Rescuing a Failing DevOps Initiative

Rescuing a Failing DevOps Initiative

By Troy Vetter, COO

Working in AppDev, I’ve often been asked what sounds like a simple question – but is really quite complex: “How do you rescue a failing DevOps initiative?” Before I share my thoughts, I think it’s important to take a look at what DevOps really is and the reasons DevOps projects go astray in the first place.

DevOps is a term coined to describe the very difficult action of combining the two most powerful silos in IT – development and operations – into one collaborative, cohesive unit. It’s also important to understand that DevOps isn’t a process as much as it is a culture. Why? Because all of the inertia and historical agendas of most companies and teams will combat this move to a DevOps culture.

The promise of success alone is not enough to overcome the politics of typical P&L practices.  For DevOps to work, it often has to be the solution of either first or last resort for an organization. It should not be considered an answer to a short-term problem, but the beginning of a journey to a viable revenue model for the future, or a solution to a difficult problem from the past.

With that in mind, it’s relatively easy to predict failure for a DevOps initiative based on two key indicators: one is a lack of structure in the expected outcome, and the second is a team or company culture that is too risk-averse to allow for change. In other words, if your DevOps initiative fails – it’s because you didn’t really combine the two teams – Dev and Ops – and their agendas in a streamlined, cohesive manner in the first place.

Think of these two key indicators of failure in a DevOps transformation initiative as the outcomes of earlier mistakes: bad expectations, lack of funding, poor planning, ineffective delivery.

There is hope, though. Even when these mistakes are made, failure isn’t inevitable – there are things you can do to put your DevOps plan back on track.

First, make sure that any “go-to-green” plan accounts for two key factors: the “as-is” state and the “to-be” expectation. You would be surprised to learn how many projects get funding and even begin without one of those key factors being fully understood.  If you know where you want to go, but you don’t know where you currently are, how can you expect to get there in the most efficient way possible? Conversely, if you know where you are, but you aren’t quite sure where you want to end up, the outcome will always be a surprise.

The second “fix” is to resist the temptation to repair a sub-par DevOps initiative by simply adding more people, time and “expertise” to the mix. If you don’t resolve issues with the underlying team structures, the processes and the foundational knowledge of the team itself, DevOps will continue to be a great idea that remains unrealized.

Want to learn more? Find out how Coda Global applies DevOps principles and its own proprietary DevOptimized approach to craft and deliver custom software solutions that help our customers realize their vision and grow their businesses – faster. Next, learn how to get off to the RightStart on your own dream application, then contact us to see what Coda Global can do for you.

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