Demonstrating the value of DevOps to a diverse IT organization

Over the past year that I have worked at Electric Cloud I have had to do many engagements that could be classed as DevOps focused.  I have found these combined Dev & Ops customer interactions to have some key differences to those to the ones that are Dev focused (even the ones where Dev is “doing” deploying to  QA or UAT environments).

The challenge

DevOps by definition brings together multiple groups in an organization- Dev and its many groups – developers, QA, release etc. and Ops – sys/app admins, change operations etc.   This makes for some challenging discussions to demonstrate the value of DevOps.

Often the directive to become more agile and to implement a DevOps strategy comes from upper management and staff are told  to make it so.  The challenge here is that there are varying degrees of knowledge about DevOps and automation in general.  Trying to just present the DevOps concepts and opportunity to such a diverse audience results in some of the strains between organizational silos to become clear.

For example, the Dev, QA and Ops teams all have their own needs that need to be met.  If the presentation has attendees that are not tasked with understanding the “big picture” frustrations can become apparent as respective groups sit through portions of presentations that do not interest them.

There are also significant differences between the way Dev, QA and Ops want data presented to them.  Frequently the perception coming into presentations is that no one product can give each team what they need without significant compromises needing to be made to enable the teams to work in a common product.

The solution

Teams that have previously worked in silos and are coming together under a DevOps umbrella actually share a common goal which is to release products to customers faster without sacrificing quality.  When demonstrating the value that ElectricCommander and DevOps in general by outlining the problems that organizations that operate in silos face and how there is actually a common goal across all teams.

Imagine an end to end workflow that is executed consistently every time.  That might be the organizational goal but push back might be that most people don’t need to know what is going on in Dev if they are in Ops.  Fortunately, ElectricCommander, Electric Cloud’s workflow automation solution provides just that level of abstraction for different end user teams. Using the concept of subworkflows in ElectricCommander, we can present a high level view of the overall process and enable teams to easily focus on the workflow portions that they need to work with.

The workflow fragment below shows a lot of detail about the QA process of an organization before finally transitioning to a release subworkflow.

click to enlarge

Generally people buy into this concept, working as part of a larger process without having to know what is happening at other stages in detail which brings us to another area of concern…

The user experience for Dev, QA and Ops team may need to be significantly different for each team.  Again, ElectricCommander is well suited to this task.  Using industry standard technologies the user experience in ElectricCommander can be customized to meet the needs of individual teams.  Add to this sophisticated user access controls that can be set at either user or group levels we are able to create an end to end solution that provides the user experience that teams need that changes depending on which group a user belongs to.

The end result is an end to end workflow in which  the Dev, QA and Ops teams (or any other) having a user experience that meets their needs and data that is relevant to them being easily accessible.

The ElectricCommander solution is very well targeted at these kinds of multi-organizational DevOps implementations. By the end of the such presentations,  we are able to demonstrate how our powerful, yet flexible solution can enable an organization to embrace DevOps. The ElectricCloud DevOps using one end to end automation management solution giving staff in different roles the view of the software development and release process that they need to work effectively.

If you want to know more about how accelerate the adoption of DevOps in your organization, drop us a note and we will be glad to bring you our best practices.

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Electric Cloud

Electric Cloud powers Continuous Delivery. We help organizations developing mobile, embedded systems and enterprise web/IT applications deliver better software faster by automating and accelerating build, test, and deployment processes at scale. Industry leaders like Qualcomm, SpaceX, Cisco, GE, Gap, and E*TRADE use Electric Cloud solutions and services to boost DevOps productivity and Agile throughput.
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