By Scott Koegler
As CTO of Choose Digital, a digital marketplace where music, movies, and books are sold, Mario Cruz has experience setting up and running a DevOps environment. While he provides some terrific guidance he also includes a warning that DevOps is not a magical fix-all for troubled communication between IT and the departments it serves.
What are the 2 biggest issues CIOs should consider when implementing a structured DevOps environment?
The first issue a CIO encounters when trying to implement a structured DevOps environment is finding the bottleneck that exists in the current environment. The bottleneck sets the throughput rate for the entire development and delivery life cycle. Improving the process without removing the bottleneck will only compound the problem and exponentially increase the time of delivery. As a CIO, knowing this bottleneck will allow you to address the issue prior to implementing a new solution.
The second issue is communication and breaking down the silos. These silos are usually found while working on the first issue. DevOps solutions requires a framework that allows a team to:
- continuously deliver
- continuously deploy
- communicate issues and setbacks in every phase: development, testing, staging and production
However, implementing a DevOps strategy does not make the communication issue magically disappear. What it will do is it will cause the communication issue to be visible earlier in the process (development) rather than later (deployment). This typically ends up saving both time and money. For example, the person developing a new feature is responsible for it from concept through deployment. Since there are no handoffs to different teams for deployment, the developer is very engaged throughout the whole lifecycle of the feature, thus minimizing any miscommunication with other teams.
In order to properly support a DevOps strategy, you probably will end up dismantling some of the silos. The resulting organization will look more like a unified team instead of a mishmash of different support organizations. When the members take ownership of their positions in the team, this also reinforces stronger communication.
Transforming an existing IT shop into a DevOps shop requires a change of culture that will allow problems to be fixed quickly because your talent will be empowered to make decisions through open communication instead of having to wait for a decision to be made for them.
Scott Koegler practiced IT as a CIO for 15 years. He also has more than 20 years experience as a technology journalist covering topics ranging from software and services through business strategy. He has written white papers and directed and published video interviews.
To learn more about how a group of seasoned IT leaders are taking on DevOps, check out our DevOps Roundtable series.