July 21, 2015

10 Benefits of DevOps for Enterprise IT

We ran across a quick read from Michael Schmidt, of Automic’s DevOps practice, who discusses ten benefits of adopting DevOps in an article on DevOps.com.

  1. Better service quality
    Schmidt argues that the user perception of service quality and reliability depend on two factors – the availability of service, measured by Mean Time To Failure (MTTF), and the speed at which a disrupted service is brought back online, measured by Mean Time To Recovery (MTTR). “Due to fast feedback loops and high release velocity, service deficiencies are removed much faster than in the past (shorted MTTR), which leads to an improvement of perceived service quality and reliability,” Schmidt writes.
  2. More reliable service delivery
    According to Schmidt, “The perceived timeliness of delivery is an extremely important satisfaction factor for your internal or external customers.” This perception can be significantly improved by adopting DevOps and Agile methodologies, which breaks big projects down into smaller chunks of functionality that are delivered on a steady cadence. “Both initial and successive requirements and changes are delivered with short lead times, while changes are possible at any time in the process,” Schmidt notes.
  3. Increased user value via increased responsiveness to change
    “To stay relevant, businesses need to constantly adapt to a rapidly changing market environment, respond to competitors and stay ahead in the innovation cycle,” Schmidt writes, adding, “Your business needs to act in a world of uncertainty.” Again, by using shorter planning horizons and delivering value in shorter increments, DevOps can help to increase the value of your product or service as experienced by users. Shorter release cycles and constant feedback from users also allows organizations practicing DevOps to respond to change in real-time, versus hanging on to complex specifications that were designed upfront, but which may need to be changed based on what’s currently going on in the market.
  4. Increased customer satisfaction through better usability
    “Your customers are receiving frequent and timely updates, which gives you the ability to evaluate and test their satisfaction and response early on,” Schmidt argues. In DevOps, the shorter release cycles allow the user base to ‘pull’ the product in the direction of their needs, eventually leading to a tighter product-market fit. “You can even test different versions of your product at the same time with different customer groups by A/B testing,” Schmidt observes, “This gives you the ability to compare different new features or capabilities of your products to each other.”
  5. More efficiency in operations
    One of the ways DevOps speeds up release cycles is through identifying and eliminating wasteful processes, like long and unnecessary waiting times between work centers. This speeds the flow of value through the delivery system, but “also has a positive impact on costs by helping to limit their growth.”
  6. Reduces bottlenecks through cross-training
    DevOps places heavy emphasis on increased collaboration between Dev and Ops, and this collaboration is positively impacted by cross-training across the two groups. “Blurring the line between dev and ops involves each side learning about the other’s trade,” Schmidt notes, “This enables staff to understand the whole process end-to-end and see where it can be tweaked and improved.” With cross-training, wait times can be decreased while “highly specialized individuals” are freed up to concentrate on more strategic pursuits.
  7. Increased employee satisfaction
    “In a conventional IT organization, both dev and ops are often limited to executing specialized tasks,” Schmidt argues, adding that, “The value these tasks create for customers is often difficult for customers to measure, as it is one small aspect of a complex process.” Again, through its emphasis on close collaboration, DevOps makes the delivery cycle more of a team-oriented event and gives the team a more holistic sense of what they’re accomplishing together. This, in turn, leads to increased employee satisfaction over what is being delivered because they can see how their piece fits into the whole.
  8. Improved attitudes among employees
    Instead of throwing code over a wall, DevOps encourages close, personal collaboration between work centers, which can help to improve attitudes throughout the team as folks begin to learn how to rely on each other. As Schmidt puts it, “DevOps brings IT together, and this shift in culture is likely to spread outside the department.”
  9. Continuous learning and improvement
    With its core coming from Lean principles and practices, DevOps also emphasizes continuous improvement in the process. “In a fast-moving and unpredictable environment, continuous improvement is the single most important source of sustained competitive advantage and superior economic value,” Schmidt writes. An indirect benefit of a culture of continuous learning is that it tends to attract top talent as well.
  10. Reinvigorate employees
    A DevOps transformation will shake up the IT organization’s culture and practices, but this can be a good thing for the organization overall. “Like a new sports coach can bring a fresh perspective and increased work-rate amongst the team, so DevOps can reinvigorate software engineering teams,” Schmidt argues.

Read our blog about Doing DevOps in 2019.

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