How to Keep DevOps in Sync with Business Needs
If you’re an engineer, it’s probably easy enough to appreciate the technical value of DevOps. DevOps makes software delivery faster, increases agility, improves collaboration and more.
That being said, this is likely not the case for business professionals. They don’t always see the value of DevOps as clearly from their perspective. After all, even if you adopt the best DevOps tools and design optimal DevOps processes, there’s no guarantee that DevOps will drive business value.
That’s why when devising a DevOps strategy, aligning with business requirements should be held with just as equal weight as technical considerations. This article will explain finding the right balance and identifying best practices for keeping DevOps in sync with business needs.
DevOps and the business
In an immediate sense, DevOps is a technical affair. It focuses on providing the tools, processes and practices necessary to help software developers and IT operations engineers work together effectively. Those are technical stakeholders, not stakeholders focused on the success of the business as a whole.
Plus, the immediate goals of DevOps are to improve technical outcomes. DevOps teams mainly focus on:
- Increasing software release velocity
- Enhancing software quality
- Reducing the cost of software deployment
It is important to note that these are all technical considerations, not business considerations. That being said, all of the above have important implications for businesses as a whole. When a company delivers software quickly, reliably, and continuously, they’re better positioned to build what the business needs to please users, increase revenue, and stay ahead of competitors.
So, although improving business outcomes is typically not the direct focus of DevOps engineers, it should be the ultimate outcome of their efforts.
Why DevOps doesn’t always support business priorities
In an ideal world, DevOps would facilitate business priorities, but at the moment, there’s no guarantee that this will be the case.
It is possible, for example, to create a CI/CD pipeline that generates a high success rate for delivering a particular application. But if that application is expensive to host – if, for instance, it’s designed in such a way that it requires use of a particular cloud provider, and that provider’s hosting services are more expensive than alternatives – then the application undercuts business value, no matter how efficient or scalable the DevOps pipeline is.
As another example, DevOps teams can rapidly become highly skilled at implementing new application features. But suppose they lack the necessary insight into business needs to know which features will increase revenue or user engagement. In that case, the team can end up wasting time creating features that no one wants to use. As it turns out, just because one builds things doesn’t necessarily mean users will come.
The bottom line here is that it can be easy for DevOps teams to get so wrapped up in perfecting their own processes and products that they overlook those processes and products’ role within the business as a whole. DevOps teams tend to become so fixated on the technical side of the process and product that they lose sight of the business goal.
Best practices for aligning DevOps with business needs
To ensure your DevOps model aligns with business priorities, consider the following practices:
- Measure, measure, measure: It’s impossible to quantify the business value of DevOps processes if you don’t quantify DevOps outcomes. Toward that end, be sure to track DevOps metrics like the frequency of application releases, how long it takes to implement new features and how often application deployments fail. When paired with business data, DevOps metrics provide granular context into the business value that DevOps delivers.
- Embrace value stream management: Once you’ve quantified your DevOps success, you can use it to help facilitate value stream management – a process that focuses on measuring the business impact of technical processes like DevOps. For instance, you can measure how many new users signed up after your DevOps team released a new application feature, then calculate the revenue you gained through that feature implementation.
- Facilitate collaboration between DevOps and business teams: Bring business stakeholders – like sales teams, marketers and financial analysts – into conversation with DevOps stakeholders. When developers and IT engineers talk to representatives of non-technical business units, it becomes much easier to develop features that support those business units.
- Know when to quit: It can be easy for engineers to become so invested in a technical initiative that they can’t imagine abandoning it, even if it turns out not to be driving business value in the way they hoped. In other words, DevOps teams can fall victim to the infamous “sunk cost fallacy,” which is a huge mistake. If you determine that a DevOps tool or process is not actually helping the business, be prepared to quit and move on.
By embracing practices like these, it becomes possible to ensure that DevOps initiatives reliably support business initiatives – which is, again, the ultimate goal.
Putting this into practice
It takes deliberate effort to ensure that DevOps practices actually reinforce business outcomes – and putting in that effort should be a core focus for any business that practices DevOps. The ChaosSearch Cloud Data Platform is disruptive in its simplicity and ability to scale, providing insights to DevOps practitioners, enabling them to be aligned with business needs, and a key participant in ensuring that systems optimize business value and greater return on investment.
Read the Blog: 10 DevOps Tools for Continuous Monitoring
Watch the Webinar: The Agile Journey in 2022: DevOps, Cloud, Automation, and Data Management
Scan the Fact Sheet: 10 Key Tenets for Successful DataOps
Check out the Whitepaper: DevOps Forensic Files: Using Log Analytics to Increase Efficiency