Understanding DevOps: Principles & Practices

Understanding DevOps: Principles & Practices

Since the very beginning of the computer era, development and operations have been quite isolated silos: developers were busy with writing code while system administrators with its deployment and integration. Due to the limited communication between these two modules, development and operation teams were mainly working solely within a project. 

And actually, there was nothing “wrong” with it yet the Waterfall development was leading the market. Though, since Agile and continuous development workflow has got ahead in the world of software development, many things changed. Agile methodology with its small sprints and often releases required a fresh approach to the overall process.

This is how DevOps appeared and became one of the most discussed approaches in the software development world. Now, we can see the industry-leading giants like Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and Etsy successfully applying DevOps to reach better performance and competitiveness.

To embrace the DevOps practices for the sake of your business success you have to look at what DevOps is. And this article will help you answer a few fundamental questions:

What is DevOps exactly?

Essential DevOps principles & practices

Where did the term come from?

Benefits for the business

What is DevOps exactly?

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The Wikipedia entry for DevOps is pretty exact. DevOps services are an essential extension for Agile and continuous development approaches. The term merges software development, QA testing, deployment, and integration (operations) into one set of practices. 

Automating the processes between development and operation teams leads to faster and more reliable processes of building, testing, and releasing software, which is an evident advantage for any IT business project.

However, DevOps isn’t only a set of actions –  it is more about a philosophical and cultural approach that nurtures cross-functional team collaboration. Accurate and thorough communication between development and operations helps to maintain a shift in mindset, faster integration, and enhanced collaboration.

DevOps culture is based on teamwork: the overall process success depends on it. There are certain principles and practices that DevOps teams have to apply, and we’ll talk about them in a while.

Essential DevOps Principles & Practices

Let’s have a look at the CAMS model to better understand the DevOps movement:

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In a few words, DevOps is mainly a culture, as highlighted by the CAMS model. The main principles of DevOps include frequent deployments, QA automation, continuous delivery, and fast reaction to feedback. The DevOps concept is built on a culture of collaboration between teams of the organization that have always functioned in parallel siloes.

DevOps approach doesn’t solve tooling troubles, it rather solves human problems. A Culture of learning and continuous improvement is all about team collaboration. And there are simple things you can do to help teams nurture DevOps culture.

DevOps is very much like agile, though with the operations comprised. The first step is to replace function-based teams with product-oriented teams. Take a step at a time, set up and start sharing a common goal – create a plan to reach it together:

  • Invite appropriate operations team members to join sprint planning sessions and demos with developers.
  • Include key developers to take part in the operations team meetings.

The time spent listening and contributing will pay for itself.

Investing in Automation will increase system reliability and eliminate repetitive manual work. Building, testing, deploying, and provisioning automation is the basis of DevOps automation principles. Teams that are new to automation often begin with automating tests and continuous delivery.

Even though it’s not a quick and easy process, the ROI is well worth it.

Well, no one can ‘prove’ their continuous improvement efforts without Measuring data. Luckily, you can find a lot of great tools and technologies for measuring performance. With a sturdy foundation in place, it’s easier to capture complex metrics around user journeys, service level agreements (SLAs), and features relevance. 

Measurement is vital for making the right decisions.

There are many ways to put knowledge Sharing in place. The Agile teams share knowledge through Daily Stand-up and retrospectives, as well as documentation on the development side. Events like technical presentations, internal conferences, and all of the less formal discussions help to share the knowledge.

Where did the term come from?

Some folks believe that the term “DevOps” was invented in 2009 by Patrick Debois. Others say it was invented by Damon Edwards and John Willis, authors of the famous Podcast DevOps Cafe.

Whatever the truth is, the seeds of DevOps were planted long ago and have been nurtured by forward-thinking IT experts in a number of disciplines. 

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The DevOps movement started to come together around 2008 when IT operations and software development communities concerned versus traditional software development models. The traditional models assumed separate (even more, competing) objectives, KPIs and department leadership. So the two started the discussion with people like Patrick Dubois, John Willis, Gene Kim leading the conversation.

Notably, DevOps isn’t a process or a technology or a standard – the meaning of DevOps has broadened to be an umbrella term for the processes, culture, and mindset – a magic combination that is used for shortening the software development life cycle.

DevOps culture isn’t magic, and transformations take time to happen. This isn’t bad news, this only means that by making small, incremental changes, your team will be able to embark on the DevOps journey. Let’s dive a bit dipper into the benefits that DevOps practices can bring you.

Benefits for the business

Culture, collaboration, and trust are the most important success factors in the DevOps process.

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Teams working as separate siloes usually don’t comply with the DevOps ‘systems thinking’ that literally breaks down the barrier between Dev and Ops. The DevOps approach helps teams to be aware of how their actions affect other departments and processes.

Full transparency and seamless communication enable DevOps teams to fix incidents and resolve critical issues much quicker than ever in history.

Automation makes it even more prompt. Teams that practice DevOps increase productivity, release faster, feature higher quality, and stability. Lack of automated test and review cycles block the release to production and decreases the team’s pace and confidence on its way.

With DevOps established processes and clear prioritization, teams can share and manage unplanned work way better while still focussing on their planned work.

The most successful companies like Etsy, Amazon, Facebook, are on board with DevOps culture across every department. And we do the same – through applying the best practices of DevOps we make sure everyone’s goals are aligned and adjust as needed.

Synergy Way helps businesses develop digital capabilities and establish communication with users by creating efficient web and mobile products. We know that keeping our customers happy is just as much product management’s job as it is the development team’s job. 

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