How to Build a Successful DevOps Culture Within Your Organization

The technology industry is rapidly changing, and software development teams must change along with it. In the past, software development teams had siloed organizations, with one team focusing on development, another focused on quality assurance testing, and a completely separate group focused on operations and infrastructure.

This created a linear process of development, QA, and then deployment. In turn, it increased time to market, and led to finger-pointing among teams when a project didn’t go as planned.

The impact of DevOps has grown over time and changed the way Agile software development teams are structured. DevOps is a departure from traditional software development practices, and instead of two siloed organizations acting separately, you now have one team working together.

Learn more about how DevOps benefits Agile software development and how to build a DevOps culture within your organization.

DevOps In Agile Software Development

When working in an Agile environment, it’s beneficial for businesses to see DevOps as a mindset rather than just tools and practices. DevOps extends the iterative nature of Agile through the deployment process by enabling teams to be responsible for quality software releases through the use of:

  • Deployment packages, which ensure infinitely scalable environments
  • Continuous integration, which allows QAs to test targeted functionality via automated builds running unit tests developed by software engineers on features defined by product owners
  • Continuous delivery, which allows the team to decide which features are ready for automated deployment without relying on a system administrator to promote code

These practices encourage Agile teams to focus on better unit tests, code comments and automated tests to improve the long-term quality of software applications. By investing in the project early on with DevOps practices, it ensures faster, more Agile iterations in the long term.

How To Build A DevOps Culture Within Your Team

DevOps is as much about culture as it is about tools. Embracing a DevOps culture in your organization leads to increased collaboration and teams that are more in sync.

If you’re currently working in a siloed organizational structure, changing your existing culture to embrace DevOps is often difficult. Here are four tips to help you build a DevOps culture within your team:

1. Learn To Trust

After years of your development and operations teams being separated from one another, there’s likely a lack of trust and communication between teams.

Before you can change your culture, everyone needs to agree they’re on the same team. Although trust isn’t built overnight, it’s important for both teams to break old habits and to learn to work together.

Now that developers, QAs, and sys admins all take part in deploying new features and part of a continuous process, each group needs to trust each other to get quality code delivered on time.

2. Understand Motivations

Conflict between teams often occurs when people don’t understand each other. When you’re under pressure to complete a software project, it may be difficult to understand why someone is reacting or thinking differently than you.

Since you’re all on the same team now, take the time to understand the thought process and motivations of your team members. Listen to them, acknowledge their ideas and work together to come up with creative solutions.

Best practices like Unit Tests will become critical in a DevOps shop so a QAs frustrations grow to a team’s problems when engineers don’t do their part in testing a solution.

3. Eliminate Blame

When teams work separately and something goes wrong, each team often places blame on the other for why the project didn’t go as planned. However, there’s no place for blame in a DevOps culture.

While it’s important to understand what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again, placing blame on individuals doesn’t help the team move forward.

DevOps practices create a new level of visibility which can break down barriers but also show more clearly who is creating problems (like breaking the build). Teams need to be prepared to support each other in correcting problems rather than looking for ways to avoid blame.

4. Help Your Team Understand The ‘Why’

People are naturally resistant to change, so it’s important to help your team understand why you’re moving toward a DevOps culture. Sit down with your employees and show them how it leads to better, more stable software.

A developer might like to manage source code the same old way but DevOps only works when changes happen like converting to using Git Workflow. If developers don’t know why they need to use Git Workflow, they might not see the impact untils it creates bigger problems downstream.

Building a DevOps culture within your organization increases effectiveness and collaboration between your development and operations teams. Although implementing change isn’t easy, DevOps allows you to streamline your software development process and get products to market faster.