With virtually every business on the planet now relying on IT in some form or another, it can be easy to forget about the human element that powers technology. IT professionals still need to be properly organized and managed, and yet this often proves to be more of an issue than it should.
Historically, teams in development and operations have often worked in silos, mirroring the general lack of interdepartmental cooperation from which many businesses suffer. They establish and work towards their own goals and KPIs, not sharing expertise or experience that could result in more streamlined operations and superior results. The practical and customer-centric experience of operations teams fails to play a part in creating services, dev teams are happy to wash their hands of services once they are deployed, and so on.
In short, there is a real and very dangerous capacity for human error in IT – so how do we solve it?
DevOps, a cross between ‘Development’ and ‘Operations’ (dev and ops), is a framework specifically designed to address this problem. It recognizes the value of having formerly siloed departments share their knowledge, experience and perspectives, not only to create superior services but also to ensure that any problems can be swiftly resolved.
This focus on continuous integration has already enabled immense success in organizations all over the world. ‘DevOps engineers’ are now highly sought after, and the wide applicability of the framework has seen it used in companies of varying sizes, industries, sectors and locations.
Another strength of DevOps is that it is compatible with a number of other leading ITSM frameworks, such as ITIL 4. This makes the DevOps standard far easier to integrate into companies which already follow a set framework. It is also worth pointing out that ITIL is currently the world’s most popular framework for IT service management. With that in mind, the fact that AXELOS prioritized integration with DevOps for the development of ITIL 4 is a pretty strong endorsement!
But what exactly are the brass tacks advantages of using a DevOps model? How could DevOps training help your business? Let’s take a look at the biggest benefits that DevOps has to offer.
DevOps fosters an approach based around ‘systems thinking’. In essence, this means giving everyone the perspective to know how their own actions will impact a project. It encourages a holistic viewpoint, with everyone knowing the value that their work has for everyone else.
This approach offers a number of advantages, including:
- Improved transparency
- Greater priority alignment between DevOps team members
- Clear accountability
- Boosted teamwork
- More reliable dependency planning
- Higher levels of motivation
- Shared expertise
In a DevOps culture, employees know that the importance of their work goes beyond simply hitting their own targets. Instead of having one team for development and another team for operations and optimization, a DevOps-enabled company will have mixed groups dedicated to maximizing the value of end products and helping their colleagues however they can. In essence, responsibility for the project is shared so that everyone involved is better able to give their all.
Making the most of potential issues
As anyone who has worked in IT service management will tell you, there is always something that can go wrong. When it comes to IT-empowered products and services, unexpected issues can cause serious delays, leading to unsatisfied customers and more opportunities for competitors.
What matters is how you anticipate and handle potential problems. By reacting to and taking advantage of errors to improve your work, you can not only maintain a project’s development timeline, but you can also better-prepare yourself for future projects.
Sharing information and expertise is essential for this. For example, operations professionals who are familiar with the most common bugs and optimization issues for services after they are released could provide invaluable insight for those planning the development of new services. As a result, these services would have fewer bugs once they are deployed for customers. Similarly, employees who already know the technical side of a product could greatly speed up the process of fixing issues or creating FAQs.
Sharing expertise between team members is an essential part of DevOps. By working together, teams are better able to anticipate problems, solve issues as they appear and avoid losing customers.
Prioritizing key tasks
When creating a project schedule, having a certain degree of flexibility is key. Unexpected work can quickly cause disarray if handled incorrectly, resulting in hazardous delays and wasted resources. Teams may even end up rushing to complete work, which can reflect poorly on a brand once customers are left with subpar results.
A key part of the DevOps practice involves showing teams how to prioritize key tasks. In the event of unplanned tasks popping up, DevOps engineers can allocate resources, expertise and manpower in a way that ensures the most essential jobs still get completed on time and with an acceptable level of quality. Best of all, they know how to avoid wasting too much time on deciding how to avoid delays!
Making the most of varied expertise
DevOps can increase the effectiveness of the development process in a number of ways:
- Standardizing elements to streamline the process
- Greater process automation
- More frequent testing and reporting to detect and resolve issues
It encourages users to assess each other’s behavior. A fresh perspective for looking at common problems can yield surprising results. A team member could point out why certain problems are being encountered frequently, or volunteer a way to improve communication between employees working on different parts of a project, and so on.
In working together to boost the effectiveness of a development process, DevOps users can enjoy greater quality, speedier release dates and happier employees. There are even cases where DevOps has ended up giving team members more time to experiment in order to find new and creative ways to improve operating systems, products and services even further.
The efficiency offered by DevOps can allow companies to enjoy much greater returns on their investments. Faster market deployment and greater quality for new products and services means happier customers and boosted organic growth – all thanks to a streamlined system that requires less in terms of time and resources.
This is simply a case of working smarter, rather than harder. Rather than investing in larger teams, companies can instead change the way that they work and make the most out of what they have. Plus, with professionals from different backgrounds all sharing their expertise, companies using DevOps will also be better able to find areas which actually do require further investment.
It used to be that big companies could always solve problems simply by throwing money at them. However, in the modern IT landscape, smaller and smarter competitors are not only constantly circling, but also growing. Improving your approach now could be essential for staying competitive in the future!
Improved alignment between IT and business
We mentioned earlier how dev and ops teams are often siloed, focusing on their own goals and KPIs. As well as preventing them from sharing resources and expertise, however, this narrow-mindedness can also prevent employees from taking the time to reflect on larger organizational requirements. In other words, they fail to ask whether the work they do is contributing to the biggest priorities of their employers.
So, what do businesses care about? Profit? Reputation? DevOps promotes a focus on both, keeping users on track and processes efficient in order to ensure higher quality, faster release dates and more swift reactions to any issues that appear. What does this mean? Higher profits and happier customers!
DevOps ensures that business requirements remain at the forefront of everyone’s minds both during and after development. At the same time, having greater cohesion between and within teams can also help them to communicate the needs and capabilities of IT to key business representatives. This makes it far more likely that DevOps teams can get the resources they need without being subject to unrealistic expectations or deadlines.
Working with DevOps engineers
The increasingly widespread application of DevOps has led to the coining of the term ‘DevOps engineer’ when referring to practitioners. This is somewhat of a misnomer, simply because there is no strict route to becoming a ‘qualified’ DevOps engineer. They come from various technical backgrounds – and this is what makes them so valuable!
This mixture of expertise helps DevOps engineers to work independently, giving them the freedom to:
- Find and fix potential issues
- Offer advice and guidance wherever necessary
- Take a leading role in demonstrating how to use the DevOps methodology
This mixture of freedom and holistic experience also makes it easier for DevOps-certified employees to experiment and come up with new ideas and solutions.
Why pursue DevOps certification with Good e-Learning?
Good e-Learning is an award-winning online training provider covering a variety of corporate standards and frameworks, including DevOps, ITIL 4, PRINCE2 and Lean. Our mission has always been to make top-tier courses as easily accessible as possible, empowering both individuals and companies to enjoy the benefits of new professional certifications without having to sacrifice their productivity for the sake of training.
Each of our courses offers a variety of engaging training tools, including:
- Interactive videos
- 24/7 tutor support
- Mock exams and practice tests
- Motion graphics
Crucially, every one of our courses is accessible on all internet-enabled devices, including computers, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones. This makes it much easier for students to continue their training whenever they can find the time – a vital advantage for those juggling their studies with full-time work!