Bringing a Seasonable Balance in Work Culture with DevOps

By Mani Kant Singh, Head IT & CISO, ORBIS Financial Corporation Ltd

DevOps culture addresses every specific pain points during all phases of software devel­opment, be it a soft skill or the technical shortfall.

Creating a striking balance between development & opera­tions is the call of any businesses today to save time and increase productivity. Imbibition of the DevOps culture helps to do so by forming the thin connecting thread yet an unbreakable colla­tion between the tasks involved in software development by in­tegrating the developers, quality analysts, system admins, and the testers.

DevOps is raising the bar by creating a buzz in the business culture. The seemingly puzzled term ‘DevOps’ is nothing but a truncated term of Development and Operations. And there you decoded the secret of' 'O' in caps.

"The secret behind adopting DevOps culture lies in enhancing the deployment frequency; use the automated tools at each level so as to shorten the lead and market release time"

Well, don’t get exhausted by the thought of upgrading your­self with learning again. [I un­derstand the CIO’s call of duties beyond the time and schedules for new learnings]. This is an enthusiastic learning and there is no much role of additional technology learning here. Sim­ply put, DevOps is not a yet another evolving technology to catch up by allocating schedules of eLearning or weekend learn­ing.

Then what is DevOps?

It is a set culture and prac­tices to integrate the developers and the operations team to im­prove collaboration and thereby the productivity. The culture is to have a single group of engi­neers referred as the DevOps engineers committed to end-to-end responsibility in a software development cycle starting from initiation of the project to im­plementing changes as soon as the end-users revert back with feedback.

The secret behind adopt­ing this DevOps culture lies in enhancing the deployment fre­quency; use the automated tools at each level so as to shorten the lead and market release time. It is also understood that it re­duces the failure rate on new release and fasten the recovery period too. All is attributed to integrated communication and collaboration. Eventually, the team is left with dedicated time for innovation.

Let us move forward and understand the cul­ture in a software development prior to DevOps. Waterfall? Agile methodology?

It was Waterfall methodology and then came the agile methodology. And mention not to say, DevOps is the perfect collation of Waterfall and Agile methodology. It brings in the cross-func­tional mode of working.

Though waterfall methodology was appreci­ated as the best systematic approach in develop­ment phase, it very soon got considered as inflex­ible owing to the various shortfalls. To mention a few, they are difficult to follow practically, does not accommodate the natural uncertainty as the program proceeds, long process, development and deployment is high, uptime product main­tenance is difficult, no automated management, painstaking process, and the list goes on.

 

Coming to agile methodology, as you all know, it is an umbrella term used for develop­ing software that includes the scaled agile frame­work, scrum, lean development, Kanban and/or the extreme programming.

DevOps does not depend on single tool. It uses a toolset or the tool chain mentioned as be­low:

Source code management tools: to develop, re­view, and, merge the codes Continuous integration tools: it creates the right status

Continuous testing tools: it is used to gain feedback on business-related risks’

Change management: it is to accom­modate the automation and release approval.

Configuration and management of code tools

Monitoring of performance and end-user experience

availing users’ reaction.

And, all these processes involve no human intervention. Everything is an automated process. The single group DevOps engineers meet to initiate the project. They chalk out the plan to create and deploy the software. Thereafter, everything is an automat­ed process done in parallel. The bigger team have the developers, operations, testers, and the support professionals. As the developers write the code, it is automatically deposited in the reposi­tory; the operational team deploys the codes; the testers continuously identi­fy the bug; the developers immediate­ly change the codes and fix the bugs; a select number of end-users experi­ment and comes with response [posi­tive/negative]; accordingly changes are made; monitored for unforeseen shortfalls and stability. Once stable, it is distributed to all the end-users.

Callout traits of DevOps Engineers: DevOps Agile Association [DASA], a community-driven platform is open to the participating members and de­fines the role-based competencies, the DASA competency model.

They are specialized in:

Knowledge areas: architecture and design; business value optimization; business analysis; test specification; programming; continuous delivery; security, risk, compliance; and infra­structure engineering.

Skill areas: Courage, Team building, DevOps leadership, and continuous improvement.

Advantages and disadvantages of DevOps culture adoption:

• Accelerate the time to market and it shortens the development cycle.

• Faster feedback and A/B testing thereafter helps to build the right product.

• Reduces cost and faster deployment leads to enhanced productivity.

• Impact of bugs is smaller and thus products are more reliable.

• Increased customer satisfaction and thus build trust.

Challenges of DevOps Culture:

The challenges are understood with­out much emphasis. Adoption of new things always brings in challenges at an organizational level. There arises the necessity of a complete different mindset. The technology cannot be copied as such. It has to blend with the existing processes, people, and the feedback loop. The issues have to be addressed at the individual and organ­izational level so as to derive the real benefits.

Closing thoughts:

Though DevOps engineers belong to varied IT background, they form the dynamic workforce. Keeping the organization’s future growth and as­pirations in mind, they need to fol­low a plan for betterment across the organization. This can be included in any existing processes and it elevates by removing any specific pain points. And, this culture is here to win as the acceptance level is universal.

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