Incorporating DevOps the right way

Sairam Vedam, Vice President and Global Head of Marketing, Cigniti, discusses how to incorporate the culture of DevOps into your company, the right way.

Introducing DevOps

Until a few years ago, organisations used to follow the waterfall method as part of the software lifecycle. The waterfall method is a step-by-step process, beginning with requirements analysis and ending with the delivery and implementation of the end product. This process, however, resulted in defective software pieces and would generally not be exactly what the product owner had in mind.

The mismatch took place mainly due to two reasons:

  1. While the changes were being implemented one after the other, testing was performed only for critical response paths.
  2. Once the software development process began, few requirements were deemed impossible to implement owing to system or process constraints.

Agile methodology took care of this flaw by ensuring that the product was developed in increments and was delivered for the product owner’s approval. Naturally, this helped teams work in a collaborative manner and kept the customer in loop. DevOps was introduced to further solidify the concept behind agile methodology. DevOps is looked upon as an opportunity to improve the delivery of a software application throughout the organisation.

Digital businesses have been on the rise lately, with leading organisations across industries looking to leverage the digital platform. Whether in the form of a mobile application, or as a form of interaction via the social media platforms, businesses are definitely going digital. This is giving them further opportunities to improve operations even after the software or product hits the market. The rise of digital businesses is a major factor that presses for faster release cycles.

Although there is no standard definition for the term “DevOps”, there is a unanimous agreement on the concept of DevOps. Essentially, DevOps puts emphasis on cross-collaboration and effective communication between software development teams and Information Technology stakeholders.

Doing DevOps the right way demands a conducive environment, one that helps automate release cycles and assures to accelerate the time-to-market of applications. There are many tools being provided by expert vendors that highlight various elements that make up for a conducive DevOps environment, covering the aspects of continuous integration, performance testing, release management, etc. It is just as important to create the culture of DevOps and understand how it would benefit in the organisational structure. Some of these aspects have been discussed in detail in this article.

By 2020, 50% of global enterprises will have implemented at least one application release automation solution, up from less than 10% today.
– Gartner

Doing DevOps right

Automation is key, especially when aiming for effective collaboration across teams. The automation aspect of DevOps in particular is garnering much attention over recent times. DevOps Release Management has become the topic of discussion and the point of strategy for CTOs and CIOs of many leading organisations. There are many start-ups that offer various products pertaining to release management. The release management solutions being provided by vendors are typically integrated with other open source, test, and build tools. This leads to customised solutions and tailor-made processes, and offers points of distinction for businesses.

The DevOps Release Management backdrop contains the following key areas among development, testing, and operations processes:

  • Release management – Release management is fundamentally the entire process of managing, planning, scheduling, and controlling a software product through various stages and environments, including testing and deploying software releases.
  • Integration across platforms – Although it is vital that an application or software is developed without bugs, it is equally crucial that the cross-platform integration is seamless. Whether it is being compatible across devices, or maintaining uniformity across software systems, the integrity of the software must be rigorously tested and seamless operational excellence is necessary to establish it in the market.
  • Application lifecycle management – The application lifecycle starts with requirements gathering and extends to bug fixes and software updates long after the application hits the market. The whole lifecycle management requires robust testing techniques and effective tools to accelerate the overall operations process.
  • Performance testing and monitoring – Performance testing assesses the functionality of a product and ensures that the users achieve the specifically desired results; while performance monitoring is on the operations end, making sure that the product or software is not impacted due to a sudden flow of traffic or other external factors.
  • Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) – The process of CI and CD can either be manual or automated. Exploratory and user acceptance testing are manually done, while performance testing is typically done through automation.
  • Continuous testing and DevTestOps: The age of customer that it is today, demands a steady, automated and intelligent testing that happens continuously. The paradigm of DevOps mandates continuous testing to ensure quality and speed become a paired option that is assured than becoming a choice. DevTestOps which is completely automation driven and which ensures the entire aspect of quality engineering starts early left in the cycle makes this a reality.

Creating a culture of DevOps

Culture plays a key role in the implementation of DevOps; however, this aspect is grossly overlooked. Although it makes sense to focus on the technical aspects of Agile and DevOps, it is essential to understand that accurate results can only be achieved through collaborative effort.

How does the cultural aspect help?

  • It brings everyone on-board – Typically, organisations consist of several departments that work together to meet deliverables and continue to obtain business. By having an in-depth understanding of what DevOps brings to the table, and discussing how each team can contribute, team members will have a new-found appreciation for the implementation of this process.
  • Work gets done with higher efficiency – Understanding that effective communication and collaborative effort is required can help get things done with higher efficiency. It is important for the team members to understand that they need to help out other teams, and that they are not pitted against one another in the process. The software developer cannot be threatened by a QA engineer, and the Operations executive needs to be open-minded when the developer suggests an alternative strategy.
  • It helps employees align with company’s objectives – It is important to understand how an organisation is portraying itself in the market. It helps all employees understand the current market strategy, so that the message is spread wide and clear. This helps excellently with brand building and, subsequently, brand recall.

How can organisations nurture DevOps culturally?

  • Leverage the power of social media – By being active on social media, employees can gain different perspectives about DevOps, and what it means to teams working in different departments.
  • Company sessions, conferences, and events – When organiations have employees working together but are not co-located, it is important to bring them together for sessions, conferences, and events based on the theme of DevOps. This helps solidify the commitment of working towards a common goal.
  • Emphasis on document and professional terminology – It is important to correct and insist on using terminology related to DevOps right from the initial stages. It helps cement knowledge around the topic and can make a tremendous difference while communicating with clients and prospective leads.

In conclusion

According to industry leaders, release automation tools enable best practices for applications. They help reduce complexity and standardises processes. Manual processes have been acknowledged as severely prone to errors and delay releases significantly. A faster application release, quicker time to market, and longer sustainability gives organisations an edge and keeps them relevant in the market scenario. In the year of 2017, and over the next few years, this is a trend that will only be on the rise. Quality engineering and quality assurance delve into the system architecture and ensure that the end-to-end functionality and integrity of the application is maintained. DevTestOps will be a key enabler for completeness for DevOps and Cigniti Technologies consists of a team of SDETS and experts that have done extensive research on accelerating the process of testing by maintaining software quality as the primary objective.


Edited for web by Jordan Platt.