5 reasons Advanced DevOps is a step up from “just” DevOps
DevOps has arguably been one of the most transformative movements in the world of software development, at least in recent history. The goal has been a valiant one: to bring together development and operations teams to deliver software faster and more reliably.
But is this enough? Has this been the right goal at all?
Over the years Advanced DevOps has emerged and, no matter where you are on your DevOps journey, it’s useful to reflect on what this means, what it could look like for you and why you should even care.
Quick definitions: DevOps Vs. Advanced DevOps
What is DevOps?
In short, DevOps is a software development philosophy that aims to bring the development and operations teams together. The key principles of DevOps focus on automating the software delivery pipeline to reduce lead time, and increase the speed of delivery. IE. Breaking down the traditional silos we traditionally experienced between dev and ops teams.
What is Advanced DevOps?
At a glance, and as the name suggests, Advanced DevOps is about taking this practice to the next level. In other words, it means going beyond “just” the automation and integration of the development and operations teams.
Advanced DevOps involves taking a more holistic approach to software delivery, including the entire software delivery lifecycle, security, performance, and customer satisfaction.
Phew! OK, so more DevOps practices across the board and a more mature approach, right? But what does Advanced DevOps actually look like in practice?
Let’s break down the key differences between DevOps and Advanced DevOps, tangibly and practically.
The key differences between DevOps and Advanced DevOps
The key differences between DevOps and Advanced DevOps can be broken down into these 5 categories or call-to-actions:
- Expand your automation
- Look into more Continuous Improvement
- Deepen your integration of security
- Increase your customer focus
- Take a more holistic approach.
Here’s what all of those things can look like in action.
Expanded your automation
If DevOps is mainly focused on automating your software delivery pipeline, Advanced DevOps pushes you to bring more automation throughout your entire delivery lifecycle. That includes security, performance, and customer satisfaction.
The main goal: Free up the time and resources of your developers to focus on more important tasks.
What this could look like:
- Automated testing: For example, unit testing, integration testing, performance testing, and security testing. Reduce the risk of human error and improve the quality of the software delivered.
- Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Automate the provisioning, configuration, and management of IT infrastructure. Reduce manual errors, improve consistency and repeatability, and speed up the process of standing up new infrastructure.
- Automated monitoring and alerting: Proactively identify and resolve issues before they become major problems to reduce downtime and improve reliability.
- Automated deployments: Your software updates are deployed consistently, quickly, and with minimal risk.
Look into Continuous Improvement
For the most part, DevOps has often focused on continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) to improve the speed of delivery. Advanced DevOps, on the other hand, focuses on continuous improvement across your entire software delivery lifecycle.
The goal: Continuous monitoring and performance optimization to ensure that your software is running at peak performance and levels of security.
What this could look like:
- Continuous feedback: Feedback from customers, stakeholders, and users. Then incorporating this feedback into product design, your software delivery pipeline, and continuous improvement to your software delivery process.
- Ensure data-driven decision making: This can include gathering data on performance, security, and customer satisfaction, then using this data to identify areas for improvement and make changes to your process.
- Root cause analysis: Identify the underlying cause of issues and resolve them effectively to prevent issues from recurring and improve the reliability.
- Expand your experimentation: Stay ahead of the curve and incorporate new tech and approaches by investing in experimenting in new ideas.
- Invest in learning and development: The skills and development of your team will define the development of your process and results. Whether through direct training, workshops, and continuous education programs.
Deepen your integration of security
Unfortunately, security is often one of those priorities that are talked about more than actually integrated into your process. Even in highly regulated industries such as finance, DevOps leaders are still finding better ways to mature their organizations approach to security in software development.
The goal: Ensure security is integrated into the entire software delivery process.
What this might look like:
- Security testing: Use tools such as static code analysis, dynamic application security testing (DAST), and interactive application security testing (IAST) to identify vulnerabilities early in the development process.
- Secure Coding Practices: For example, input validation, output encoding, and secure communication protocols, to ensure that the software is secure by design.
