4 Key Criteria for Assessing Your DevOps Processes

If your company develops applications for internal use or to interact with customers, how well your DevOps processes function is critical for ensuring smooth business operations. Developers need to deliver new applications quickly, and IT operations must keep those applications running at peak performance. When it’s time for updates, the two teams should be able to work together seamlessly to roll out application revisions as quickly as possible.

To help you assess how well your DevOps processes operate, Damion Jones was recently interviewed on PulseOne’s Tech Talk. Jones is the CEO of Blue Pisces, which provides consulting, project management, software development, and managed services for DevOps and IT infrastructure teams. He understands how many companies struggle with juggling IT operations and software development projects.

In many cases, senior executives do not realize just how much time DevOps teams spend to just “keep the lights on” for deployed applications—often to the detriment of rolling out new software services. So when Jones collaborates with clients that need to streamline DevOps, he recommends assessing the team against four key criteria:

  • Strategy – Is the mission of your DevOps organization aligned to business objectives? Do executives understand the DevOps mission?
  • Capabilities – Do you have the right people to do the job? Does your culture empower your DevOps team or restrict them?
  • Execution – Do project managers make tasks easier or harder for the DevOps team to complete? Do team members complete their tasks on time?
  • Transparency – Do you have the right tools to communicate your progress on tasks and challenges to all stakeholders? Can team members easily see what each other is working on?

As you answer questions like these, the DevOps leadership team needs to convey the right strategic direction that the DevOps team can follow. “Also consider if team members have too much to juggle or need help in completing their tasks,” Jones adds.

Another key is to take a people-first approach rather than a system-first approach. Jones recommends focusing on solving problems through people and processes first—rather than leading with technology. “Then check to see if the business management team knows just how much time DevOps is spending to maintain applications,” Jones says. “They may not realize all that the DevOps team has on its plate.”

Road Map Helps Forecast Planned and Unplanned Work

One DevOps assessment example that Jones points to is a large enterprise with two engineering teams supporting 30 development teams. Team members were constantly juggling priorities, getting pulled in many directions, and still needing to maintain deployed applications.

After working with the leadership team to map business priorities to the deliverables of the 30 teams, the company discovered a big gap in its project management bandwidth and added additional resources. They also implemented program increment planning, which involves creating a quarterly roadmap to forecast the estimated effort for planned work and to track unplanned work to handle “chaos” more efficiently. “The development teams actually began to embrace chaos and appreciated that time was set aside to handle unplanned events,” says Jones.

Another key factor for this company was improved transparency. The road map accurately represented what the teams were working on, where challenges existed, and what to improve on. The teams also met with DevOps leaders every two weeks after each sprint to discuss how to react.

Aligning DevOps to the Culture of the Business

Blue Pisces also works with SMBs and takes the approach of listening to what each client is trying to do. They then recommend a solution, regardless of whether it’s something Blue Pisces can assist with.

“One SMB came to us looking for a project manager, but we helped them realize they needed someone at a higher level to help with marketing and business development,” Jones points out. “We also won’t recommend fixing something that’s not broken. Solving DevOps challenges is all about what’s best for the client’s culture that aligns with their business. Sometimes it’s a case of uncovering problems that a client did not realize they had in order to get to the root of the problem.”

To learn more about assessing your DevOps processes, check out the Tech Talk. And if you have questions about DevOps, you can reach out to PulseOne today. We help businesses solve many IT challenges and work with specialists like Blue Pisces to help maximize your success.