The State of DevOps – Main Takeaways After DOES London

DevOps is moving forward and influences various industries, changing the way companies of all sizes deliver software. Few times a year, the community of DevOps experts and practitioners gathers at a conference to discuss the latest trends, share insights, and exchange best practices. This year’s DevOps Enterprise Summit in London was one of these unique chances to participate in this uplifting movement.

When our team got back after DevOps Enterprise Summit in London, we set an engaging, internal discussion. It’s probably a common attitude for every company valuing knowledge exchange, that once attending some interesting conference, your representatives share insights, their thoughts, and news regarding the topics covered during the event. The discussion arose when members of our team had started sharing their takeaways regarding keynotes, speeches, and ideas presented at the conference.

That opened the stream of news and opinions shared by those of our teammates who also follow the latest trends in the industry by attending various meetups, listening to podcasts, etc. Here is the list of the main topics.

DevOps 2nd Day – Introduction

DevOps is no longer one of these innovative ideas for early adopters, which everyone has heard about but is not aware of how to start with adopting it. Now, it’s a must-have for every organization that intends to stay relevant in competitive markets. When you ask enterprises about using DevOps in their organizations, their representatives will tell you that they have already implemented this culture or are in the process of doing that. On the other hand, if you ask them if they are already satisfied with the adoption, the answer would be no – there are so many practices and principles, what makes the process demanding and it lasts a while.

Nowadays, discussions from “How to implement DevOps in our organization” have evolved into “How can we improve our DevOps practices.” The truth has been told - tech advanced companies need this agile culture to build a successful business. But simultaneously, once they introduce DevOps to their teams, new challenges occur. It’s a natural way of technology/culture adoption. As a person responsible for the cultural shift, you have to communicate it clearly – DevOps wouldn’t solve all your issues. In some cases, it may seem like a reason for some new struggles. The answer to these concerns is simple, your organization is growing, evolution is never done, and change is a constant way of managing things.

Facing DevOps 2nd Day issues is rather the rich man’s problem – you should be there, and you have to tackle them. All the new challenges appear after making an advanced step forward.

Scaling Up - from a Core Tech Team to the Entire Organization Working Globally

Core tech teams are the first to adopt the newest solutions, but they cannot work properly without supportive teams (HR, Sales, Marketing, Accounting, etc.). After going through the successful implementation, the next step is to encourage cooperating teams to this mindset and ways of running projects.

As the enterprises that consist of thousands of employees and hundreds of teams cannot provide their crew with the flexibility in designing their very own working culture, there is a need to encourage all teams to once implemented practices.

For tech leaders, responsible for introducing DevOps in their teams, it means that their job evolves to being a DevOps advocate, who presents its value to the whole organizations and makes it a commonly known and used approach. The larger the company is the more complex the entire change becomes, but it's unavoidable when you intend to get the most out of it.

Along with advocating for expanding DevOps in the entire organization, also the very challenging job is to determine the right tech stack. New tools come and go, being responsible for selecting to the most useful toolset that will be in use for a significant period is tough and requires overall knowledge, strategy, and deep understanding of tech processes. Once determined toolset should be recommended to cooperating teams and that may provoke new issues, but is unavoidable. Should you leverage the same tech stack for all teams? When is the right time to adopt new tools? Should you leave it all to the team? Well, there is no right answer to any of these questions, and it highly depends on the situation.

DevOps is Changing Various Industries and Not Limit Itself to Tech Companies

Attending DOES in London was a great opportunity to learn more about how DevOps influences the world’s coolest companies, not often associated with technology. Let’s look at the two of the most recognized sportswear retailers - Adidas and Nike. Both these brands are synonyms to heroism, activity, sports achievements. But, as their representatives presented, both companies can overshadow many of tech brands, with their DevOps maturity and advanced approach to using technology in growing their businesses.

Following these business cases, we can agree that the time when cutting-edge technologies and methodologies often paired with them are limited to IT companies is officially over. Nowadays, industry by industry is convincing themselves to the latest solutions as developing software for internal processes is a natural competitive advantage.

