What’s The Reasons Behind the Hype Around DevOps and Agile Transformation?
In the consulting and software delivery space, I’ve seen a lot of different approaches to software development come and go over the years. It’s all good. However, the ones that have stayed are part of the evolution of our industry’s work practices. Although things will no doubt change, I’m only interested in the current situation.
There is a slew of trendy terms being thrown around when it comes to creating software these days. Agile and DevOps Transformation movement are two of the most important trends in this era. Both terms, like many in the field of software development, are ambiguous and can mean different things to different people. For some people, these terms are interchangeable, while for others, they are a compliment. There are many ways of saying “Agile,” and many ways of describing what it means to be a “DevOps engineer.”
When it comes to Agile Transformation and DevOps, let’s answer the following questions:
What does Agile Transformation mean?
Agility and transformation are two buzzwords that have joined forces to form a phrase only rivalled by “Thought Leadership” and “Leveraging Synergy,” both of which have been around for a long time. Once you’re done rolling your eyes, the phrase has a clear meaning. Being nimble makes me think of Spiderman darting from the web to building to the web as he soars through the city. Whenever an obstacle appears in his path, our friendly neighbourhood hero can gracefully alter his course. For software development projects, this means changing the way you do your work to transform.
Using the term “agile” is based on four values stated in the Agile Manifesto, which was released in 2001.
- People and interactions are more important than systems and tools.
- A working program is preferable to in-depth documentation.
- Over contract negotiation, the customer collaborates with the seller.
- Adapting to a situation according to a predetermined course of action.
- Knowing what you value most is key to being nimble.
Changes and obstacles can be dealt with more effectively if you can change your values and drive how you build software. For this post, we’ll use that definition.
What is DevOps, and how does it differ from traditional software development and delivery?
It’s a combination of “development” and “operations,” which is called DevOps. The person who coined this phrase probably used this word to indicate that developers and operations people were working together. Traditionally, developers would write code and hand it off to operations, who would then be responsible for deploying it. Even longer meetings and the longest lead times were the results of these long nights. The division of labour promotes conflicting goals, such as the addition of new functionality while also ensuring the system’s long-term stability. Fast, stable, and long-term software delivery is not promoted.
The foundation of DevOps is based on a set of principles developed by a group of very smart people:
- Maximize the flow of information.
- Aim to shorten the feedback loops.
- Transmit what you’ve learned.
These are the three pillars of DevOps, and there are variations on the theme. “DevOps” can be defined as the practice of deploying changes to production, receiving feedback from customers, and incorporating that feedback into the product through rapid iteration cycles, all while continuously improving your software delivery process (whew.)
Agile Manifesto principles and practices can be backed up by DevOps principles and practices to ensure that software is delivered in the spirit of the manifesto.
So, do you think they’re the same?
According to one school of thought, Agile processes focus solely on software development, ending when the code is ready to be put out into the world for all to see. DevOps adherents believe that the deployment gap is filled by DevOps, which integrates software deployment and operation with all other upstream tasks. Putting these two concepts together like puzzle pieces is an option.
To put it another way, DevOps and Agile are two different approaches to software development that emphasize different aspects of the software development process. Overlap is inevitable, as illustrated in the following graph.
DevOps and Agile Transformation are not the same thing, but they do work together to support each other. The industry might not have embraced improvement as enthusiastically if it had not switched to Agile development. When it comes to software delivery success, DevOps is critical. Without it, Agile may never have been considered successful.
What Agile Transformation and DevOps both share is the fact that they are executed incorrectly far more often than correctly. Is it possible to do them correctly?
Getting it Right
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful Agile Transformation. The path to Agile and DevOps adoption is unique for each team and each situation. As a first step, consider developing some of these basic cultural competencies before I start calling you “grasshopper” and answering all your questions with questions.
Make a point to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing.
For a team-wide change to be successful, it must be based on a rationale that everyone can agree on. Agile Transformation or DevOps is often a first step taken by companies who feel they are either too late to the game or are already on fire and believe that “doing Agile” will put out the flames. A set of rituals is given to the developers, but they have no idea what the rituals are for.
Getting the team on board means explaining why and how Agile Transformation the right approach is. Make sure your metrics and goals are aligned with your long-term strategy. Let your colleagues know about them. Make your goals measurable and time bound.
Don’t just copy and paste someone else’s Agile process or tools to get started. It will not succeed.
Stop Seeing It as an Endless Quest.
Continuous improvement is a fundamental tenet of Agile Transformation. The goal is to constantly improve your abilities in your chosen field. If you don’t keep trying to get better, this effort will come to an end. Agile software development and DevOps practices can help a team understand this when it’s done correctly.
Make Your Workplace a Learning Environment
Most of our life’s lessons are learned through failure. That’s why you need to fail if you want to learn new things. Is the fear of failure pervasive in your workplace? If this is the case, getting better will be difficult for you.
How would you like your team to learn from small successes and failures in a way that they could apply to their work? Yes, that’s doable. Encourage your students to try out new things and see what works. Make it ok to fail. Is it possible to speed up development by using trunk-based methods? Is it possible to automate the deployment of a single application on a daily, hourly, or on-demand basis?
Take a Reading
Results are what we’re talking about when we talk about outcomes. Scrum training, planning sprints, and not writing any documentation are common ways to begin an Agile transformation. This is, of course, incorrect.
The best place to begin is by identifying the most important outcomes and tracking the progress made toward achieving them. As an example, four fundamental metrics for Continuous Delivery are discussed in the book “Accelerate” (see the Resources section below). “Delivery Lead Time” refers to the time elapsed between the time code is committed and when it is made available for use in the live environment. Once you have a handle on this value, you’ll be motivated to find ways to raise it even higher. It’s tangible and leads to a deeper understanding of the software value chain and the constraints that exist therein.
For example, this could lead to Agile rituals tailored to your team’s working style. The needle is moving when you tailor the Agile approach to your team.
Aim to Minimize Work in Progress and Make It More Visible
Working in small batches can also be achieved by limiting the amount of ongoing work. You’ll get more feedback more quickly if you work in small batches. You’ll learn faster and be able to apply what you’ve learned to your process and software if you get more feedback more quickly.
The team (and other stakeholders) are held accountable for their work when swimlanes are used to display what is currently being done, and the software value chain’s constraints are made visible. You can use Value Stream Mapping to determine which links in the supply chain could use the most attention.
Motivate Your Staff
Successful software delivery and deployment process rely heavily on your employees. Trust them to make smart changes to specifications and choose their tools. Allow them the time and space to try new things and collaborate with others. Motivate employees by recognizing and rewarding their hard work. Reduce the difficulty of deployment by encouraging automation.
Build a cross-functional team capable of handling all aspects of software development and deployment. It’s highly unlikely that your team is delivering at a high level if your developers are throwing features over the wall to testers who then pass the buck to the operations team.
To achieve success, you must change the way your team operates.
It was my intention from the outset of this post to define Agile Transformation and DevOps and to demonstrate the connections between the two concepts. Throughout my professional experience, I’ve seen a slew of examples of people misusing these terms. When it comes to these concepts, it’s not about a methodology or a tool, but a set of cultural values that can be challenging and yet completely enjoyable to implement.
Recommended Reading: Why No One Understands Agile, Scrum & DevOps In Abstraction