What is DevOps and can this approach also be applied outside of IT?

nine Team May 14, 2018
What is DevOps and can this approach also be applied outside of IT?

DevOps is a term that is commonly used in today's IT world to describe a corporate culture in software development. But can this kind of corporate culture also be applied in teams without reference to IT? In this blog post we explain what DevOps is and how teams in general can benefit from this approach.

DevOps - an explanation

To explain the term DevOps, we return to the IT environment because here we can ensure that we correctly reproduce all relevant components. However, all definitions and principles - in a modified form - can be applied to any collaboration between teams in companies.

But let's go back to software development. This is where the two teams involved (team no. 1 which develops the software, and team no. 2 which operates the software) face challenges in cooperation repeatedly. These challenges not only have an impact on the working atmosphere, but also contribute significantly to the error rate. And this is exactly where DevOps comes in - so how about a scenario in which the software developers would now work closely together with the IT operations and thus ensure an overall organisation?

The term DevOps is made up of Dev (Software Development) and Ops (Operations) and aims at to create an effective and efficient cooperation between two teams of a company including quality assurance. The general goal is a fast implementation - in the IT of stable and high-quality software - from the concept to the customer.

But even without the reference to software development DevOps is very interesting for the cooperation of two teams that work closely together (e.g. Marketing and Sales). In order to achieve goals successfully and implement processes and measures quickly, effective and efficient cooperation always makes sense. And this is exactly what DevOps contributes as a corporate culture.

The values of DevOps

DevOps is based on five values that serve as the basis for collaboration. These values are summarised under the term CALMS (Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement, Share) and each describe the aspects that are relevant for the introduction and implementation of DevOps

  • Culture
    with trust, willingness to learn and exchange of information
  • Automation
    of work processes and procedures
  • Lean
    and transparent in process optimisation and value generation
  • Measurement
    with evaluation criteria and uniformity
  • Share
    of knowledge and insights

Despite the use of supporting tools, for example in the areas of automation or measurement, the employees involved make up the largest part of the application of DevOps - with the way they work together.

DevOps in practice

The goal of DevOps is to become faster and better in the handling of processes and procedures. To achieve this goal, teams that work together must develop acceptance for each other. By creating a mutual understanding between the teams, a general improvement of the cooperation is aimed. This is supported by an adaptation of existing structures and responsibilities within the company itself (e.g. the recording of new, cross-divisional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by which both teams can orient and measure themselves). Thus different processes should be linked across teams in order to converge the entire process.

For the implementation of the above values of DevOps, the so-called "Three Ways" are essential. These are principles on which DevOps is based. Gene Kim, one of the authors of the DevOps Handbook, summarizes it here - but with a focus on software development. In our blog post "The Three Ways - the DevOps principles and why other teams in a company could benefit from them" we have removed the principles from the IT environment to make them applicable to other teams.


Why DevOps - 5 reasons

Now that we've explained what DevOps actually is and what principles this culture is based on, you'll find five reasons why using DevOps can add value to your business. The following points are all based on the most important aspect of DevOps - the close collaboration between different teams - without boundaries in between and with the responsibility and responsibility of the people involved as a common team.

  1. → Creating agility
    Through lean processes and team-spanning cooperation, your company can act flexibly and proactively in a changing environment and creates continuous optimisation of existing structures through this agility.
  2. → Reducing costs
    Thanks to the optimisation of work processes, your employees can effectively save time and thus also money.
  3. → Improve teamwork
    Knowledge and experience are shared among all team members. This not only promotes team spirit and cohesion, but also prevents know-how from being "stored" and not passed on.
  4. → Increase availability
    Since your employees do not have to work with failure-prone processes or interim solutions, but with constantly optimized processes, they are accordingly available for new projects.
  5. → Increasing efficiency
    Each team has different goals and associated paths that lead to success. With DevOps, collaboration and support tools, these paths can be followed as efficiently as possible to get from A to B and successfully achieve the goal within the given framework.

Before you are convinced of the good cause of DevOps - a final note: the introduction of DevOps is not a task that can be processed in between. The revision of internal structures and development processes takes time that should be invested in order to achieve a satisfactory and well thought-out result. The employees involved should be involved in this process so that they can participate in decisions. This is the only way you as a company will be able to successfully introduce and use DevOps.

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