Sep 01, 2021 | 3 min read

2021 State of DevOps: Building Momentum Behind Implementation

By: Lisa Koci

2021 State of DevOps: Building Momentum Behind Implementation

The 2021 State of DevOps Report was released by Puppet last month. It surveyed over 2500 participants about how they’ve been implementing DevOps practices. The report found that DevOps adoption is on the rise. However, there are still some key challenges to overcome for organizations to reach their full potential with this discipline. Here are five key takeaways from the report.

1. DevOps is more than automation.

Automation and DevOps are inextricably linked. The first step to breaking down silos, reducing manual tasks, improving security practices, and freeing up resources is automating your workflows - but it’s not enough on its own!

DevOps is about culture, collaboration, and communication between different teams. Interactions, flow, and optimization will suffer if teams focus solely on “automating everything.” The report states that highly evolved DevOps organizations view automation as a pathway to improve their quality of work, free up time to focus on structural improvements, and provide more value for teams and end-users.

2. Using the Cloud isn't enough.

Likewise, DevOps isn’t just about using the Cloud. Organizations frequently adopt the Cloud without rethinking existing processes, optimizing for fast flow, or reducing the cognitive load. Neglecting to do this is a missed opportunity to refactor for efficiency and improve your DevOps organization.

Some adjustments will need to be made to system configurations and provisioning to take full advantage of cloud capabilities. According to the report, 84% of highly evolved firms can scale rapidly to meet demand. Elastically provisioning capabilities, often automatically, in response to changing needs are critical to achieving this. Self-service resources should also be available, enabling organizations to utilize more aspects of a true Cloud environment.

3. Teams need strong identities.

Clear responsibilities, clarity of purpose, and autonomy create strong team identities necessary for success. In addition, unambiguous linguistical interaction plays an integral role in ensuring communication flows smoothly. The report found that high-performing DevOps teams also have a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities to other teams in the wider organization.

4. Utilize the Team Topologies Model

Highly evolved DevOps organizations tend to use the Team Topologies model as a framework for organizing their teams. Here’s an overview of the four topologies:

Stream-Aligned Team: Focus solely on a singular workstream, such as a product or service, and act autonomously to deliver value.

Platform Team: Create capabilities, manage tools, and build internal workflows that the stream-aligned teams leverage to accelerate their work.

Complicated Subsystem Team: Manage complex systems that require specific and niche skillsets, minimizing the cognitive load for the stream-aligned team.

Enabler Team: Provide tools, knowledge, and expertise that the stream-aligned teams need to grow and improve their capabilities.

In this model, stream-aligned teams are supported by platform, subsystem, and enabler teams to deliver value more quickly for customers.

5. Stop blaming culture.

Blaming culture is easy. Labeling blockers as “cultural” provides a false sense of security and leads to inaction since culture is thought of as unchangeable. If you think culture is the issue, consider looking at leadership’s behaviors and their overall support of DevOps.

Leadership and top-down momentum are key drivers for a successful DevOps implementation. According to the report, 60% of highly evolved organizations say DevOps is actively promoted by leadership, and one in five organizations report there are no cultural barriers present. It’s shown that leaders from highly evolved organizations demonstrate positive behaviors that promote trust, autonomy, psychological safety, and knowledge sharing within their teams.

The 2021 State of DevOps Report is an excellent read for anyone interested in improving their organization’s DevOps capabilities. DevOps is becoming increasingly commonplace as a discipline to improve IT operations and reduce time-to-market for innovations, but it’s not without its challenges. If you need help implementing DevOps or would like more information on the subject, reach out to the experts at DragonSpears today.

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