Continuous Adaptation and Life-long Learning

The best thing about working in a DevOps culture is that you just cannot say that the process has finished, that a company has transformed, and that a team has mastered the way of delivering software. Taking into account how creative the community gathered around DevOps is, how fast new ideas arise, how often its fundamentals are improved, you have to keep learning about new things.

It would be extremely comfortable if a company could once undergo digital transformation and treat the process as a completed. But if we take a look at the evolution of technology and methodologies designed to take full advantage of its capabilities, it’s obvious that it cannot be finished. Adoption of a DevOps mindset is the beginning of a change and should be conducted as a never-ending evolution.

You Can’t Be Good at Everything, Which is Fine, But You Have to Know Your Pain Points

Excluding enterprises with enormous budgets, all organizations have limitations that obligate them to focus only on some aspects of conducting business processes. As an expert, a professional who works in a highly competitive market, you have to follow the latest trends, be aware of upcoming solutions, and cutting-edge technologies that are reshaping the business.

Being up to date is extremely important, but almost equally essential is the ability to decide on which things you cannot engage, as your time and resources are not flexible. Being responsible for your company means being aware of pain points and focusing only on the things that matter. Technology is developing extremely fast, you cannot afford to be an early adopter of every promising solution. Your job is to make responsible decisions, based on your deep understanding of the current state of technology development.

If You Don’t Know What to Choose, Think About What’s Better for Your Business

DevOps came to being as an efficient solution to the common challenge - how to sync software development and IT operations processes to help companies thrive. Built with business effectiveness in mind, this culture has the right foundations. Choosing approaches that were designed to resolve not only internal issues but also to enable revenue growth is good for your overall success.

Anytime you face a situation when you have to decide between different solutions, always consider your company's long term perspective. When you are focused only on your goals, you may contribute to building siloses. The key to determine which ideas are the right to choose is their overall usability. We all, as professionals in our niches, may tend to prefer idealistic solutions. It’s important that we don’t work in an ideal world and our job is verified by the market.

Adopting New Tools and Technologies is Challenging, But the Real Quest Appears When It Comes to Change People's Habits and Company Culture

If you want to make your colleagues angry, implement new toolset and new technologies in your team. Apart from tech freaks and beta testers, people are rather skeptical when it comes to learning new features and new UI. Things change when you provide them with solutions that make their work easier and more efficient.

But the real trouble occurs when you are trying to change your company's culture. It’s nothing new that we protect what we know, don’t want to change our habits, or even feel in danger when someone is trying to reshape the way we have been doing our job for ages. Your colleagues defend themselves which is natural, you cannot change it. You have to take this into account and make sure that the process will be smooth enough to help everyone adjust to the new reality. Start with small steps, be the example, discuss the issues, and explain potential opportunities. Shock therapy as a path to the cultural shift is not the way to go.

As a team developing our product - Cloudboostr - multicloud, enterprise-ready Kubernetes, we help companies adopt a complete cloud-native stack, built with proven patterns and best practices, so they could focus their resources on improving their working culture. The feedback we’re receiving is that our customer’s teams are more open to start using new toolset then to change the approach to software delivery.

Being a DevOps Professional is Hot Now

DevOps practitioners are much in demand. It’s a great time to master the skills required to be a specialist in DevOps as companies of all sizes are looking for help in modernizing their businesses. There are various ways of approaching it - by building an in-house team, outsourcing processes, collaborating with external consultants. Companies choose preferred manner accordingly to their needs and budget.

No matter if you work in a dedicated team at a huge enterprise, developing startup with your colleagues, or providing consulting services for global brands, being a DevOps expert is a strong competitive advantage on the talent market.

Sum Up

DevOps is moving forward and is great to be among teams that contribute to its evolution. We are willing to share our expertise, exchange knowledge, and learn from the best in the business, and conferences like DevOps Enterprise Summit are the best platforms to do it.

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