Codec’s DevOps expertise helps firms shift and optimise their cultures
(Note: This news item is a summary of an article published in the Sunday Business Post on April 1, 2018)
The term DevOps may seem mysterious at first, but its benefits tie in with any business’s digital transformation efforts. DevOp may be a term you’ve only heard about recently, but the concept has been around for many years now. By taking a look at the culture, processes and structure an organisation has in place, the aim is to update them and bring benefits like shorter development cycles, lower costs for development, testing, deployment and operations, and improved IT efficiencies. In theory, it sounds great but businesses can fall into traps, something that Codec- an Irish full-stack solutions consultancy, with close to 200 staff and an ever-growing list of credentials to its name, recognises.
For its DevOps practice lead Eoin Barry (pictured), it’s very easy to overlook how expansive the process can be.
“When you’re implementing DevOps processes, one thing that often gets overlooked is that it cross cuts multiple disciplines and departments”, he explains.
“For example, you need to look at how you do your project management, you need to look at your architecture, how you do testing, configuration management, releases, your infrastructure – is it codified, is it automated, is it in the cloud?”
“How you approach all of those processes together constitute DevOps . . . [and]there are huge cultural changes associated. If you’re changing how someone delivers software, whether you’re working in a waterfall manner or agile manner, you need to start adapting those processes across all those disciplines.”
Working with large corporate and enterprise businesses in Ireland across all sectors has given Codec a strong insight into the challenges they face when implementing DevOps. Barry mentions that one of the biggest challenges is overcoming the existing organisational structure.
There are significant challenges around changing the culture and getting people on board, but he recommends that you lead by example by showing them what benefits these changes bring. If you can quantify the problem and show them the result of making these changes, the return on investment can be significant.
“It’s a journey. The DevOps transformation needs to be done in stages, but for each change, you need to quantify what the problem is and quantify the benefit of making that change before widespread adoption. It is difficult but there are huge benefits in embarking on a DevOps transformation. In 2007 Ron Kohavi from Microsoft ran a series of experiments and found that two-thirds of all new features developed by IT departments added either no or negative value.”
“Many organisations work on features for months or years without getting any real feedback as to whether the feature actually adds value. DevOps practices enable you to rapidly build prototypes or minimum viable product. Combined with techniques such as A/B testing or canary releases – you can get immediate feedback on whether or not this prototype is actually worth the full scale development effort.”
For those businesses wanting to embrace DevOps, Codec General Manager of Operations Stephen Black says it can help identify pain areas which in turn can kick start the process:
“What we’re offering customers is an assessment from a consultancy basis to help them structure and put those processes in place,“ says Black.
“Where they have bottlenecks, we can identify and say, ‘you can outsource x amount of development to us, we can do this piece for you, you can be more effective at that’. We can build them with their own culture and process… but we can also take workloads off them if they’re struggling and help them deliver those workloads quickly.”
Barry recommends understanding what DevOps’s is first and then to decide what your goals are before embarking on this journey, whether it be performing multiple releases a day, scaling teams massively or reacting to market factors.
“Just figure out specifically what it is they need to achieve and then you can build a path towards achieving those goals,” says Barry.