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Planning for DevOps? Here are 5 key traits your team will need to succeed

10 Aug 2016

According to Gartner, a quarter of Global 2000 organisations will deploy it by the end of this year. I’m talking about everyone’s favourite new buzzword: DevOps. A lot is being said about it. But what exactly is DevOps?

For me, DevOps is made up of four key elements: speed, quality, control and cost. Speed is fundamental to fighting your competitive and market positioning. Quality is critical for successful implementation and long-term viability. Control, the command of data use, security, access and process is crucial. And cost, as we all know, is one of the most important factors when making a business decision.

It’s a common assumption that implementing DevOps is primarily a technical process. However, I believe the cultural aspects and adjustments are equally as important. To successfully tackle this cultural shift, your DevOps team needs to possess certain traits.

Communication is critical

Until recently, IT professionals had strictly defined roles and responsibilities that allowed them to work more independently rather than collaboratively. Communication skills weren’t a priority when IT teams were put together.

However, as rapid deployment and rigid processes have emerged, communication has become increasingly important to ensure smooth transitions from one phase of the project to the next. Enforcing good communication can lead to better results in a reduced amount of time, helping organisations to save money.

Team

For those jumping on the DevOps bandwagon, the phrase “it’s not my job” should be left at the door. While it’s common for organisations to experience a clash between development and operations teams when first implementing a DevOps strategy, successful interdepartmental integration requires collaboration in order for the team to reach their goal of satisfying the needs of the business.

Implementing DevOps should be seen as working with a team of teams. While each team brings different skills to the table, it is important for all team members to provide support to each other to deliver the most powerful results as effectively as possible.

Open to change

Gartner analyst George Spafford recommends implementing a cultural change programme to make team members aware of the mutual goal. To begin, he encourages developing a small pilot plan to test the waters initially by deploying tests and taking careful note of what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to know your team and what works best to motivate the group to keep them positive and interested.

Don’t fear failure

There are probably just as many articles on DevOps failures as there are successes. As a DevOps team member, it’s important to understand failures will happen – don’t be afraid of this though.

According to a Gartner study, 75% of enterprise IT departments will have tried to create a bimodal capacity by 2018. However, less than 50% of them will reap the benefits that new methodologies like DevOps promise. Willing to fail and being patient is crucial for a team to get the most out of their DevOps efforts.

Enthusiasm

“DevOps is here and it’s the next big thing…” A lot of people are getting fed up of hearing that now. A successful DevOps team needs people that want to make a difference with the excitement to drive a significant business transformation. This involves the willingness to listen to customer feedback and adjust accordingly. Since customers are the main driver on continual software updates and releases, it is crucial to be interested in what customers have to say and act on their feedback.

There will be many highs and lows, and despite processes breaking and things not going according to plan, people involved in DevOps need to maintain continuous enthusiasm for the journey ahead of them.

With these five traits, your team will be able to successfully implement a DevOps strategy and navigate the minefield of cultural change that comes along with it.

Article by Ash Ashutosh, CEO, Actifio

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