DevOps Blog

Here’s What You Need to Know

2019-03-01

Jumpstart Your DevOps Project with the Right Team

DevOps promises significant benefits: improved collaboration between teams, increased innovation and automation, improved quality and higher ROI. Realizing these benefits depends on aligning the organization culture and evaluating, implementing, and using the right supporting technologies. Asking developers and operations teams to research, evaluate, plan, and adopt tools from an ever-growing number of vendors while performing their regular tasks can be overwhelming and costly. Hiring additional employees with increasing levels of DevOps expertise to keep the entire project in- house adds to salary overheads and operating expenses.

There is a solution that offers predictable costs and timelines while providing the required expertise to complete your DevOps transformation: hiring the right DevOps consultants. Consultants bring expertise from implementing hundreds of DevOps projects and understand what tools and platforms work best in different industries.

What Do DevOps Consultants Do?

DevOps consultants work with clients to determine the desired goals and success metrics for the DevOps implementation. By providing an objective, outside perspective, DevOps consultants help organizational leadership align and address improvement areas more quickly.

Working closely with development and operations teams, consultants will audit the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) through a process called value stream mapping. This assessment determines the bottlenecks in the SDLC where implementing DevOps will have an immediate impact. The DevOps consultants will submit a report with their findings and recommendations.

Once the joint DevOps team has identified the bottlenecks to address, the DevOps consultants’ experience evaluating, deploying, and using a variety of vendor tools eliminates the need for the organization to waste months of effort and resources testing tools in-house. The DevOps consultants provide training to the development and operations teams to improve process and tool adoption. This saved time means faster implementation projects and lower costs overall.

How Long Is The Typical DevOps Engagement?

A successful DevOps transformation takes time to ensure the project tackles the right problems, teams are onboard with culture changes, and measurable results are delivered. DevOps consultants can be hired for the entire transformation or for specific portions of the project: the initial value stream mapping process, tool evaluation, tool implementation and integration, or organizational culture change projects.

The journey to DevOps follows steps that help your employees perform better in phases that ensure all parties are aware of their responsibilities and have the right processes and tools to succeed.

Increased ROI

Hiring external expertise helps organizations avoid costs by speeding up the adoption timeline, avoiding mistakes of choosing the wrong tools, and compelling teams to work together towards the common goal. The less time it takes to implement DevOps, the sooner the organization starts to realize the benefits.

Ready to Adopt DevOps? ReleaseTEAM provides clients across all industries with the expertise to confidently choose the right DevOps tools and drive process and culture change for success. Contact us to find out more.

2019-02-01

DevOps, Security Regulations, and Productivity

DevOps is often associated with rapidly releasing new code in pursuit of shorter software development cycles and continuous improvement. What happens for industries with high levels of regulations that can be time-consuming? Are government contractors, healthcare software solutions, and other regulated industries simply unable to adopt or benefit from DevOps?

The answer lies in finding the sweet spot between doing things faster and doing things right. Companies that implement DevOps without quality controls or verifying that they’re delivering the right product won’t pass regulatory compliance, while companies that avoid change will be slower to market than competitors.

Include Regulatory Requirements from the Start

Include applicable regulatory requirements at the beginning of your DevOps planning, rather than attempting to retrofit them afterward. Design automatic compliance checks for each development phase that ensure the required documentation and approvals are complete.

DevOps Automation Informs Audits

Automation is an essential aspect to DevOps to improve efficiencies and speed to market. It has another benefit when it comes to regulatory compliance: it provides detailed documentation of repetitive tasks and removes human error. Complete your audits faster and with more confidence when you implement DevOps automation.

Constant Feedback, Constant Improvement

DevOps removes barriers between teams to encourage feedback earlier in the development cycle. This means issues with the code and product are fixed earlier than in traditional waterfall methodologies. Catching issues early avoids scenarios where non-compliant releases are in production with no fix on the horizon.

Compliant Software, Delivered Faster

It is possible to meet regulatory compliance and deliver quality software more quickly with DevOps by following these simple steps:

  1. Include regulatory auditors in the stakeholder process early in the planning phase.
  2. Automate tasks with clear documentation for easier audits.
  3. Design and incorporate automatic compliance checks.
  4. Use constant feedback to find and resolve compliance issues earlier in the development cycle.

Organizations in a highly regulated industry, can implement DevOps, deliver quality software quickly, and be compliant. Successful DevOps implementations include regulatory auditors early in the planning, use automation to streamline audits, incorporate automatic compliance checks, and leverage constant feedback to find and resolve compliance issues earlier in the development cycle.

2019-01-07

Mapping Your Value Stream: The First Step in DevOps

One of the first steps an organization takes before planning and implementing DevOps is to map out the software development value stream to determine where DevOps will provide the best ROI. You can improve efficiencies throughout the entire software development lifecycle by automating the least efficient development tasks and reducing friction between teams.

What are Value Streams?

