When the Agile methodology revolution began in 2001, it called for
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Over the past 16(!) years these tenants have spawned dramatic changes to software engineering and technology as a whole. One of the more recent beneficial offshoots of Agile is DevOps. While Agile alone is powerful, its adoption traditionally omits operations, which can obstruct the delivery cadence. DevOps removes this obstruction by applying Agile values to deployment, environment configuration, monitoring and maintenance tasks. All of this helps development teams increase the frequency of application updates. This is critical in today's market.
What Is DevOps?
In short DevOps is a culture change first. Then, a set of practices, tools, and policies that lead to improved quality and Automated Delivery (AD). This is done through the tight integration between software developers and IT infrastructure professionals. More importantly DevOps emphasizes communication, collaboration, and automation, to make infrastructure changes and software delivery much easier.
The DevOps success stories have been pouring in for a while and the DevOps movement is now rapidly spreading throughout the technical community. The RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report: DevOps Trends, surveyed a total of 1,060 IT professionals, 47% of whom represent enterprise companies with more than 1,000 employees, to get the real story on just how popular DevOps has become.
According to the report:
- 74% of respondents were in the process of adopting DevOps, compared to 66% in 2015
- 81% of enterprises are actively adopting DevOps practices
Just because all of these enterprises are adopting DevOps doesn't mean the transition is fast or easy. It is important to keep in mind that while the benefits of DevOps practices and tools are noteworthy and attainable, not all companies will be able to employ the methodology correctly and efficiently. In our experience, the process takes patience, education, mentors, and the drive to make it work.
Transitioning to DevOps
As you know, change at a company, or in general, is hard. Especially when these changes challenge professional skills. To effectively transition to a DevOps culture we recommend embracing DevOps differently and methodically. Focus on the culture of your Engineering IT, and Product teams. Many companies skip this part. Your teams may have the technical knowledge down pat, but they haven't acclimatized to the culture, which can cause a number of complications when it comes to communication and collaboration.
To implement DevOps projects and tools correctly, developers must first be disciplined in the culture. This means caring about the complete development and delivery life cycle -- through deployment, operations, quality assurance, etc. -- and not just about the code or your individual piece of the puzzle. In the end, the tools employed for DevOps, should only exist to support this culture. In our opinion it doesn't stop there, the whole organization should learn to embrace DevOps and Agile methodologies to maximize success.The most successful implementations have support from top level executives right on down to the newest engineers.
When that culture is in place you can begin your DevOps implementation. Our next crucial tip for a successful DevOps transition: start small. Before you jump into DevOps you must first understand what problems you are trying to solve, and whether you need to make a complete commitment to all of the elements or just specific aspects. A slow transition will allow for small wins along the way. This is crucial for fighting burnout and keeping teams engaged and excited.
Common DevOps Transition Roadblocks
Even if you successfully implement a DevOps culture and effectively focus on the most significant pain points one at a time you may still run into issues. A common struggle for a lot of companies, especially small to medium size businesses (SMEs) is keeping top DevOps talent. In a tight and highly competitive playing field, talent is often poached by more established and 'sexier' companies. This makes it tough for smaller companies to keep strong talent experienced working within a DevOps culture.
Fortunately, if our organization lacks the resources to hire or maintain top talent, there is another option for optimizing your DevOps transition.
Nearshoring the DevOps Transition
No leading application can survive the market without embracing a devops mindset and implementing deployment automation on different levels. To get there, you need the right staff. Luckily, your DevOps dreams aren't doomed if you don't have the right staff. Instead of recruiting talent from the US, there's opportunity for companies to look beyond their borders to find a business partner in relatively close proximity, especially in Latin America.
This practice is called nearshoring. It is a game changer. With the right nearshoring partner you can successfully and cost effectively:
- Augment your engineering bandwidth with teams in your same time zone
- Tackle new developments or maintain existing applications
- Leverage stable long-term teams of flexible size
- Develop and then maintain robust, elastic, and scalable applications
- Augment your QA team with specialized, nearshore testing staff
- Increase your automatic testing coverage
- Deploy rapid manual testing
- Successfully transition to an effective and sustainable DevOps culture and infrastructure
You may be wondering why nearshore staff augmentation from Latin America is preferred over outsourcing to Asia. It is simple. While there are numerous advantages to nearshoring to Latin America. At its core, Agile requires constant communication between the customer and the development team. DevOps is a comprehensive, collaborative, and cross-team approach to managing the software development processes that relies heavily on automation and sharing. To remain Agile and for DevOps to work, your developers must be awake when you are awake. For US companies, working within similar time zones in Latin America makes this possible.
Find the Right Nearshore Partner
It quickly becomes impossible to maintain a competitive and stable application without a DevOps team to help automate the deployment of new functionalities and infrastructure. It really is a no brainer, through automating end-to-end delivery processes you maximize business value and speed up time-to-market. That said, many companies can not transition to DevOps on their own. The successful ones are turning to a strategic partnership with an nearshore software vendor to lower costs and increase engineering bandwidth.
If you are a US or Canada-based company that needs help transitioning to DevOps and do not want to lose the benefits of offshore support, we highly recommend looking for software development and IT service vendors in Colombia, Mexico, or Latin America in general, that overlap your timezone.
More on PSL: With more than 30 years of experience, PSL specializes on outsourcing and nearshoring software development projects as well as Team Augmentation. Based in Colombia, Mexico and the US, PSL is an agile SCRUM development shop focused on high quality services.