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Better through the crisis thanks to DevOps

6 May 2020
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Reading time: 3 minutes

The coronavirus crisis is demonstrating how companies with an agile DevOps mindset can better respond to new circumstances and challenges than companies with rigid structures and processes.

Everywhere you turn, the current news is permeated by fear and insecurity. Nevertheless, digitalisation continues to make inroads and will eventually impact every aspect of our lives. Companies with an agile mindset that have already implemented DevOps face fewer major challenges and can better adapt to the new circumstances than companies with rigid structures and processes. Why is that the case? The following four aspects significantly contribute to a company’s ability to respond quickly and deliberately in times of crisis.

Technology

DevOps employs tools that support the continuous delivery and deployment process. Adaptations made to the source code primarily focus on a high degree of automation, which manifests through the deployment of various test and production environments. As part of continuous delivery, the aim is to always provide an executable software product that has already undergone a standardised test process. This enables companies to respond quickly to changes. Various tools can be employed depending on the task, such as Jenkins, TeamCity, Octopus Deploy, Azure DevOps and GitLab.

Furthermore, DevOps has a highly developed collaborative structure that facilitates close collaboration between different players in software development. Here, the focus is on tools that allow collaboration irrespective of location and across national borders, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype and WebEx.

Process

DevOps is influenced by continuous improvements and learning outcomes, which promotes a positive culture around mistakes. Of course, mistakes don’t always have a positive effect on business success. However, the absence of such a culture begs the question of whether a company is already making mistakes without realising it. Failing means trying out something new, exploring boundaries and questioning the status quo. This is the only way to enable companies to experiment and respond quickly and it also greatly contributes to ensuring long-term success for the company.

People

The ability to introduce a culture of continuous improvement and learning requires a foundation based on trust that supports a culture of open feedback, allows mistakes and promotes the strengths of each employee rather than pointing out weaknesses. It is essential that a culture of openness around mistakes is demonstrated at every level and in all structures of the organisation and doesn’t just exist in the mission statement on the company website. This kind of process cannot be established overnight. Rather, it requires a comprehensive cultural shift involving all areas of the company.

Feedback

DevOps aims to make the success – or failure – of agile software projects measurable and thus also visible. To do this, standard metrics should be used that can be applied to and accepted by all involved parties. This feedback is essential for continuous improvement and learning and thus also for the overall implementation of DevOps.

Conclusion

Experience shows that, thanks to DevOps, companies can switch to working from home and respond quickly to new requirements without major difficulties. Established DevOps processes and the right tooling can significantly contribute to a company’s ability to withstand a crisis.

Principal Consultant

Romano Roth

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