Why DevOps?

by Tina Lutz

Many companies experience a toxic culture of an "us versus them" mentality; IT versus the rest of the company. This can often be tracked back to a lack of empathy between IT and operations. Software development teams tend to focus on implementing a project with little to no foresight of how to operationally manage the application after delivery. This mentality can stem from a myriad of reasons. Some which include the vision of the project only focusing on the immediate business use case; the disbursement of the project team to other initiatives after project completion; and a general lack of understanding from an operational perspective, just to name a few.

A fundamental principle of DevOps is providing transparency between the various departments within the organization thereby rebuilding trust and relationships. This transparency focuses on lean processes, adding value, improving the flow of work, and breaking down work silos between IT and operations.
Engaging a DevOps mentality helps to re-establish the purpose of IT and software development projects. It is important to understand at the onset of the project what the ramifications will be once the project is completed. Understanding how operations will maintain the project, how analysts will use the information created by the project, etc., help drive to a more holistic solution. This view also drives empathy across the organization.

Empowerment, accountability, and teamwork all are intangible results of DevOps. When empathy is created amongst the various departments in an organization, staff begin to break down the "us versus them" mentality. Teams become empowered to make changes and stop delivery of the application due to poor quality of the product. Accountability becomes inherent in every aspect of the project. Team members take ownership of issues and the team is held accountability of the collective success of the project. A focus on quality no longer lies within a specific unit but instead is engrained in all disciplines. Being accountable ensures that all team members step up and do the right thing when needed; once again breaking down the "us versus them" mentality. Teamwork becomes a by-product of the DevOps culture as well. All teams begin to work together during quiet time as well as times of crisis. Teams working closely together result in building a level of respect for each other's work and thus helping to bridge the gap between the various departments.

DevOps is not a magic bullet and will not solve all of your company’s problems between IT and Operations. Employing the DevOps mentality, processes, and cultural change will begin to help transform how successful your software development projects are perceived throughout your organization. This will also lead to better customer handling, recovery time, higher job satisfaction, and ultimately resulting in your organization being able to recognize more revenue.

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