The question comes up frequently in conversations with clients: Where should I start with my business’ DevOps transformation?
My answer, typically, is along the lines of, “let’s spend some time understanding where you are right now, and where you want to go.”
Yes, I’m basically flipping the ball back into the inquisitor’s court. Still, this type of deconstructionist mindset is critical in creating a viable road map that ultimately gets a business to its DevOps destination.
Generally speaking, I’m a staunch advocate of a number of Agile principles that dovetail with DevOps.
Do just enough up-front design work to get going quickly and gain value, as early as possible. Speed and time are of the essence—and when I mention time, I’m talking mere hours to get a platform up and running. That’s the idea behind, for example, the re-use of reference pipelines (one of our aims with the Accenture DevOps Platform).
Of course, there’s more to DevOps than just using the tooling. Culture, process, organization, governance, training, roles and responsibilities must be considered for an optimized end-to-end software delivery.
But, a company can do “just enough” to support an initial pilot (or pilots). Some training is also useful.
Getting some hands-on experience with key DevOps concepts, such as SCM, pipelines, build and release automation, code quality reviews and more, is always recommended. Allowing developers, the time to understand what “good” looks like can be very effective.
If you can build a pipeline, you can explain to the rest of your organization how it works, and you have every chance of beginning to adopt the sort of DevOps-mindset that drives continuous improvement.
In my experience, this approach equips key developers to knowledgeably engage with the complex business of a DevOps transformation, and they are underpinned by practical DevOps experience and seeing real-world benefits from pilot projects.
Your road map must be defined—it must build on the pilot phase and focus on what’s needed to support the scaled rollout of DevOps practices.
A working road map the organization can believe in also needs to include an initial view of which applications and technologies will DevOps be applied to and when.
And guess what? We’re just getting started. I’ll explain another approach for consideration in my next post. Stay tuned.