If there is one buzzworthy word in the software development space today, it's likely devops, the software development method that facilitates communication and collaboration between different parts of an organization (e.g. engineering, operations, marketing, etc.). As companies integrate previously disparate functions, enabled in part by the movement of data and related processes into the cloud, devops gains in popularity as both a strategy and a philosophy.
One of the primary benefits of moving to devops is that it produces a more responsive software development process. This in turn delivers faster time to market with lower failure rate of releases, which is obviously appealing to many organizations. Because of this, we're asked time and time again by customers whether they should be making the transition to devops.
The answer isn't one-size-fits-all for every company, but there are a few questions that businesses should ask before seriously considering making a switch.
Is devops a fit for us?
If you have a software company that works primarily in the cloud, and your business requires constant continuous deployments, than transitioning to devops may be a good move for you. As a devops Engineer friend told me and now I tell all our customers, first take a look at the technical blogs of companies like NetFlix and Etsy. If what you read there could be applied to your own business, then consider devops.
How will we use it?
Devops can mean different things to different companies, so it's key to identify early how yours intends to use it. Do you plan to implement automated testing and continuous integration processes? How about continuous deployment? These are questions that should be asked sooner rather than later in the process.
Do we need outside support?
Once companies make the decision to transition to devops, the next question likely becomes whether they'll facilitate this process in house, or look outside the organization for support. We typically advise that the transition to devops involve both internal and external players -- those inside the business understand its as a culture and set of systems better than anyone, and those outside the business bring the benefit that comes with an independent perspective. This partnership approach may mean outsourcing the initial setup and then managing the process moving forward internally, or working closely with an outside vendor for the full set-up, implementation, and management.
How will we measure success?
Whether working with an outside partner or managing the process internally, it's vital to have a clear sense of what your company's goals are throughout the transition process, and what results will mean success, both internally and for your customers.
Ultimately, devops presents a terrific opportunity for companies, particularly in the software development space, to grow their businesses internally and better serve customers. As with any many technology transitions, though, the key to success is asking the right questions beforehand, and ensuring that your company has a clear and well-defined vision going in to the process.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?