DevOps: An Evolving Approach for Evolving IT Teams

By Force 3

By promoting collaboration and better communication, DevOps practices can help IT teams raise their profile and generate better outcomes for their organization. And here’s how:

Imagine you’re an architect tasked with designing a massive mixed-used building in Washington D.C. It’s a huge endeavor, and you spend weeks—perhaps months—devising a blueprint for an amazing, 50-story building full of apartments, offices and retail.

Next step, construction, right? Not so fast. As it happens, the city has a height restriction, forbidding buildings that exceed 130 feet (or roughly 13 stories). Then, adding insult to proverbial injury, you learn that D.C. also has hard and fast laws about mixed-use development.

So now you’re back to the literal drawing board, having wasted a huge part of your year. Meanwhile, you realize it all could have been avoided simply by talking with people in construction and zoning. It’s a situation that occurs in every industry—technology included. And it’s exactly the kind of predicament that DevOps can prevent.

Since its inception, DevOps has primarily been viewed as specific to software development. But its principles and outcomes apply in so many other spaces besides technology.

With its focus on collaboration and communication, DevOps allows organizations to deliver products and services faster—and with fewer problems caused by poor communication and siloed planning. Given such benefits, combined with DevOps’ increasing popularity, it’s unsurprising to see more IT departments embracing this approach as well.

While improved products and service delivery remain the most obvious advantages of DevOps adoption, one positive side effect has little to do with any single final product: The potential to elevate your IT team’s value and role within the overall organization. How?

A Higher IT Profile

One of the greatest challenges IT professionals face is a perception of their role as a hindrance to overall productivity and output. Consequently, IT teams often operate in a silo, essentially disconnected from the rest of the organization and its mission. DevOps practices, however, can help change that.

Inherent to DevOps is the inclusion of multiple teams and stakeholders working together to achieve one goal—not just technology professionals, but those in business as well. Of course, a natural outgrowth of those interactions is a better understanding of your IT team’s contributions, its needs and the value it brings to your organization. Suddenly, you’re no longer the man behind the curtain: You have a seat—and a voice—at the table.

Better Security Alignment

Security is often seen as an obstruction or complication when implementing change or new technologies. This perception could be exacerbated as security plays more heavily in business decisions and is integrated earlier in the process.

Enter DevOps. Not only does this approach have a natural relationship to security, but it could also help security become more efficient and less burdensome.

Through faster development practices and feedback loops, security can go from a necessary evil to something easily implemented, without much additional effort.

Improved Internet of Things (IoT) Strategy

You only have to look at the news to recognize the enormous risks posed to organizations by IoT devices. Many IoT-enabled devices have largely contributed to massive botnets and DDoS attacks, as seen recently at Twitter.

With that in mind, we can expect to see DevOps become mainstream in the development of IoT space. This will streamline the secure development of IoT software by minimizing the number of potential vulnerabilities.

Using DevOps, organizations can work together to enforce new security standards for the wave of connected devices coming to market, without being pressured to prioritize profit over protection.

In Short

DevOps is here to stay. By embracing it, IT teams can raise their organizational profile, promote greater security alignment and improve integration in IoT development.

Ryan Wolfe is Solutions Delivery Team Lead at Force 3