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Tech Talk
Tech Talk Posted on Sep 24, 2019   |  4 Min Read

As more and more software development firms start to adopt a collaborative effort between departments, it makes sense to implement a DevOps strategy. However, while planning a DevOps initiative there are a few common mistakes that can crop up. If not addressed early on, these mistakes could have less than favourable consequences.

Here are five common mistakes that occur during DevOps planning in an organisation. By being aware of what can go wrong companies can be better prepared to avoid these hurdles early on in the process for a more successful implementation.

No Clear Definition of DevOps

In simple terms, DevOps can be defined as an interdisciplinary collaboration between the development and operations teams. The more indebt definition is: DevOps is the practice of operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support. (Source).

Using this definition as a base, most companies find it more effective to define DevOps in a way that suits their objectives best. This can range from the way they organise their workflow and the tools they implement, to the introduction of continuous delivery, integration, and deployment. Oversimplifying the definition of DevOps diminishes its potential to enhance the speed of product development. It is therefore important that each business is clear about its objectives and defines DevOps practices that are actually useful.

Creating a Specialised DevOps Team

Many companies believe that the best way for DevOps implementation is to hire a new team specialised in DevOps. But rather than speeding up processes the setting up of the new team only complicates things further, can be time-consuming, and is an additional expense. The most effective way to adopt DevOps is to leverage existing resources for the required tasks.

Developmental and operational experts from within the organisation should be brought together and their expertise harnessed. The skills and experience can be used in collaboration to optimise processes and make them quicker and more efficient.

Inadequate Research and Resource Management

With the intention of reaping the benefits of using DevOps services as soon as possible, many organisations rush into the process. This approach usually falls flat and can prove a costly mistake for the company. Implementing the new process takes time and sufficient research.

Once DevOps has been clearly defined for an organisation and a team has been set up, processes, technologies, and resources need to be identified. The unrolling of DevOps processes has to be carefully planned so that resources are utilised to their full potential and the relevant technologies are installed. When done in phases, DevOps implementation is less of a shock to the system.

From a cultural point of view, implementing DevOps can be a big adjustment. Departments that are used to working in isolation are now required to collaborate with others. The new work culture takes some getting used to and a phase-wise rollout could help the adjustment be more gradual and comfortable.

Failing to Recognise Dynamic Changes

DevOps implementation takes time to set up and get the new system running smoothly. However, there can be a few bumps in the road along the way. In a dynamic landscape that is constantly evolving, technologies could become obsolete, requirements might change, and adjustments need to be made to the process. Being too rigid and trying to stick to the pre-defined process could be the undoing of all the work put into DevOps planning and setting up.

If a result is not as expected, DevOps teams should have the flexibility to backtrack and relook at the steps. While remaining within the pre-determined boundaries of Dev-Ops, the teams should be able to change the benchmarks for expected outcomes, rewrite code, and make whatever other adjustments are required for a successful outcome. Introducing flexibility right at the start makes the implementation of DevOps a lot easier.

Overlooking Security and Related Risks

In the frenzy to set up DevOps services, other important functions can get overlooked. One crucial area that should never be overlooked is security. Security best practices should be put in place to be able to keep up with the expanding architecture of DevOps. Failing to have security keep pace with DevOps could lead to a host of secondary problems which turn out to be setbacks that hamper the implementation process.

With automation overtaking processes, and applications communicating with each other, there is always the possibility of a security lapse. However, this is one scenario where no compromises should be made. Keeping security tight might slow down the flow a bit, but having systems protected has more far-reaching benefits that a few seconds or minutes saved.

When implemented correctly a DevOps strategy has several benefits to technology product development. New inputs, simultaneous testing of functions and performance, and the flexibility to backtrack can vastly improve the quality of the finished product. The key to successfully planning a DevOps initiative is doing the required research and taking the time to implement the practices in phases.

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