Greg West joined MATRIX as an Agile Coach in 2016. Throughout his 20-year career in the software enterprise space, Greg has realized success in a wide range of capacities. He started his career as a developer while attending college and made progressive strides on an exciting career path to include the roles of Team Lead, Solution Architect, Manager of Development, DevOps Engineer, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach. In the last five years, Greg has participated in and led the Agile transformation of a global software company specializing in legal vertical market, and more recently, a startup that provided SAAS solutions for the United States Department of Defense. Greg is a Certified LeSS Practitioner, CSM, and currently working on his CSP.
3 Ways Your Competition is Winning with DevOps
Ever wondered if your much anticipated software release was going to deploy properly? After all, you promised your biggest client that there would be no problems and you already have your pre-compiled list of really good excuses should things not go so well. Are users really using that new feature that you personally envisioned several months ago? You know the market so well that you know better than the users what they really want. Has it been some time since the teams have run an integration build? Well no problem, they are smart folks and will rise to the occasion as they always do…after all, that is part of the job.
You might reassure yourself by say “Everything will be just fine. We haven’t gotten this far by accident.” Or maybe NOT! How can you be sure? That lingering doubt that can no longer be ignored leads to more uncertainty in how you operate your software release pipeline. Uncertainty, that may lead to sleepless nights and the seemingly never-ending long hours at the office that are becoming the new norm for everyone. A worse fate still could be the eventual demise of the organization as the competition overtakes market share by effortlessly getting those really cool features in users’ hands while you are still “working out the specs” for development.
The competition is not accidentally or by chance beating your company to the market, but rather intentionally integrating a solid and robust DevOps culture into the way they work.
Always Deploy to Production
First, the competition continuously deploys from a single code repository to “production-like” environments to learn the effect of the changing code base. So, when it is time for the “real” production release, these organizations are very certain of the outcome. Gone are the days of hoping upon hope that it deploys correctly. No pre-compiled list of client excuses required.
Know the Users
Secondly, the organizations that engage in a DevOps culture discover how users are navigating the application. They know what areas are used the most and the least. Additionally, they monitor user behavior and production telemetry to provide feedback and adapt their product to how users think and behave while in the application. No guessing – and sorry, the MBA degree will not give you this invaluable insight.
Keep Quality Close to the Source
Lastly, they implement continuous integration and automated testing. Keeping quality close to the source is certainly one way to remove wasteful behavior of some organizations. This behavior separates newly discovered issues from when they were created by considerable time. Many tasks throughout the delivery pipeline can be automated, such as testing. Smart organizations have implemented quite the automated testing suites during each build with the intention of discovering issues early. Let the computers do computer work and the humans concentrate on creating and innovating.
These are but a few facets of a DevOps culture that the competition has integrated into how they deliver the right software with quality and speed. They have the confidence that their deployment pipeline is efficient with such robust feedback throughout the delivery process that quality learning and quick adaptation can occur. The stress of delivering software is now just an unpleasant fading memory for people in this organization. They leave the office and go home each day with a sense of peace; this peace is better than any sleep aid on the market.