DevOps indispensable for agile work

An interview with Danny Higler, Agile Trainer and Coach at Wemanity

With the rise of DevOps, there seems to be a new trend within the world of developing and managing applications. Where the need to work effectively and efficiently is higher than ever before, DevOps enables organizations to adapt quickly and at a high level to the changing market. "In a world where the time-to-market should be short and the rate of change is high, DevOps will be the icing on the cake", says Danny Higler, agile trainer and coach at Wemanity.

DevOps consists of the terms Development and Operations. DevOps teams are responsible for the development of applications and systems and the operational part of this. Where these previously were isolated teams, these teams now have to come together and work towards a common goal. As a result, these teams are responsible from A to Z for the functioning and updating of these applications. "The focus on one or more applications gives the team a common goal, this gives the team a sense of ownership of their product(s)," says Higler.

DevOps and working Agile

DevOps is a term that has only recently been widely used in agile working, but organizations have been working on the principles of agile work for some time. Agile aims to be flexible and to be able to deliver software or products as quickly as possible. With this, organizations try to create a short 'time to market'. To achieve this, companies must have an infrastructure that facilitates the delivery of these products or software. DevOps is a way to speed up the time-to-market of an organization and thereby also improve the agile process. Within agile, DevOps ensures that the created value can be redeemed as quickly as possible.

It is important that the principles that DevOps pursues are included within the culture of the organization. In order for these principles to work through all layers of the organization, it is important that there is vertical commitment. "In order to be able to carry through the continuously small changes and modifications that are part of DevOps, it is necessary to run a software release several times a day. This is only possible if the DevOps team has the trust and support of the entire organization, "says Higler.

DevOps is about the maintenance of applications and bringing them to the market as quickly as possible. This means that when you encounter a change or a mistake in your software, you can discover it in the morning and have it processed in your system before noon. In order to do this, DevOps teams create a process that makes it possible to fully automate these changes over a number of tests so that they are put into production. This is also called Continuous Integration. "This means that when codes are checked in at a 'central repository', this software is bundled into a package that can actually bring changes to the application or system. These packages are then subjected to a number of tests and from this one determines whether the package goes further into the process, "says Higler.

The added value of DevOps

Developers spend a lot of time developing new functionalities, but then often forget to make automatic tests in order to continuously guarantee the correct operation of these new functionalities. When setting up a DevOps system, the developers will have to spend more time setting up the system and the corresponding tests than in developing new functionalities. After this phase, when the writing of tests has become second nature and the DevOps pipeline is established, the quality of new functionalities will be much higher and can be implemented faster. "This enables us to identify a problem within an hour, to solve the problem, to test the solution and to place it in the system," says Higler.

The future of DevOps

Thus, where DevOps makes it easier for organizations to implement changes within its applications and systems, a different type of developer is also required. Developers were previously used to working on a functionality within one environment, but a 'DevOps developer' comes to see a lot more. Everything is code: functionality, data, testing and infrastructure. As a result, the role of developer becomes broader, the knowledge of a single technique is no longer sufficient to fully participate in a DevOps team. That is why it is necessary that organizations invest in the knowledge and resources to make DevOps possible. "One of the biggest pitfalls with DevOps is that they call it DevOps, but do not want to invest in knowledge, time and resources to make the step," says Higler.

Through this investment in your own staff, organizations will prepare for the future. Nowadays, many markets are taken over by services and products that approach the market from a different angle, such as Uber, AirBnB and Spotify. With the help of DevOps, companies enable themselves to be able to make adjustments quickly. "Because in a world in which technological developments follow each other at such a rapid pace, the companies that adapt best are the companies that survive", concludes Higler.

Do you want to hear more about DevOps? Listen to this recorded webinar with Greig Bannatyne (Agile Coach and Trainer at Wemanity) and Danny Higler in which they share their vision on DevOps

If you'd like to find out more about the DevOps program at EXIN click here.