Earlier this month we spent a couple of days at IP Expo Europe in London, talking to exhibitors and attending some of the great conference sessions. The DevOps presentations were of particular interest, as we have seen this exciting software development movement take off in a big way over the last couple of years.
The demand we've seen for training and coaching on platforms such as Circle CI, Jenkins, Docker, and Kubernetes reflects that DevOps has clearly moved into the mainstream - and we love supporting the journey.
Jon Hammant of Accenture ran an interesting and detailed session which explored how their business has approached DevOps, by sharing many of its methodologies and philosophies.
Accenture has unarguably embraced DevOps on a massive scale, with literally thousands of developer teams and projects from which it keeps learning. Along the way, it has also worked incredibly hard at refining and documenting its evolving practices.
What did Hammant pick out for particular consideration when it comes to DevOps at scale? We took some notes.
“Governance is something that needs attention,” he said. “With DevOps, you need good processes and measurement to understand how it’s working. DevOps is well beyond its honeymoon period now. It’s at that point where it needs to be measured and understood because when DevOps becomes your production environment that’s a big deal. You need to understand every aspect of your people, process and culture for it to work.”
He noted that sometimes developers don’t instinctively want to be empowered and set to work in a production environment. To support this transition you need to take them on the journey and train them properly so they can appreciate what they are gaining by making the leap.
Training usually pays, said Hammant, because it helps developers understand what “good“ looks like in a DevOps context. It equips them with knowledge to go alongside any identified best-of-breed tools and methods being used.
What we see at Framework Training chimes with much of what Hammant was arguing at IP Expo. One challenge that comes up time and again is the gap that companies are trying to bridge between their idealised version of how to implement DevOps and the messier reality.
In a perfect world, a business identifies an opportunity to act on, allocates a realistic number of scrum-team development hours to it and a minimum viable product is created and released. It then goes through iterative improvement to the satisfaction of the relevant stakeholders.
In the real world, things tend to be much harder. Scoping of a project can take weeks, with high-level discussions and contractual agreements taking time to be ratified before the next step is taken. But without proper adherence to a proven agile methodology, the delivery team can get bogged down well before any testing and deployment is even in the frame. Before you know it, six months has passed and progress has well and truly stalled.
How to move beyond this kind of situation? Accenture and Hammant argue that onboarding and training members of the team is crucial, as you get underway, and then a joined-up approach to every aspect of the DevOps development environment and culture is a must. Hammant picked out the need for cohesive teams with shared objectives applying lean principles and continuous delivery, but also embracing failure while testing early and often. He said teams should also apply strong source control and look to automate processes wherever possible.
Accenture’s (ADOP) site is worth a look and offers an interesting packaged solution integrating a number of tried-and-tested DevOps tools.
Framework Training offers a comprehensive range of DevOps training courses which will give your developers and systems engineers the practical skills needed to bring faster and more scalable capability to your business operations, whichever technical stack you choose.
If you are interested in exploring how DevOps can benefit your business, we would love to have a chat about you and/or your team's requirements. Use the form below or give us a call on (0)20 3137 3920.