“There’s a lot of emphasis put on the tool collection process, and we’re seeing a lot of companies fail,” said Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop. “The easiest part of DevOps is automation, and they think that’s it. If you don’t have visibility into your application—how it’s working and how users are using it—you’re just getting to a point where things don’t work faster.”
Build cross-functional teams
Doing DevOps right requires a supportive culture, not just a collection of tools, so there has to be adequate attention given to people and processes. Like going agile, embracing DevOps is a journey that takes time, patience and a willingness to embrace new ways of working.
“I think it’s just a matter of who’s doing the right things,” said Prince Huang, director of operations and marketing at TechExcel. “At the corporate level, everybody has their role, and they have to work together. In smaller organizations, developers and IT are sometimes the same people.”
What the DevOps structure looks like varies from organization to organization. Some have established formal DevOps teams and others have not. What’s “best” boils down to whether the new structure helps or hinders the ability to deliver better-quality software faster.
“Some companies establish a separate group, but what happens is that the group is still siloed from the rest of the organization,” said Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet. “What you need to do is break those silos down, so you need to look more holistically at the process end-to-end that brings all the stakeholders together. So basically you have a virtual team across the entire organization.”
Tearing down traditional walls can be difficult because there are existing job descriptions and power structures. On the other hand, it’s difficult to embrace a new way of working without aligning the culture, including how people think, how they work together, and their collective commitment to common objectives.
“Companies have to align their different teams to work toward the same metrics like faster cycle time from development to deployment, and all the teams need to align to a common goal,” said Ashish Kuthiala, senior director of marketing and strategy for DevOps at HP. “Their incentives need to be in line with that common goal, [and the tools need to facilitate] one team delivering the same thing.”
(Related: Businesses are using DevOps to change APM)
Microsoft literally tore down its walls to break down organizational barriers that had been created over the years. Personal offices and conference rooms have been replaced by project team rooms and “focus” rooms where a few people can do something like talk on the phone without disrupting other team members.