In truth, the concept of DevOps is a bit of a paradox. The idea that “Dev” and “Ops” can combine to become “one thing” is, at its core, a contradiction because Development and Operations teams are charged with very different goals.
Development teams are driven to change the technology status quo in an effort to drive improvements and new capabilities. Many follow the charge to “Fail Fast, Fail Often” as they embrace agile techniques to improve their time-to-market with new products or capabilities.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are operations teams. Here the charge is to keep things reliable, consistent and available. While service delivery may require great speed when performing issue remediation, the goal is to minimize disruption and maintain user productivity.
These competing concepts create the combination of cultural philosophies that have become known as DevOps. With an ultimate goal to improve products faster with minimal disruption to the business, a successful DevOps culture requires collaboration and a common understanding of the complete technology environment to be successful. Consider the following three elements for successful DevOps team collaboration.
- Speak the Same Monitoring Language. There is nothing more frustrating than having a conversation when you have a limited understanding of the other party’s language. The same is true for DevOps teams. If development and operations are using different tools to monitor the infrastructure and application stacks they work in, the collaboration is broken before it starts because there is no common underlying information. For example, if a development project impacts the performance of production environments, or requires infrastructure changes that could result in downtime for end users, it can be difficult for the combined DevOps organization to pinpoint the problem and its impact if they are not relying on the same monitoring resources. Instead, opt for a complete monitoring solution that will serve both development and operations teams equally – with integrations into all the application stacks and infrastructure they are using. Only then can DevOps truly speak the same language and address issues in a collaborative way.
- Break the Silo Mindset. Dev and Ops teams hear and apply it all the time: collaborate and communicate. But in many instances, silos still exist. There may even be silos within the Dev and Ops teams themselves, not just between Dev and Ops. Legacy systems, in particular, can perpetuate the silo challenges as their metrics are often confined to distinct environments, rather than being passed up to team leaders who can align them better to operational value. This culture of blindly following what has been done before, rather than breaking from the siloed mindset, places organizations in a consistent firefighting mode where being strategic cannot be achieved. Operational processes, methodologies and tools that bridge across silos – no matter where they are found – will deliver high value, enabling greater innovation and agility as well as reliability and availability.
- Reduce Human Error through Automation. Automation is a great way to serve both Dev and Ops masters. For Dev teams, automation can simplify tedious tasks so that there is more time for innovation. For Ops teams, automation ensures consistency and works to minimize the risk of human error. By employing automation throughout DevOps processes, both teams will realize their goals faster and with greater accuracy. This means both can realize their disparate goals without impacting the other. For the best success, automation needs to be implemented in complete collaboration so that set actions follow the policy controls important to both development and operations disciplines.
The more Dev and Ops can truly come together to solve the contrasting IT needs of the business – driving innovation while remaining available and highly productive – the more effectively and efficiently transformative strategies can be realized. Bridge the Dev and Ops divide by gaining comprehensive visibility across all components of the IT stack. By talking the same language, minimizing silos and automating for greater efficiencies, Dev and Ops may find they have more in common than they realized: business success.