Get ready for DevOps practices to move from the fringe to mainstream in 2016. Gartner predicts that the formerly niche DevOps movement will be adopted by 25 percent of the market and their proof comes with more than just tea readings.
During the latter half of 2015, engineers practicing DevOps earned between $103,000 and $129,000, a market value increase of 7.1 percent. Plus, the demand for IT professionals experienced in DevOps friendly configuration management tools like Puppet and Chef grew by 63 percent and 67 percent, respectively.
DevOps practices are more than just a fashionable trend. Delivery speeds up, customer feedback is fast –tracked, and continuous improvements become part of the culture. Here are our guidelines for any business looking to be an early adopter and reap these productivity benefits.
What DevOps Practices Strive to Fix
Heads down coders have long been the bane of efficient app development. Most modern practices strive to eliminate that myopia and instead encourage informed, holistic practices that deliver superior apps fast. How do DevOps practices give that goal more than lip service? By focusing on business rather than technical elements and using team cohesion to achieve success.
At some point in the development schema, teams separated into silos. Developers narrowed their focus on the technical side of turning epics into code and features. Software was developed for software’s sake, and once released, the application became someone else’s problem. Operations, on the other hand, only contributed to the release and its aftermath. Ideation was not part of their wheelhouse. With both teams pulling in different directions, it is a wonder how we ever achieved anything in a timely manner.
Under that old mindset, there is no shortage of inefficiency and discord. Story mapping loses valuable perspectives when operations are not included in the development process. Their day-to-day activities and real-time fixes might deviate from the original objective. That means that any walking skeleton of your application might receive plenty of bumps and bruises as it steps into a working environment.
Agile was implemented to overcome some of the failings of previous practices, pursuing adaptive sprints to speed up feedback cycles from early customers. DevOps practices take a few steps further, incorporating most of planning and all of the post release stages into one connected way of thinking.
How DevOps Looks in Practice
Much of the trick to using DevOps practices falls back on application segmentation and process automation. Let’s say an application works like a dream in a test environment but goes haywire once it has been sent out into the world. When the development team is presented with this puzzle, where do they begin with such a monolithic application structure?
That’s one of the reasons why DevOps thinking discourages building monolithic applications. Instead of reinventing the wheel with every new release, your development team can incorporate smaller functional parts, creating a composite that can more easily be tested, fixed, and updated.
Testing also takes on new dimensions in practice. For starters, testing should run tandem to development phases in pseudo-live environments supported by existing databases. Beta users can navigate features and find problems in each composite piece of your application. That way, your development team doesn’t need to play hide and seek with defective lines of code.
Bringing beta users into the equation also helps in the process of automation. Rather than help desk funneling error reports to your developers after you’ve gone live, you can gather user reported issues incrementally so the Minimal Viable Product launches with far fewer glitches. The idea is to fail fast so you can quickly recover.
Any other repetitive process that you decide to automate (source code conversion, further testing, and deployment) should increase speed without risking major slipups. As one of the other core principles of DevOps practices and culture is continuous learning, your team can constantly find new ways to automate and speed up the overall development process.
Getting Started with DevOps Practices
For those looking to take the plunge into DevOps culture, there are two fast ways to do so. First, you could search the market for an experienced DevOps engineer or project manager. The value is clear: you gain a permanent team member with continuous improvement as a core motivator. The tradeoff is that you have to pay that professional an often very competitive salary.
For those looking for a more short term solution, an outsourced development team is a great option. We at AIT Global provide our client partners with the knowledge and expertise of IT professionals who look to the latest development trends and always strive for continuous learning. Contact us today if you want your next application to be developed with an end-to-end solution in mind.