Writing for DevOps.com Mike Vizard highlights the reality of DevOps uptake, that most adoption issues are related to organisational challenges, not technology. The top two barriers to adoption are slow processes and speed of adaptation (29%), followed by budget and funding (21%). Only 18% identified technology limitations as an issue.

Adoption of continuous practices ranges across the scale, with almost half saying they have been able to implement continuous integration, but it then drops away as they assess continuous delivery and then deployment maturity. Only a third of respondents said they deploy new code at least once per week, and almost half still deploy less than once per month. The number of teams that deploy new code daily or multiple times a day (15%) is roughly equivalent to those that deploy code on a quarterly basis (16%).

The most widely used DevOps tools are GitHub, Jenkins, GitLab, Azure Pipelines and Bitbucket. The most widely automated tests are user interface (UI)/functional and unit tests, followed by regression and integration testing, using tools including Selenium, Cypress, Postman, SoapUI and homegrown tools.

Change Management

As we consider the overall context and goal of digital transformation we can identify three main tiers of activity: Tools and individual skills, those described above, and then process and then organisation.

To the point of this article, much of the focus of the industry is concentrated on the first but it actually has the least impact. Staff can become highly skilled with the latest technologies but process bottlenecks and organizational culture and change resistance can easily negate and limit their positive contribution.

Process improvements are relatively easy to implement. As we described in previous articles ‘Algorithms for High-Performance DevOps’ and ‘Flow Metrics’, the sequence of steps to progress code development can be analyzed with a view to determining the total throughput capacity, identifying and addressing bottlenecks that restrict the pipeline capacity.

However, as Mike writes it is the broader organisational transformation that is more challenging. ‘Addressing bottlenecks’ might be a function of confronting the situation of a department manager who zealously guards their turf and acts politically to resist any changes required.

This is entirely outside of the scope of technology but often is the most common challenge, one of culture, politics and personalities, and very often the ‘elephant in the room’ dynamics that no DevOps technology program is equipped to cope with.

Thus we can see the types of challenges for DevOps maturity are those common to all change management initiatives, and so ultimately the most important driver is at the most senior level. In short, is there a link established between the executive goals of the organisation with this reengineering effort, and is there active involvement from senior management to ensure its success? Without that the evolution of DevOps and testing will remain constrained and isolated.

Digital Product Management

We can of course look to the CIO for the leadership required. George Hulme describes the role of the CIO in Digital Transformation, which again reinforces the point that these new technologies are still subject to the same rationale as has always been the case - Senior executives will invest when driven by clearly articulated ROI plans not simply because it is the latest technology.

Central to success here is a two-way dialogue, where the top-level goals are cascaded down and critically the DevOps evolution required is fed back to the executive team within this context, so they understand, support and fund its progress.

This is why concepts like Digital Product Management are ideal, facilitating an intersection level for a meeting of the minds, as it deals with the issues and metrics that are common and important to both executives and developers; release dates for new products, the time to market and investment required to launch new innovations, and so on.

This provides executives with visibility of the performance of the software function without becoming embroiled in the alien detail, and to be alerted to the challenges impacting those metrics they understand and are concerned with. If a slow DevOps pipeline is what is holding up the release of new revenue-generating products then senior executives know that is where investment and transformation efforts should be concentrated and can lead to the required organisational changes.

2i Services

From extensive experience of helping other enterprise organisations navigate these challenges, 2i can support your organisation to define a digital transformation roadmap, and help identify and smooth the cross-departmental working practices required to implement it.

Our QAT Practice leverages over 15 years of major QAT (QA and Test) implementations across the Public, Commercial and BFSI sectors, offering a centralised service function that provides quality assurance and testing practices, standardised processes, and key shared services to your agile teams. It enables the industrialisation of standard QAT practices and procedures to increase the efficiency of your development value streams.

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