K&C’s DevOps transformation consulting service has supported a host of organisations large and small across Munich, Germany and Europe transition to a methodology of integrated, company-wide responsibility to delivering the best digital applications possible.
“DevOps is simply extending Agile principles beyond the boundaries of “the code” to the entire delivered service”. – The Agile Admin.
Cloud, automation and continuous delivery that development and operations teams are equal stakeholders in is important to the contemporary digital success of any organisation. And in today’s world, digital outperformance almost always equates to, or at the very least has a huge impact upon, overall organisational performance.
But what exactly is DevOps, how does it contribute to achieving better, more cost effective digital products (applications)? DevOps transformation is an evolution of the ‘agile’ and ‘lean’ project management approaches to software development. It extends those principles over to operations.
While ‘DevOps’ transformation focuses on creating collaboration and unification between development and operations engineers, there is no reason why that collaboration and mutual responsibility and ownership of digital products should not be organisation-wide.
This avoids the legacy inefficiency of code passed over from development to operations experts (systems engineers, system administrators, operations staff, release engineers, DBAs, network engineers, security professionals etc.) not always being deployable or running in the staging environment and harmonises success metrics across that former divide.
Another related term is DevSecOps transformation - introducing security continually throughout the development and operations integration of a software. At K&C, our DevOps Transformation consultants and methodology does not treat security as an optional upgrade to DevOps. It should be integral by default. DevOps that isn’t DevSecOps just doesn’t make sense.
Boiled down, organisations have realised that one group of employees being responsible for the creation of a digital product and another dealing with it thereafter, and ‘never the twain shall meet’, eats up a huge amount of resources. And results in an inferior end-product.
The transformation to a DevOps approach reduces costs and increases performance. It’s that simple and we’re here to enable that transformation within your organisation.
DevOps consulting must always align to the individual nature of an organisation. Your own capacity and culture will define the nature of how your transformation to a DevOps philosophy should be instilled. However, in our experience this transformation will involve 3 main stages. Depending upon circumstances these stages may unfold concurrently or sequentially.
As software applications continue to infiltrate every part of most modern organisations, management and ‘C-level’ executives are getting more involved in their development and integration. Their focus is on how new applications can be delivered in the most effective way.
So a truly effective DevOps transformation must include non-dev or ops management. And not only. Customer-facing roles are hugely important to a trans-organisational DevOps culture. These professionals can facilitate constant customer/user feedback into the evolution of an application. Or when applications are used internally, whoever is using them must be integrated into the agile, DevOps culture as part of a continual feedback and improvement loop.
For a DevOps transformation to be effective all stakeholders and disciplines throughout an organisation must be involved. And that involvement must be with the full support of the organisation’s leadership.
Sometimes referred to as a ‘shift left’, a DevOps transformation should involve a change in the testing cycle of new software so that it starts much earlier. This can and should involve the end-users the software is being developed for, offering earlier access.
Testing earlier in a new product’s lifecycle saves time and money. The DevOps approach is founded upon highlighting problems early and neutralising the risk of back end dependencies while increasing quality.
All stakeholders embracing the ‘fail fast and fail often’ mentality is central to a DevOps transformation. A major bottleneck in many organisations we begin a DevOps transformation consulting project with is an ingrained culture of ‘fail quietly and hide the evidence’.
When something doesn’t work out as per the best initial intentions, the legacy culture of means those responsible for a project will try to cover up its failure, sweep it under the carpet or try to transfer the blame. An organisation that works to DevOps principles actively encourages failure to be embraced as a positive outcome. The end product of the process becomes knowledge and experience to be learned from and will inform future products.
Stakeholders learning from their failures, and being able to feel this is as acceptable an outcome as the product proving a success if it leads to future gains, is central to a DevOps organisation growing in an agile way.
DevOps transformation isn’t just about collaboration between development and operations teams building and running software applications. The mindset of the entire organisation must ‘shift left’ to a pattern of continuous betterment, early testing, empowering the user whether internal or external and promoting outstanding success through failure.
The most common questions on DevOps transformation K&C’s consultants meet:
Communication: the foundation of a DevOps organisation is continuous communication and collaboration. So exemplary standards of communication should be a given when working with a DevOps transformation consulting partner. As it is with any good partner. At K&C we make sure continuous communication is a given. We practise what we preach.
Experience: you need a DevOps transformation consultant with a breadth and depth of case study experience. Your needs and the best approach to sustainably integrating an organisation-wide DevOps mentality will not be the same as for every other organisation. Too many consultants take a copy-paste approach.
We work with enterprise-level partners to start-ups. That experience allows us to quickly grasp where your organisation sits in terms of your DevOps culture and capacity and set out a roadmap towards completing the transformation best suited to your circumstances.
We Join You In The Trenches: we are DevOps engineers as well as consultants. Depending upon your needs we offer DevOps teams to actually build your products. That can either be alongside your own in-house teams as a team extension or as a dedicated team to build and run and maintain a particular product.
Baselines. The only objective way to measure the result of work towards a DevOps transition is to set baselines on the basis of historical data. Our consulting process will always include setting down baselines for appropriate metrics. These would typically include measurable such as:
Average recovery time from a broken build
Total repair time across all rebuilds testing shows are necessary.
How long have routine tasks taken to perform?
Product lifecycle times.
Baselines should be put down to measure anything that might be expected to change in your organisation through your DevOps transformation.
Elements may be switched in and out depending upon your circumstances but our DevOps transformation consulting methodology roughly follows the following stages:
Preliminary Assessment Workshop: the first stage is always a workshop with one of our senior DevOps transformation consultants. Here we will detail your organisation’s current IT infrastructure and capabilities, culture and capacity and set out a transformation roadmap based on your needs and circumstances.
Finalising DevOps Transformation Roadmap: setting down of the process we’ll go through and why. This will typically involve elements such as setting up of new communication channels and norms, team building and setting short-term ‘win’ targets.
Setting of Baselines: K&C’s DevOps Transformation consultants will work with you to set baseline metrics across every measurable we agree should improve throughout the consultancy process.
Choice of DevOps Technologies and Tools: identification and agreement on the DevOps technologies and tools that will enable automation or other efficiencies in your continuous delivery pipeline – reducing deployment times and increasing application code quality.
Managing Integration: planning a DevOps Transformation is the easy part. Now it’s time to get things in place. Integration of agreed changes might be sequential or concurrent depending on circumstances.
Ongoing Benchmarking and Evolution: your organisation’s DevOps transformation will not be an overnight process. We’ll help make sure you stay on track and tweak anything that needs tweaking as the evolution is ongoing. That will include benchmarking improving performance against baselines that have been set.
Headquartered in Munich, K&C has over 20 years of history and experience in enabling the IT performance of our partners. With German management and nearshored DevOps and other tech talent based in Poland & Ukraine, we combine best practise organisation and results with an accessible price point. Please do get in touch.
It’s the first step to the DevOps transformation that will make your organisation not only more efficient in what you currently do but open up the road ahead to new successes and heights.