As our reliance on technology continues to increase with respect to scale and complexity, individuals and companies that haven’t embraced a DevOps methodology are finding it increasingly difficult to convert ideas into valuable deliverables, which makes it very difficult to stay relevant among competitors and profitable enough to stay in business. That’s the bad news. The good news is that an appropriate use of automation tools, increased collaboration among groups within an organization, and a focus on how work flows through a business can transform an organization and empower them to be more agile, try new experiments, and adapt to changing times.
Automate All The Things
Typically, our first Eureka moment occurs through the exposure to the vast array of automation tools within the DevOps space. Automating builds, deployments, backups, upgrades, tests, report generation, scaling up: the number of things one can offload is profound, saving a significant amount of human time. In addition to that, trust begins to build throughout an entire organization due to the increase in consistency, quality, and redundancy in what’s being delivered. This allows one to confidently abstract away mundane tasks and focus on higher order systems. The net result is an organization can focus more of their effort on innovation and creativity.
Kaizen (or Continuous Improvement)
Once a certain level of automation is in place, wonderful things start to happen! Time begins to free up, resulting in some free time to begin identifying other bottlenecks to eliminate. This re-investment of time begins to act like compound interest, which begins to build momentum both short, mid, and long term. By creating visibility through the inclusion of reporting metrics, an individual or organization can further identify what areas to improve or eliminate to achieve its goals.
If an organization begins to look at how work flows from idea to done through each segment of the company, it quickly becomes apparent that one cannot optimize the ability to deliver value without first identifying the bottleneck. As the adage goes, any optimization that is not at the bottleneck is an illusion because everything will still pile up at that one point. Therefore, in the DevOps mindset, one has to look at the entire process holistically and ensure a collective responsibility across all segments. If done properly, the ability to get more work done increases and one can start to innovate and focus on higher order challenges. The net result is a win for the organization, it's employees, and it's customers.
Ultimately an organization that adopts a DevOps mindset will develop a culture that focuses on delivering things of meaningful value to the business and its customers. This is important because velocity without a purpose can turn a virtuous cycle back into a vicious cycle resulting in a lot of effort with no progress.