The value stream concept predates DevOps methodology and is most closely associated with lean manufacturing. In a manufacturing environment, companies use value stream mapping to identify and eliminate waste, making the manufacturing process more efficient and reducing costs. For example, a widget company would trace and document every step it takes to make each widget in a flow chart. Using that data, they can identify and eliminate sources of bottlenecks in the process. Once one bottleneck is eliminated, value stream mapping shows where the next inefficiency is in the manufacturing process, and the company works to eliminate that. Value stream mapping can be applied to other industries, including software development. What activities are adding value to the finished application or system? What activities are not only slowing down development but also creating overhead that provides zero value to the customer?

The Link Between Value Streams and DevOps

DevOps focuses on eliminating bottlenecks in the software development process to deliver software faster, with a higher return on investment. Often, organizations discover that breaking down barriers between different teams helps reduce these bottlenecks and manages constraints in a way that increases overall productivity. The term “DevOps” demonstrates the links between the “Dev” (Development) and “Ops” (Operations) teams.

The second method DevOps uses for reducing bottlenecks is automating processes and approvals. If the value stream currently depends on employees completing manual steps and waiting for repetitive tasks to be approved, consider automating these tasks. Organizations cannot just put developers and operations teams into the same room and expect improvements, nor can they prove automation is improving efficiency without measuring the current process. Value stream mapping documents the flow from idea to release and provides the metrics that organizations need to focus improvement efforts.

Continuous Improvement (CI)

A key tenant of DevOps is that the software development and delivery process can iteratively and continuously improve. Once an organization has eliminated the first bottleneck, that phase of software development will be more efficient. However, upstream activities may not be able to complete their tasks quickly enough to provide inputs into the optimized workflow, and downstream activities may not be able to absorb the additional throughput. Those inefficiencies then become the next candidate for process improvements and automation.

Make the Most of Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping is a process that can be efficient or inefficient on its own. It takes time to trace the software development process. Mapping can also disrupt teams as they document their tasks, learn new tools, and adapt to cultural changes. A poorly planned value stream mapping project can slow down the development cycle and miss important data, so it’s critical that organizations work with DevOps experts to guide them through the process of value stream mapping.

Ready to get started value stream mapping?

2018-12-01

DevOps is More Than Tools

DevOps promises significant benefits: improved collaboration between teams, continuous software delivery, continuous testing, increased innovation and automation, improved quality and higher ROI. Your organization is interested in those benefits, but implementing DevOps is more difficult than merely choosing a tool and setting a mandate. Where should you start your journey?

Choosing a Starting Point

The first step to implementing DevOps is evaluating current and new projects where DevOps can help break down bottlenecks and deliver value. New software projects, with new teams, can quickly adopt DevOps without fighting ingrained patterns of behavior or duplicating work from legacy systems. However, existing projects may realize the most return on investment by making the leap -- if you have first evaluated the bottlenecks in the current software development process and have established precise requirements for the DevOps implementation. This process is completed during Value Stream Mapping.

Do it Fast or Do it Right?

Some organizations naturally move quickly and if they ship a product with errors, they can issue a fix promptly without adverse outcomes for their customers. Other organizations work under strict regulations and requirements for every change, and mistakes can result in severe financial penalties and even loss of life if the systems are used for healthcare or military purposes. In DevOps, all of the different teams that work on software from concept to support are responsible for the product. DevOps processes not only create a more efficient software development cycle, but they encourage developers to use automation and test early and frequently, leading to higher quality software. The adoption of automation and earlier detection of defects facilitates regulatory compliance and reduces rework common in more traditional workflows between siloed departments. The value of DevOps is that you can do it right and still be fast to market.

Evaluating DevOps Tools

There is no single DevOps tool that an organization can deploy and be able to declare themselves a DevOps shop. DevOps is more than tools, but tool selection is a daunting task in itself. What tool should your organization choose for continuous development, continuous testing, continuous deployment, planning, collaboration, and operations? How will each of the different departments use the tools in a cohesive strategy to ensure all work and requests are captured? How does each of the tools contribute to automation of the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC)? How will they integrate with each other? These are just a few of the questions to answer when evaluating and selecting DevOps tools. The tool evaluation process can be time-consuming, involve repetition for each tool selection, and include several stakeholder groups. ReleaseTEAM has experience in a variety of toolsets that integrate well in complex production environments. We use our extensive background and deep knowledge to reduce expenses and risks for your organization.

Jumpstart DevOps with Outside Expertise

It can be tempting to task existing employees with researching DevOps and create an internal project to adopt DevOps. This approach will cost you more money and effort than investing in a DevOps consultant to help you through the evaluation, planning, and adoption process. Your employees are intelligent and critical to the successful DevOps implementation, but the entire team needs to be on board for DevOps to work. A partial implementation falls apart, and can result in frustration, rework, delayed releases, and lost revenue. The journey to DevOps follows steps that help your employees perform better in phases that ensure all parties are aware of their responsibilities and have the right processes and tools to succeed.

ReleaseTEAM works with your team to assess your software delivery lifecycle through value stream mapping. We identify the areas where DevOps will provide the most value, assist you in choosing and implementing the right toolsets, and successfully guide your teams through the transformation the first time. If your organization has specific government regulations and security clearance requirements, ReleaseTEAM has the right experience and resources that keep you compliant throughout the process.