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July 11, 2016updated 28 Mar 2017 4:13pm

DevOps and accelerating application lifecycles

By John Oates

Enterprise software used to be divided between operations and development departments. The two regarded each other if not as enemies then at the very least as rivals who had to fix each others problems.

Operations would regard software releases or upgrades as a time of hassle to be suffered as infrequently as possible.

Meanwhile development would often see the operations people as a hindrance acting as a brake on quicker deployment and faster upgrade cycles.

But in today’s enterprise the two are, in theory at least, meant to be working together.

As software development cycles accelerate so it becomes all but impossible to separate the two.

This should make life far better and easier for both sides. Development teams get the benefit of the expertise which operations has from actually using and implementing their software. Equally operations should have the benefit of influencing the direction of future development of the software which they must use on a day-to-day basis which should make their lifes easier too.

But in reality the two sides do remain divided both culturally and literally in many organisations.

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Ops teams tend to be cautious while development teams thrive on change.

Making this relationship more agile requires more than just circulating a memo or sending selected staff on a scrum theory course. You need to break down the silos and get people working together.

Any organisational change needs time and investment to get staff to truly ‘buy-in’ to the change.

One good way to do this is to create a mixed team working on a fairly simple, small and easily measurable project. This should help provide a real world example of the potential benefits of the new structure. Good communication and clear goals are vital for the success of this kind of pilot project and it should not be seen as a way to save money.

There are of course tools which can help – broadly defined as ‘Application Lifecycle Management’ (ALM) products.

These can help improve collaboration and accelerate time to release for software improvements – but only if you’ve already achieved a degree of cultural change.
Crucial for the success of this sort of project is clear and honest communication – it is all too easy for collaboration to look and sound like cost cutting if it is not presented properly.

Once that is in place there are a variety of software solutions to help improve and accelerate software development cycles and get the various stake holders in any software project working together in the same direction.

HPE has resources to get you started here:

http://www8.hp.com/us/en/software-solutions/devops-solutions/services.html

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