as production code to implementing strict code merger processes and initiating continuous code reviews throughout the coding life cycle.

The challenges inherent in maturing Agile and DevOps processes are complex and span multiple facets of an organization. As organizations continue to look for new ways to engage with customers, it is essential that they eliminate obstacles. By leveraging the steps outlined above, dev teams can overcome the challenges, maturing processes and streamlining development as they look to meet velocity objectives.

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