Four DevOps mistakes to avoid when implementing for your SME

Four DevOps mistakes to avoid when implementing for your SME

There are many advantages to implementing a DevOps program within an SME, if it’s done correctly. However, since there is some confusion today about what DevOps truly means and what it can accomplish for organisations of all sizes, there are several pitfalls to avoid when undertaking a DevOps initiative.

Before rushing to implement this latest trend, we’ve helped clarify a successful strategy by outlining below some of the DevOps mistakes to avoid.

1. Failing to clearly define DevOps

What does DevOps mean? Today, the answer runs the gamut from a set of tools, to a new type of workflow, to a continuous delivery vehicle, to a mashup of the Development and Operations functions on the organisational chart.

DevOps can be one or all of these things. But in its most basic form, DevOps should be defined according to what it can do for your company: a way to answer the need to achieve more rapid development cycles, greater solutions for fast-changing client needs, and, ultimately, ongoing growth in today’s competitive environment.

How do you define DevOps for your organisation in order to find out if it’s right for you? The answer lies in the reasons driving your need to adopt it.

2. Adopting DevOps for the wrong reasons

Rushing to adopt DevOps simply because it is the latest buzzword, or because your competitors are doing it, are clearly the wrong reasons. What’s wiser is to take both an external and internal look at your organisation to assess if it’s right for you.

Do you compete externally in a more traditional, slow-paced realm? Then DevOps may not be right for you. But, if you compete with companies that are in a cycle of continuous release of new features, then a serious look at adopting DevOps now is a good move to help you keep up and take advantage of the agility your SME status affords.

Internally, take a hard look at whether a DevOps initiative is truly in line with the objectives of your business, and where you feel you are in reaching them. Don’t adopt DevOps when simply modifying your current practices would help you achieve your current goals.

3. Focusing on academics before culture

If you do decide that a DevOps initiative would be the best way to reach your current business objectives, don’t rush to plug in the ‘academics’ of the concept: continuous deployment, automation, quality assurance, etc. What’s wiser is to first address the impact on your company culture that DevOps represents.

DevOps is, indeed, a melding of two functions that, in many organisations, operate quite independently due to vastly different skill sets. What is commonly an ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ relationship between Developers and Operations personnel must be transformed into a ‘we’ ideology where the two teams work together collaboratively on a daily basis.

That kind of cultural shift can be challenging and take time, but if accomplished successfully it will lay the groundwork for a truly successful DevOps program.

4. Trying to do it like the big guys

Going all-in on DevOps, following the lead of larger enterprises, can be a mistake for your SME. The transformation DevOps represents dictates having the proper staffing and therefore budgeting to make it work. Take a good look at your current staff to see if DevOps is feasible utilising their skills.

If not, take a closer look at your budget and assess whether requests for additional funding for staffing are in order, and how feasible granting that request may be, based on the current size and revenue status of your organisation.

All in all, implementing a successful DevOps initiative comes down to clearly defining what the concept means for your business in order to achieve your current objectives.

Done correctly by avoiding the common mistakes listed above, your organisation can reap the rewards that DevOps represents in terms of staying competitive in your specific technology landscape.

Oded Moshe