DevOps today can be explained as an approach to software delivery in an organization that improves the quality of applications while reducing the costs and time-to-market. DevOps brings together IT operations and software development, which in the past, were fragmented departments. By working together, they can deliver improvements continuously with short iterations. DevOps also involves a cultural shift within the organization. It needs adoption of an improvement philosophy and the availing of requisite resources to deliver it.
This broad definition of what DevOps means is perhaps what leaves many executives unsure of whether they are doing it right. It can be tough to assess success without measurable metrics. So, how should executives be looking to assess the value of their DevOps investments?
Culture of Collaboration
The first yardstick for success must be internal. As indicated, DevOps should help deliver more collaboration between the IT team and the internal software development team. They should be forming teams with representatives from either side to work on projects. Executives can assess the overall morale of the team members and take time to seek feedback from them. Are they receptive on new ways of thinking? If so, then it means the firm’s DevOps culture is taking root. The employees should also demonstrate enthusiasm in contributing their own ideas on how the firm can improve software delivery.
Efficiency of Software Projects
The firm should also examine how well it is managing the costs of its software project. A DevOps approach to software delivery aims to improve collaboration between initially separate departments. Efficiency can be assessed using ratios. An example would be employee to customer ratio. This ratio shows whether a new approach to software delivery has helped win and retain more customers than before. The firm can also examine its cost of release for new projects compared to previous ones.
The Quality and Speed of Projects
While DevOps seeks to improve the speed with which a company delivers projects, it should also improve the quality of work done. Greater collaboration brings more experience, hence fewer mistakes. Companies should track the number of rolled back items from one period to the next. The implementation of a DevOps approach to delivery should coincide with a drop in the number of errors. If the company is running a data center, the number of outages should decline.
It’s also important to track user feedback so that you address recurring negative comments. The expected trend, however, should be one of improved satisfaction over time.
When tracking the speed of projects, several metrics can help. The first would be the average speed of new projects. More importantly though, executives should monitor the ‘mean time to repair’ whenever a problem occurs. This shows how well the DevOps team can handle changes or problems with your applications whenever they occur.
How well does a DevOps approach help your organization move towards its long-term strategic goals? This is a macro-approach to assessing progress. One metric here would be the time-to-market. If software is at the core of your business model, time-to-market is an important metric for business value. If you can work on, test, and successfully launch new features faster than competitors, you are likely to stay ahead and protect market position.
Another long-term measure of progress is customer loyalty. If customer lifetime value is increasing, then it means that DevOps is helping improve the product and customers are using it more frequently and for longer.
Important Best Practices
As executives within an organization assess whether they are investing in the right DevOps, its important to consider what are considered as industry best practices.
Before implementing new DevOps ideas, it’s important to involve internal stakeholders who will be expected to implement it or be affected by it. How will it affect their productivity and remuneration? DevOps needs a cultural shift, learning new process, and new teams. Are people comfortable with such a transformation? If not, leaders will need to find a way to bring them on board. The most proven way is to explain the kind of agility that DevOps will bring to the organization and how that will improve the productivity of individual employees.
A successful DevOps approach to software delivery needs constant communication internally. In the past, IT teams only communicated with the development team during the handing over of a completed project. However, DevOps puts together agile and cross-functional teams working towards common goals. It’s important to foster a culture of transparency in such teams so that people freely share ideas, criticisms, and suggestions.
Tools such as Slack, Asana, and Microsoft Teams are key in fostering such a culture. The discussion boards there ensure that everyone is kept in the loop with developments occurring.
Having the Right People
The best-in-class tools cannot replace people. You need people with the right mentality and understanding of DevOps to implement the transformational change you wish for. According to The DevOps Institute, only 40% of organizations are able to recruit the DevOps talent they need. Organizations need people are committed to automation and improvement of the software delivery process. These people can also serve as evangelists for the transformation you are seeking.
Once you have the right people, you must invest in them through training and remuneration to avoid a high turnover ratio. The organization needs a good mix of experience and youth so there is no risk of losing too many important people at the same time. To address the shortage of developers and IT staff within the US. The Asian market has supplemented many US-based companies successfully.
Get the Right Tools
Finally, you must give staff the best tools to complement their technical skills. Whether it’s built tools, version control tools, or continuous integration tools, you need to consult widely to pick the right option. The right tools will get buy-in from employees as long as proper training is provided for them.
Knowing You’ve Invested in the Right DevOps
The broad nature of DevOps can make it difficult to assess the success of your DevOps efforts. It’s, therefore, best to know metrics you could use and pick those that suit you best. However, an executive should monitor both qualitative and quantitative metrics to get an objective assessment of the DevOps investment.
Transcendent Software is a tech-services company helping businesses put together the right software development environment. We will help you invest in the right DevOps tools and provide the necessary training for your team. To learn more, schedule a call with us here!