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DevOps Success Factors: How to Build a High-performing Dev+Ops Team?

devops-success-factorsDevOps fosters and open culture of cross-discipline collaboration and the smart automation of processes to accelerate software delivery. As easy as that sounds, transitioning to a DevOps way of working isn’t always that straightforward.

We’ve collected a few fundamental DevOps success factors for organizations looking to make the transition. Focus on these critical factors to ensure that your teams really benefit from the use of DevOps practices instead of trying and failing on the rocky road to DevOps.

Key success factors of DevOps

Service & Product Ownership

A key characteristic (and advantage) of any Agile or DevOps approach is customer-orientation. In order to facilitate this cultural transition to a focus on customer value, the organization should evolve to accommodate new ownership roles.

Product and Service Owners head the collation and prioritization of requirements in the backlog, and support the delivery of business value along the entire process. Their oversight ensures continued focus on user value, and the communication of these priorities to all contributors.

Therefore, creating Product or Service Owner roles in the organization, and enabling them to carry out their mission is a crucial factor of DevOps success. This enablement means both empowering these new roles with rights and responsibilities, and measuring their performance tied to customer satisfaction KPIs.

Cross-functional teams

Breaking down silos is the backbone of a DevOps approach. The way practitioners get there is by setting up multi-skilled teams that include all stakeholders involved in the development and support of the service/product. Cross-departmental teams boost collaboration and efficient, open communication among team members.

Not only does this reduce the waiting time and ambiguity resulting from having to work together with someone in another siloed organizational unit, it also enables team members to learn from each other. Sharing knowledge leads to the development of better services or products over time.

Use DevSecOps to bolster security

In a super high velocity Agile environment, the creation of fancy new features is assigned a high priority – often at the expense of product security and robustness considerations. While DevOps can serve as a remedy simply by connecting Dev and Ops team members, there is more you can do to improve product design from the early engineering phases.

Using DevSecOps helps you bake security aspects into the processes of product delivery. By shifting security left in the lifecycle, you can uncover and fix issues earlier, achieve continuous improvement around product security, and standardize the use of mature DevSecOps processes internally.

Related reading: DevSecOps: Building Security into DevOps

The DevOps CI/CD automation toolset

While the Agile manifesto explicitly favours “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”, that doesn’t mean you won’t need tools at all. Having the right tooling greatly simplifies certain processes and activities, and can thus help reduce errors, development time, and costs.

In fact, successful DevOps teams are very reliant on a number of technologies and software platforms for version control, configuration management, build, source control, monitoring, and more. Automation is an all-around DevOps keyword, and Continuous Integration & Deployment (together referred to as Continuous Delivery) are achievable mainly through a smart automation strategy. Nowhere is automation more important than around the topic of testing.

To ensure high product quality, DevOps involves a lot of testing. But testing means tons of work that could be spent innovating new features instead. That’s why DevOps teams strive to automate testing as much as possible in their strive for continuous delivery.

Many high-performing enterprise DevOps teams see the key to success in adopting integrated tools like codeBeamer ALM to manage their DevOps processes.

Monitoring & KPIs

DevOps is all about continuous learning and improvement, and a constant effort to uncover and solve problems around the lifecycle. Monitoring is therefore of vital importance – both in terms of the released product, but also to ensure oversight over development processes.

In order to be successful at DevOps, you’ll need to build out a metric system to keep an eye on and analyze process flow, velocity, and team (as well as, in certain cases, individual) performance. Define KPIs that measure DevOps goals like “escaped defects” or “cycle time”, and use these metrics to drive performance improvement.

  

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