What is DevOps and how should organizations introduce it? In this series of articles, we talk to DevOps thought leaders who are leading the way in implementing advanced software development practices like DevOps for database as well as application development. What are the challenges they’ve faced, how have they overcome them, and what lessons can other IT professionals learn from them?
Chris Yates is a Senior Vice President, Managing Director at Republic Bank, one of the most innovative and forward looking banks in the US. For the last five years and more, he and the bank have been working to introduce DevOps to their database development process. Along the way he has had the opportunity to be joined on his DevOps journey by several of his colleagues who have played an instrumental part in enabling cross collaboration among the development teams.
His knowledge, skills and experience have made him a thought leader in DevOps, so we thought it would be valuable if he would share his views on the four key areas that organizations should focus on when introducing DevOps: the culture, the processes, the tools, and the value that can be gained.
That said, here are his insights in a series of answers to quick-fire questions about DevOps.
The culture required to introduce DevOps
What kind of culture does a business need in order to implement DevOps?
One of transparency, openness, and collaboration between multiple tech and operations teams. For true success, the walls and siloes have to come down, and it needs to change from a ‘me’ to a ‘we’ mindset.
If the culture isn’t there, how can businesses introduce it?
Remember that at the heart of any company are the people. The people are the root of all of the successes. They are laying the foundation for why DevOps is needed, and why the efficiency improvements that businesses can gain for development and operations are merited.
Are there any common pitfalls or barriers?
Some of the traps and obstacles I’ve seen are the concepts of We’ve done it this way forever, why change? or the Stay in your lane mentality. It will be challenging and awkward at first, but once groups can come together and achieve a common goal, the sky’s the limit.
The processes that need to be changed
What parts of the software development lifecycle need to change when introducing DevOps?
The most significant factor here for me is not operating in silos. Operations and dev teams must work together to be successful, or you run the risk of incredible frustration down the road.
What parts are the most difficult to change?
One of the most challenging processes to crack is changing management, operations, and dev task forces to achieve a common goal.
How do you encourage people to adapt to the new processes?
It starts from the top down. A DevOps culture is one that you live and breathe, constantly ingraining the significant gains the company can make by this change.
The products or tools that should be considered
Did you introduce third-party tools like a version control system to help streamline or automate the DevOps process?
Yes, we utilize Git and Redgate Source Control to help with our DevOps process, among other tools.
What were the criteria for choosing third-party tools?
Research on industry best practices, existing vendor relationships, and collaboration with partner companies in determining what worked for them and what didn’t.
Was there a build-versus-buy discussion and, if so, how was it resolved?
There is always a build-versus-buy discussion, and many factors come into play. What’s the ROI, are we consolidating any IT footprint, what can get us to our break-even point faster, to name a few.
The value that can be gained from DevOps
Is your IT team able to respond to new feature and business requests faster?
Yes – in the areas where we’ve incorporated DevOps, we can see gains and speed to market more quickly. This has led to a more proficient camaraderie among our internal business partners.
Are you now able to release features, updates, and fixes easier?
Without a doubt. The process has become much easier for our dev teams. After the buy-in and adjusting to this new lifestyle, many have come back and said they were sorry to have not fully bought the concept upfront.
Have savings been made in terms of speeding up or easing the development process?
Yes, it’s freed up resources in terms of additional time spent on the software development lifecycle and brought units closer together. With everyone working together from start to finish, it’s cured deployment and delivery obstacles and fixed some collaboration issues even among internal dev teams.
If you’re facing a cultural barrier on your journey to DevOps, this blog post from Grant Fritchey, Microsoft Data Platform MVP and Redgate DevOps Advocate, may help: How Do You Overcome “We Have Always Done It This Way”?
To find out more about how organizations can embrace DevOps and deliver value quicker while keeping data safe, visit our DevOps solutions pages.
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