- Continuous Monitoring: With tools such as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), to monitor the software delivery process for security threats.
- Automation: Integrate security into the software delivery process, using tools such as security-focused pipelines, security-focused testing, and security-focused code reviews.
- Threat modeling: Identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities in the software delivery process, and develop mitigation strategies to address them.
Increase your customer focus
This area is more about a cultural shift in seeing DevOps as providing for the needs of the development and operations teams, and instead focus on the needs of your customers.
The goal: Deliver software that meets and exceeds the expectation of your customers, stay ahead of competition and increase your value.
What this might look like:
- Customer engagement: Engage with your customers to understand their needs and requirements. This can include regular feedback sessions, user research, and incorporating customer feedback into the software delivery process.
- Level-up customer experience (CX): This can include gathering data on CX, identifying areas for improvement, and committing to making changes to your software delivery process that reflects this.
- User-Centered Design (UCD): Increase investment in user-centric data, protofyping and feedback.
- Collaborate more with Customer Success leaders: This includes incorporating customer success metrics into your software delivery process and keeping a focus on providing software that helps customers complete specific goals.
Take a more holistic approach
Taking a more holistic approach means to have a broader cultural shift in how and where we see the influence of DevOps efforts. Again, about taking the focus from just development and operations teams and broadening to your entire software delivery lifecycle.
The goal: A more mature approach to DevOps means a more mature culture around understanding the wider impact of development and operations across the board.
This could look like:
- Increased cross-functional collaboration: Such as development, testing, and operations (and beyond), to ensure that the software delivery process is integrated and efficient.
- End-to-end visibility: Identify areas for improvement and resolve issues more effectively by advancing your visibility from development to deployment and operations.
- Systemic thinking: This is about considering your software delivery process as a whole, rather than individual components. This will help you to identify interdependencies, make informed decisions, and improve overall efficiency.
What are the benefits of Advanced DevOps?
You could also call this section “What’s the business case for arguing for more DevOps resources?”. Relying on the argument that automation in your software delivery process frese up time and resources for developers just won’t cut it.
Advanced DevOps is important because it enables organizations to deliver software faster, more reliably, and more securely.
But what does this actually look like? Why should your leadership care?
Here’s what the research says:
High-performing teams that adopted advanced DevOps practices had 2.6 times fewer failures than their lower-performing counterparts.
The survey also found that advanced DevOps practices resulted in 3.3 times faster lead times, 1.5 times faster recovery times, and 2.2 times lower change failure rates.
Accelerated Strategies Group 2020
Organizations that had implemented Advanced DevOps practices were 3.5 times more likely to report improved software quality, 3.9 times more likely to report faster time-to-market, and 3.3 times more likely to report better customer satisfaction than organizations that had not implemented Advanced DevOps practices
DevOps teams that had implemented Advanced DevOps practices were more than twice as likely to meet or exceed organizational performance goals, including profitability, productivity, and market share.
Organizations that had implemented Advanced DevOps practices were better equipped to respond to changing market conditions, with 63% reporting that they could rapidly pivot to new business models and customer demands
Organizations that had implemented Advanced DevOps practices were better equipped to manage risk, with 85% reporting that their risk management processes had improved since implementing Advanced DevOps practices.
Ultimately, investing in Advanced DevOps practices is all about giving you:
- Faster software delivery: That means shorter lead times, quicker time-to-market, and improved customer satisfaction.
- Increased agility: Respond more quickly to changes in market conditions, customer requirements, and technology trends. You want to stay ahead of the curve.
- Improved reliability: Increased focus on reliability and quality reduces downtime and improves customer confidence in your software.
- Enhanced security: Reduce the risk of security breaches and protect sensitive data.
- Better resource utilization: If your organization is looking to increase productivity in priority areas and reduce cost.
- Improved collaboration: Improve your teamwork and increase alignment between teams. Better ways of working together made for better products, processes, and ultimately, happier people in your organization.
Make the switch to frequent, safe releases. It’s easier than you think.