DevOps is now considered by many to be mainstream, which explains why DevOps Engineer is ranked #2 on Glassdoor's 50 Best Jobs in America list. But popular doesn't necessarily mean easy to adopt and implement. As more companies and organizations deploy common DevOps practices, there are just as many considering the prospect of doing so.
Simply put, DevOps is the pinnacle that everyone is striving to achieve. Still, there are only a few organizations that are truly prepared for it. Obviously, you're going to face many challenges and obstacles if you wish to implement modern DevOps practices within your organization. Even nearshore software development providers work to circumvent DevOps barriers by starting with agile methodologies and coming up with new and innovative ways to align organizations remotely. Knowing how and when to adapt and what you can do to remedy issues is key to achieving success.
Here are a handful of common barriers you might encounter along the way and the ideal solution to help you get past it:
Overcoming the resistance to change
When you finally make the decision to adopt and implement DevOps, the entire process can seem scary to personnel, stakeholders, and influential partners. Buy-in from stakeholders is incredibly important to maintain forward momentum for your transformation. Many of these parties are resistant to change, especially in the face of currently operating systems and processes, even if they aren't considered efficient. After all, if it's not broken, why fix it?
It is important that you ease your way into the adoption of DevOps, selecting a small product or application that you can remodel to work with existing processes. The idea is that your team and organization can slowly become accustomed to the new development protocols. Over time, they will learn the many benefits of these systems and actually get to see first hand what DevOps can offer. Before you know it, everyone will be onboard, and you'll be ready to dive into a full-scale system.
A major and successful shift to DevOps cannot happen overnight, because it needs to be smooth, streamlined, and honored by all. The best way to garner that kind of engagement and support is to ease into the development process, as opposed to shoving it on everyone with little warning. Another way to overcome major issues is to implement IT outsourcing and subcontracting strategies for the parts of your work that don't require the expertise of your team or that aren't integral to the development of your product. This puts the responsibility of certain IT functions on third-party providers instead of your internal teams, allowing them to focus on implementing DevOps practices. Just be sure that whatever you implement will aid your future DevOps practices and not hinder them.
Eliminate clashing tools and systems
One common problem with a lot of organizations is that they have established silos between departments such as Ops and Dev. As a result, separate teams might have separate tools and processes for completing work, which can clash when you try to adopt more efficient systems. Varying legacy metrics platforms can cause some egregious problems when trying to work collaboratively across an organization. This is especially true if your team has been operational for quite some time, with their own tried and true methods, tools, and systems for development.
To make matters worse, when you make sweeping changes, there are some parties that are more resistant to change, refusing to part with legacy tools. You need to find ways to show how and why legacy tools are inferior. You also must showcase clear-cut benefits within your current infrastructure.
The solution is to slowly implement DevOps, as outlined in the step above. More importantly, you'll want to sit down with your varying teams—including Dev and Ops—to hash out tools and features that are needed. That way, when you finally choose a comprehensive solution, you can be sure that everyone gets what they want or need, and that development will run smoothly.
If you want to see a smooth transition, you'll need to be prepared to garner the kind of collaboration and teamwork required to keep DevOps processes moving forward. That's why it is incredibly important to help each team member understand the value of understanding the whole lifecycle.
Central to DevOps is the potential for automation and streamlined operations. Without it, agile initiatives are harder to achieve and develop. It's also one of the five key findings shared in the 2017 State of DevOps Report.
Unfortunately, many of the legacy tools and systems that teams currently use are not conducive to automation and collaboration. Existing processes can also be crux because continuous testing and development are necessary for smooth deployment. Personnel might also be resilient to adopting newer, automated processes, and many are worried about job security.
The solution to this might take quite a bit of patience and time to implement, and understand that the process to adoption may not be smooth or fast. Continuous testing, integration, communication, delivery, and collaboration between departments are critical to future success but they're all concepts you'll want to focus on right from the start. This includes planning out security and newer processes in advance, to ensure you're not shoehorning anything later. Trying to change things at a later stage is not only a hassle but it can also significantly slow down operations. It is therefore important to come up with a proper roadmap that takes into account all of your sources, processes, and the time you have available. And don't forget to weave in automation. Be realistic about your expectations and don't expect automation to happen overnight.
Keep an eye on your budget
Money makes the world go round, and it's also what keeps your business and organization afloat. Any resourceful manager will tell you that it takes money to make money, and this is especially true of a transformative project like adopting DevOps. This can be attributed to the widespread changes such a transformation may require, like the implementation of new tools, skills and training, structures and processes, and much more.
A sweeping change might also cause employee performance to decrease, at least initially, which will mean that the productivity across your organization is going to suffer. This can result in an even greater financial hit. You need to ensure your team and organization is prepared for this. In the initial stages, you'll want to keep a close eye on your budget and refrain from making any other expensive moves. The cost benefits of a DevOps approach are definitely worth it, but it takes times to see them come to fruition.
It takes time
As we've already said, making the shift to DevOps will not happen overnight, and not everyone will be onboard. In fact, it's likely that you will have to deal with resistance for quite some time even after adoption.
You'll hear plenty of questions, dissent, and possibly even conflict: Why do we need DevOps anyway? We already had agile processes, why do we need something new?
Understand that it's not just a long process, but one that you need everyone to adopt and strive for. The solution is to continue to educate and inform everyone involved. Talk it through and communicate with your teams. Explain why the change is being made and what everyone can hope to achieve once it's complete. Use cases and examples of others in the market show how things worked in the past, and how this can be applied to your business. You'll need to sell it, like a product. Be prepared to invest the time and resources it takes to adopt DevOps, and update your teams.