2i can help organisations establish a DevOps Centre of Excellence, a central structure that can facilitate the adoption of industry best practices that drive efficiency and the embracing of Cloud and infrastructure as code approaches to leverage automation and containerisation.

This can act as a catalyst for training, knowledge transfer and cultural shift assistance for your teams and accelerate faster business innovation and reduced time-to-market through high-performance DevOps teams.

Transformation

The first step is a maturity assessment to map where your organisation currently stands and from that plan a roadmap for moving forward.

DevOps.com offers an article that explores the types of challenges the process will face, made up of three main elements: organisation structure, legacy technology stack and culture.

They observe a common pattern many organizations will begin with, that typically there are several small DevOps programs already in place in silos that lack the maturity to scale to the enterprise level. Therefore one of the first primary steps and critical success factors is that it is championed at the senior executive level and be chartered as an enterprise-wide program.

Following on the program governance should reflect this ambition, this is the most important step to make an impact on the culture of the organisation. Roles and responsibilities will change and this should be guided by a holistic understanding of the collaboration needed across different business units. KPIs must shift from individual metrics to holistic customer business outcomes.

For an overall set up process InformationWeek defines a four-step approach:

  1. Assemble a team - Build the required mix of team, who can define the core body of knowledge, engage stakeholders and train new recruits.
  2. Create a knowledge and learning hub - The DevOps Center of Excellence should define the organisation’s best practices and teach these policies and procedures to all practitioners.
  3. Define the toolset - Define what the standard DevOps toolset is across the organisation and monitor teams to ensure they are adhering to that standard.
  4. Let automation drive DevOps - The DevOps Center of Excellence should always be exploring how to further automation can improve DevOps procedures. The team needs to stay abreast of the latest advancements in the space and continually ask how they can make the process more efficient, more secure and more reliable through automation.

The Enterprisers also offers four points, that take an action-oriented implementation perspective. For example, the first task is to choose the right use cases, identifying where it will have the most impact, and through the next three steps continue this emphasis on the importance of a business-aligned COE, with clearly defined business outcomes, such as increased flexibility or cost savings.

Testing and Automation

TechTarget expands on one particular dimension of the COE in detail, defining ‘How To Set Up An Automation Centre of Excellence for DevOps’, where their central recommendation is to set specific automation standards across the business, drills down to the level of detail of recommending that the organisation writes before and after job descriptions for developers and administrators and that a key function of the COE is to capture and report on metrics:

“An automation centre of excellence is an ideal clearinghouse for the automation metrics and success stories that hide inside the departments, teams and projects of mid-to-large-sized organisations.”

Similarly, writing for TechBeacon Michael Cooper offers ten tips for building a testing centre of excellence, with the keynote goal of ‘shifting left’ to focus on defect prevention and early detection.

Early involvement of QA in the software development life cycle is a proven way to consistently save your company money in the long run. Defects caught in the writing of user stories and acceptance tests can be hundreds of times less expensive than defects discovered in production.

Conclusion

The outcomes enjoyed from setting up a COE are documented in this Tricentis case study

“Once a siloed organisation, the test engineering team is now engaged at every step in the software delivery pipeline, from inception to design to delivery. Code isn’t deployed into production without the team’s acceptance. The team engages partners in the business to champion quality assurance principles and test engineering practices in two distinct ways: A cross-functional QA center of excellence and a community of practice. The QA Center of Excellence helps build trust and reinforce partnerships with development and business leaders as their teams move to a significantly modernised way of working.”

As partners of testing vendors like Tricentis among many others and an extensive experience of helping enterprise organisations improve the maturity of their DevOps practices, 2i is ideally positioned to help your business adopt a Centre of Excellence, from exploring the initial business case through hands-on implementation and also staffing.

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Author: 2i Testing