What comes to mind when you think about the software development process? Some solitary genius, coding for weeks or months at a time before emerging with an untested program?
Even if that picture was accurate at some point, it’s outdated now. Software delivery is a whole new beast when implementing DevOps best practices and ensuring that you reap the advantages of devops.
But before exploring the benefits of DevOps, let’s get some perspective. Before there was DevOps, there was Waterfall and Agile development.
DevOps vs. Agile vs. Waterfall Software Development Approaches
In the early days of development, the process looked like this:
- The developers would receive the customer’s requirements
- The engineering department would come up with designs and plans for the project
- The developers would get down to work
- Testing happened
- And then, if all went according to plan, the focus of development shifted to maintaining the software in good working order
That’s how the Waterfall development methodology worked. The problem? Adopting fresh changes or integrating updates required repeating the entire process from start-to-finish. This was both time-intensive and costly, and adding new features almost always meant stability issues for customers and never ending feedback loops.
In fact, in some cases, the issues were so challenging that customers preferred to keep inefficient legacy systems, rather than risk an update.
Introducing the Agile Development Approach
Next came lean and Agile development. Agile development focused specifically on fostering collaboration among developers and the client.
In Agile, clients no longer have to wait until the end of the development process to give feedback, because the software building process is broken down into smaller, actionable blocks known as ‘sprints’.
Throughout these sprints, clients can share their input on individual elements before developers ship them off to production. And because developers incorporate suggestions earlier, clients save time, money, and headaches.
But several issues still plague the Agile development method.
- The Development team and IT operations teams work in silos. Because they work on different projects at different times, inefficiencies exist that can slow down productivity.
- Developers don’t always understand how operations set up the production environment to work. As a result, they may build software that requires changing the existing production environment, which can be both time-consuming and cost-inefficient.
- At the same time, operations may not understand how the code in new software they are to test works. That makes troubleshooting minor issues a time-consuming process.
- In addition, operations may not understand why developers make requests for new development environment tools. In this way, the Agile methodology unintentionally pits Dev against Ops.
When developers and system operators are out of sync, the result is that software releases take longer, there are longer development cycles, and are costlier to deploy. Even worse, releases may still not match the client’s requirements, budget, or timeline, due to communication disconnects.
That’s where DevOps comes in.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is the process of building software faster, more efficiently, and meeting customer requirements more reliably through better collaboration between IT operators and developers.
The DevOps approach is more of culture than a process; in effect, it’s a continuous improvement mindset. When implemented successfully, DevOps focuses attention on continuous collaboration, automation, continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous delivery, and continuous monitoring and DevOps enables better customer satisfaction and customer experience.
What are the Benefits of DevOps?
Two major benefits of adopting DevOps are speed and continuous improvement. But there are plenty of additional benefits that come along with adopting DevOps.
1. DevOps streamlines collaboration between Dev and Ops
Efficiency improves when developers and production environment specialists team up to build software that’s compatible with both the production environment in-house and the client’s use cases. It’s a much better alternative to developers coming up with products that need refactoring to run at full capacity in subsequent architectures.
2. It encourages a transfer of technical skills across the board
A DevOps culture brings everyone together, including developers, system operators, testers, consultants, and software engineering heads.
In a DevOps environment, all teams gain a better understanding of the development’s bigger picture. Executives, for example, get to understand why their developers need particular tools for particular projects, as well as how acquiring them benefits the entire organization’s bottom-line.
As another example, take system operators, who learn to troubleshoot slight code issues during production because they know how the underlying codes work.
3. The development method fosters efficiency through automation
DevOps is an automation-heavy approach. If you want to enjoy the full benefits of DevOps in the cloud, you’ll need tools, tools, and more tools – including open source, freemium, and paid solutions.
When you identify the best DevOps automation tools for your team, and equip them with the skills needed to run the tools effectively, you can cut costs and delivery time drastically while becoming more productive.
4. DevOps nurtures lean software development through continuous integration
There is a code in DevOps: Get good enough to market, and then evolve and scale.
Perfectionism paralyzes. Adopting DevOps helps streamline the processes associated with adding features, patching security concerns, and releasing updates on the go. That makes it the perfect match for fast-paced business environments, where customers demand faster time to market and continuous updates to keep up with their own customers’ demands.
5. Continuous delivery DevOps benefits
As in the Agile development methodology, DevOps involves many people and many processes happening at the same time. The result is a reliable delivery schedule that thrives on team accountability.
6. Faster time to market
Whether you build software for customers or rely on modern software to do business, the continuous integration and delivery approach built into DevOps lets you release and use updates faster than competitors who rely on alternative development approaches.
7. DevOps model benefits make customers happy
A DevOps culture promotes open and continuous communication among developers, customers, operators, and executives. Customers not only get what they asked for, they also get to take part in creating the end product.
8. The approach encourages continuous innovation
Brainstorming great ideas becomes much easier and much more frequent when you have people representing various best practices in the software building workflow collaborating, instead of competing.
9. Continuous testing helps detect issues early on
Instead of waiting until the entire stack is done, DevOps involves testing new releases against KPIs to ensure security, compatibility, and performance improvements on the fly. Testing and monitoring processes can incorporate prior experiences to suggest code changes to developers before coding begins.
10. DevOps practices deliver more, faster
IDG found that 26% of surveyed organizations were able to see measurable benefits of adopting DevOps before they completed their IT modernization goals. Those benefits included discovering alternative ways to generate revenue, improving up-time, and positive customer feedback.
Another 31,000 businesses across different industries told DORA in its 2019 Accelerate State of DevOps Report that implementing DevOps delivers tangible ROI.
11. A DevOps culture promotes across-the-board ownership
Everyone in the DevOps workflow is responsible for the result. A DevOps culture isn’t just inclusive; it also ingrains ownership across the entire software engineering department.
Ultimately, DevOps best practices offer plenty of different ways to stay ahead of the competition, reinvent your workflows without disrupting daily operations, and foster productive collaborations.
Yet DevOps requires a cloud of tools, skills, and experience to come together in a seamless workflow.
Over 41% of organizations in the IDG survey referenced above said they abandoned their IT modernization strategy because they didn’t have the skills to do it. Training an in-house team can take forever, producing opportunity costs that arise when customers seek out more advanced competitors. Hiring great IT talent isn’t always a feasible solution either.
A better approach is to team up with a DevOps specialist like Simpat Tech who can help you improve your internal processes to be able to roll over technology challenges and deliver services faster.