Enterprise Agile Development and DevOps Cause Major Upheavals

The concept of DevOps is gaining traction within the IT departments of many companies. What is DevOps? It’s the idea of a cross-functional team composed of people from development and operations. The team develops the software and support the resulting software application and associated infrastructure.

The DevOps approach is popular with companies offering cloud-based software. These firms usually perform frequent software updates and need to have development and operations closely aligned. Even simple software defect repairs need to be deployed according to an agreed-upon plan and timeframe.

DevOps also helps when you have a complex platform built on many software components, either custom built or off-the-shelf. When you have web servers, application servers, databases and other supporting software components, there will be many software update cycles to manage.

DevOps is just the beginning.

The enterprise agility problem extends beyond development and operations. What about program management, user experience, product management, quality engineering, software distribution, user documentation, and customer support? It takes many people with many skills to launch and maintain enterprise software.

There are organizational and cultural barriers to implementing enterprise DevOps or any form of enterprise agile development. If you’re serious about being agile, you’ll have to face them.

Corporations have spent years refining their command-and-control structures. Agile development and delivery is different. All that existing structure won’t have to be tossed but it will need a major overhaul.

I wrote an article for the ToolsJournal called “10 Tips for Succeeding with Enterprise Agile Development” In a series of posts over the next few weeks, I’ll expand on the ideas presented there.

Enterprise agile development, including DevOps, will cause lots of upheaval. Most companies seem to attack it in a piecemeal fashion hoping that many small changes will get them to where they want to be. It won’t work. I hope this series of posts helps.

Updated: January 29, 2012 — 10:17 pm

1 Comment

  1. +1 to “DevOps is just the beginning”. I’ve been using the term “User-Centered IT” to refer to alignment across marketing, design, dev, qa, ops, and support. The point is to get all parts of the org and all activities working in concert with each other and thinking in user-centered terms (e.g., whether the servers are up or not, is the site working the way the user expects). Techniques like service design and behavior-driven development can create shared understanding of who the user is and what they need/want/expect.

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