Why Agile? DEVOPSdigest asked the experts for their opinions on what are the most important advantages of being Agile. Part 5, the final installment, covers how Agile improves product quality and the customer experience ...
In Part 1 of this series, I shared some insights from industry research analysts on the accomplishments, challenges and opportunities presented by the explosive growth and adoption of DevOps. In the last few years the industry has seen a massive transformation in the availability and applicability of tools that make DevOps an even better and more practical solution for organizations that are creating value through software. In Part 2, I'll dive into some findings from CollabNet's outreach to industry analysts: Stephen Hendrick of AD Research, Edwin Yuen of the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), Altaz Valani of InfoTech Research Group and Clive Longbottom of Quocirca. I asked them about the greatest challenges facing enterprises venturing into the world of DevOps and to touch on what lies ahead for the future of the DevOps movement.
DevOps was once viewed as a strategy employed by only the most innovative and cutting edge companies — "unicorns" like Netflix and Amazon. Today, organizations of all sizes and verticals are realizing the incredible business value that DevOps provides. We are now at a crossroads. The number of tools available to fuel DevOps has exploded, and reconciling these various platforms is becoming increasingly important.
InfoTech senior research director, Altaz Valani, points to Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools as a solution to help encourage collaboration and knock down silos: "With many traditional companies now positioning themselves as software companies, this will place significant pressure toward greater collaboration as traditional silos continue to break down," said Valani. "We will see more openness and collaboration across teams enabled through ALM tools. These ALM tools will continue to mature and provide opportunities for pipeline optimization from the portfolio level down to the project and task level."
A good Agile ALM solution enables continuous feedback that gives organizations the ability to react in real-time, while fully integrating various stakeholders earlier in the development pipeline, increasing development speed, reducing the number of revisions, and, ultimately lowering costs.
What Are the Biggest Challenges to DevOps?
With all that said, one of the biggest challenges for organizations transitioning or maintaining a DevOps approach isn't a tech issue, but focuses on cultural adoption. Stephen Hendrick from AD Research cites culture as one of the biggest hurdles in the path to DevOps success.
"Cultural momentum and resistance to change are the biggest challenges to DevOps in 2017," said Hendrick. "This has been the biggest challenge to Agile since its origin. Stakeholder support, patience, and use of Agile project management and release management tools are the best way to drive higher levels of success with Agile and DevOps."
Part of the challenge of this cultural shift is figuring out how to integrate developers who are unfamiliar with the DevOps framework into new practices, as well as identifying areas where traditional development might still be a good option. ESG Analyst Edwin Yuen views this as one of the biggest challenges organizations face.
"As more and more companies adopt Agile and DevOps, there will need to be a balance in working with more traditional style developers into the newer development models, while still integrating those developers who are not only well versed in Agile and DevOps, but essentially require it because they have never worked otherwise. Thus, it's not just a shift from one model to another but how to bring everyone together," said Yuen.
As DevOps continues to grow, and more tools join the marketplace, it will become increasingly important to leverage Agile ALM solutions to manage these tools and keep moving at the speed of business. Clive Longbottom, founder and analyst at Quocirca, views DevOps ability to adapt to business needs as one of the driving factors for success.
"Ensuring that the pace of change matches that demanded/needed by the business itself," said Longbottom. "IT must not lag or push – its job is to respond as required while maintaining an eye on what is happening in the technology world so that it can advise the business on what could be beneficial as soon as possible."
In addition to leveraging Agile ALM tools as a means to meet the speed requirements of business, organizations should look to add automation where possible to streamline the pipeline as much as possible and create a workflow that enables testing, QA, and feedback as quickly as possible to increase release speeds and lower costs.
By leveraging new tools on the marketplace and using a robust Agile ALM solution, organizations will continue to reap the benefits of DevOps moving through 2017 and continue to build more value for their business through software.
Eric Robertson is VP DevOps Product Engineering & Management at CollabNet.