Adopting DevOps will bring many benefits to your organization, reducing complexity, improving efficiency and ensuring you have happier and more productive teams! However, you need to be prepared for the initial DevOps culture shock!

Here at Cloudreach, we take our mission — delivering on the promise of cloud — seriously. So, we’ll start out by telling you the unvarnished truth: If you do a great deal of development in-house and rely exclusively on legacy processes, you likely will experience DevOps adoption as a culture shock.

The kind of traditional IT organization we have in mind has the following characteristics:

  • makes use of the waterfall methodology exclusively 
  • discourages collaboration and communication between departments
  • unfamiliar with cloud technologies
  • inexperienced in agile business practices

If this is you, embracing a DevOps approach will demand radical change. You’ll need to revolutionize your mindset, shift your worldview and alter the workplace culture. 

In reality, however, very few of today’s enterprises fall into this category. In one recent survey of IT and development professionals, only two percent of respondents identified their development method as “pure waterfall.” More than two-thirds considered themselves to be “pure agile” or “leaning agile” in approach, and a further 24% regarded themselves as “hybrid” teams. 

This finding corroborates our own experience: The vast majority of organizations are already at least somewhat agile, and many are already in possession of most of the relevant skills and experience necessary for successful DevOps adoption. The key question is not whether their teams can seamlessly navigate the requisite organizational change, but how much guidance they’ll need to get there. 

You’re already more agile than you think

Do you use Google Docs? What about Dropbox? Does your team rely on tools, such as Trello or Slack, to accelerate collaboration? If so, you’ve already set a basic foundation for moving towards more agile and dynamic development practices. 

DevOps entails integrating coherent processes across development and operations teams, processes that are inherently well suited for modern architectures, infrastructures, services, languages, frameworks, operational processes and business practices. This means that DevOps practices evolved to fit the cloud-native world in which you’re already doing business. 

Legacy development methodologies entailed having individual developers build components in isolation and then hand off their contributions to the next participant in the release cycle. This model — the “lone genius” developer working by himself to create significant portions of the code base for a single application — worked well in a previous era, when architectures were simpler, comprising fewer layers and relying less heavily on pre-built services. 

It’s analogous to the process of constructing a vehicle. A century ago, it was possible to cross the country in a horse-drawn wagon. An individual could raise and train a horse, cultivate the carpentry skills needed to build the body of the wagon and even learn enough of the wheelwright’s trade to craft a lathe-turned wagon wheel. 

With the invention of the automobile, and especially the rise of assembly line-based mass production, it became impossible for any one person, no matter how talented, to acquire in the course of a single lifetime all the expertise that’d be needed to design, engineer and fabricate the full complement of parts — from spark plugs to tires and bushings — that each auto contains. 

Today’s cloud environments are the IT equivalent of the complex contemporary transportation networks that have developed on the basis of modern automotive technology. They’re ubiquitous, and we all know how to live and work within them. 

Cloud-native applications and architectures are omnipresent in today’s world

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions are everywhere, because they save time and money. We don’t have to think about container instances when we use them. And we don’t write our own containerization platforms or build our own container orchestration tools. Instead, we typically leverage vendor-provided services that dramatically simplify the process of managing and maintaining Kubernetes clusters. 

By taking advantage of these services, by calling functions delivered via REST APIs or by making use of templates, we’re standing on the shoulders of giants — and saving hundreds of thousands of labor hours — because so much development expertise is concentrated within each one.

Even if legacy applications are integral to your operations, your development team almost certainly includes professionals who have come of age in a cloud-first world. Your business as a whole has faced off against competitors who are able to meet customers’ demand for rapid innovation, speedy delivery and ongoing product improvement. And your leadership has likely recognized the importance of cross-organizational alignment — the shared pursuit of common goals.

Minimizing culture shock by supporting change management and knowledge transfer

All of this is not to say that you should expect implementing DevOps practices to be effortless for your organization. Many enterprises will struggle with talent gaps, which may have been exacerbated by COVID-19’s impact on staffing. Many developers will find that the required shifts in responsibility for bug fixes to be stressful and foreign, at least initially. Some will need to learn new tools, and others will have to build new collaborative relationships.

With the appropriate training and leadership, however, a successful transition is entirely achievable. And the benefits, which include cost savings, enhanced productivity, increased efficiency, faster time-to-market, improved organizational culture, greater employee engagement and happier teams, make it more than worth the effort.

Want to learn more about how Cloudreach can help your organization adopt a DevOps approach so that you can reap the full benefits of public cloud ? Discover how our new DevOps-as-a-Service offering provides support across architecture, development, and operations to help enable simple and scalable cloud transformation in your organization.