The DevOps methodology has always offered a more holistic approach to software development and other processes in which the approach is implemented in the IT value stream. It is the missing element for achievable integration that was missing from most other methodology implementations. DevOps doesn’t just focus on the tools and the processes, but also on the culture, people, and teams. It bridges the most important gap between Development and Operations to establish a more comprehensive narration to value streams, all while breaking down communication barriers along the way. DevOps is very effective because it transforms an organization’s communication structure rather than just its processes. That last part is important. Any internal system or process usually reflects the communication structure of the organization designing it. What’s interesting is how DevOps methodology and best practices can be used to optimize your IT value stream further; that is what we are going to discuss in this article.
The entire implementation of DevOps in an organization relies on a feedback loop that involves all stakeholders. Every team in the value stream must communicate and work with each other in order to push the stream to its highest efficiency level. That feedback look is the first thing you want to improve in order to boost your IT value stream. Bringing teams together early in the process is crucial since teams of different backgrounds can begin collaborating early this way.
That early loop creation leads to the next best practice to implement persistent ownership. Rather than using project-based teams, an effective DevOps implementation focuses more on product-based teams. The former is more temporary; teams can sometimes be dissolved once the project is completed. With teams and product ownerships focusing on long-term goals instead of individual projects, further improvements can be achieved within the IT value stream. The organization also benefits from more metrics—and more insights—gathered at different points in the cycle.
The use of the right tools for specific purposes is the next improvement to consider. Using agile Kanban project management to automate developments in a DevOps environment, for instance, can help minimize downtime and promote better communications in general. The goal of using DevOps tools is so managers and stakeholders can access key metrics at any point in the development process. Those key stakeholders need to be able to get a clear view of the process, regardless of the current state of the process.
Minimize work in progress and maximize flow; this is a simple rule to remember and use in a DevOps environment. The primary goal isn’t to complete a project and move on to the next, but to deliver value to the customer in an efficient way. This is an objective that can only be achieved with smaller iterations and continuous development. Rather than spending months trying to build a big block, it is much more effective to divide that block into microservices and smaller tasks. This is where DevOps principles like minimum viable products and measurable development come in handy. Similar to creating a suitable environment for collaboration, the implementation of Lean principles also allows further optimizations to become part of the cycle.
The architecture itself—the way IT solutions are structured and developed—plays an important role in a DevOps environment. It is one of the key components of DevOps best practices. For the DevOps methodology to work, the product being developed must also be structured properly. This is why modern products are developed as microservices and in smaller chunks. Microservices can be developed quickly and don’t require a lot of time before they reach the minimum viable product stage. Thanks to tools like Kubernetes, it is much easier to develop small modules and microservices.
Even in the most agile organization, there will still be detractors to anticipate. They usually come in the form of decision makers and key stakeholders who are too busy to be intimately involved in a DevOps cycle. They are common causes of delays and inefficiencies in many IT value streams. There are multiple ways to deal with detractors. The easiest one is eliminating them from the cycle completely, but this isn’t a solution that you can implement all the time. The next big thing is automating more tasks—particularly tasks related to scanning of codes and reviewing processes—to create a consistent chain of artifacts. Automation’s main purpose is to minimize the need for manual checks and reviews. Checks and reviews can be reserved to milestones in the development cycle, such as before implementation or prior to testing in a closed environment.
At the end of the day, value stream management will always be a key component of your development pipeline. No IT value stream can be effective without continuous evaluation, an effective feedback loop, and the ability to capture data from multiple viewpoints. Only then can an organization, and a DevOps cycle more specifically, can be completely data-driven and fully optimized. Don't forget to check out our article on How to Leverage Infrastructure-as-Code With DevOps Best Practices too. Ibexlabs is an experienced DevOps & Managed Services provider and an AWS consulting partner. Our AWS Certified DevOps consultancy team evaluates your infrastructure and make recommendations based on your individual business or personal requirements. Contact us today and set up a free consultation to discuss a custom-built solution tailored just for you.