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Top 10 pitfalls for anyone looking to adopt DevOps

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

With everyone seeming to now do DevOps in some form, we thought it useful to share our top ten pitfalls we see at EnfuseGroup when it comes to adopting DevOps at the enterprise level.

1. Adopting DevOps because everyone’s doing it 

We see this one more than we care to admit! Be clear on what you want to achieve, what DevOps means and what ‘flavour’ is right for you. It isn’t always right for everyone.

2. Treating DevOps as a technology thing

No, no and no. DevOps is about people, process and technology. If anything, the people/culture elements are the most critical challenges.

3. Positioning DevOps as a single team’s responsibility

DevOps is everyone’s responsibility. That is the point of DevOps. A DevOps team (or project) can help you kick start your adoption of DevOps through coaching and support, but should not be a bottleneck or another silo.

4. Thinking DevOps is simply about combining Dev and Ops team

If only it were this simple. Combining teams helps but just moving the deck chairs is not enough. For instance, combining teams might not reduce or simplify your number of touchpoints/handovers, as these can happen within a big team just as easily as they previously occurred between teams.

5. Trying to do DevOps big bang style

It’s 2017 and it’s all about iterating. You can’t just create a DevOps environment overnight. Start slowly and learn what works. Target your high return value streams/ products.

6. Ignore security and Audit teams

Security and audit needs can pose challenges for DevOps ways of working. For this reason it is very tempting to simply ignore it and hope it goes away. After all, that’s kind of what happens in that DevOps book, The Phoenix Project, right? However, in our experience you are best to involve Security and Audit teams early on. It’s painful but will get you the best results in the end.

7. Doing it on a shoestring

Let’s be honest, you rarely get anything good for cheap. To get to the benefits of DevOps you will need to invest. This should see savings in the longer term, but don’t assume the savings will come immediately and provide the funding (again, we see this mistake a lot). Even if the benefits come quickly, you can rarely get hold of the savings to spend on your DevOps investment.

8. Reverting to type when it doesn’t go right

When things go wrong, we typically revert back to what was working. When your DevOps push hits a bump, try to stay the course and keep to your convictions. Make sure you have senior buy.

9. Thinking DevOps is a silver bullet

DevOps benefits are real and for many organisations it is an obvious move to adopt DevOps at an enterprise scale. However, it’s not going to solve all your problems and will even create new ones. Go into DevOps with your eyes open. Don’t set expectations on the DevOps hype – go to real companies who are doing this and understand the real pros and cons.

10. Measure DevOps success with traditional IT metrics

This is likely to tell to do the wrong thing. Traditional metrics in IT are typically inward facing. They rarely get at business value, or give a real sense of quality or velocity. Cost saving metrics are quite popular with IT, and these can deter investment in the necessary areas (for example, investment in DevOps experts to supplement your teams). Carefully think through what metrics you really need to drive the right outcomes like increased releases, productivity, speed to fix etc.