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Overcoming Unexpected Pitfalls On Your DevOps Transformation Journey

Team planning their DevOps transformation journey.

While the goal of digital transformation may be to simplify and streamline a company's workflow, the process itself can be far from easy. A 2020 study by Boston Consulting Group found that a staggering 70% of digital transformation projects fall short of their goals — even when leadership is aligned. As your organization prepares for its DevOps transformation journey, it's worth considering some of the most common challenges. How will your organization foster real cultural change? What will your tech stack look like? Will you be able to maintain standards of security, compliance, and governance?

Let's dig deeper into the potential pitfalls of the DevOps transformation journey — and how Copado’s Five Steps to Measuring DevOps Success can help.

1. Cultural Change

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DevOps transformation requires genuine cultural change. This cultural change must start at the top and permeate throughout the company. To successfully make this change, you'll need to overcome entrenched mindsets, siloed departments, and a lack of communication. Achieve this through more significant levels of visibility, faster feedback, and innovation.

A lack of clear vision leads to confusion. Employees wonder, 

"If it wasn't broken, why fix it?" All stages of the digital transformation require buy-in from the organization. 

Solution (Visibility, Speed): Communication strategies, training, and building measurable goals are essential components of a change management plan. Your organization can increase speed and agility by increasing visibility, ultimately leading to greater levels of innovation. 


2. Tech Integration

It's not just about tech; it’s about people. For employees, the most common complaint regarding DevOps transformation is poorly considered tech stacks.

Frequently, management will invest in an attractive new technology without considering the impact on the organization or its employees. Ultimately, a team must create a system out of disparate, ill-fitting parts.

A successful DevOps transformation requires a carefully considered tech stack that can support DevOps values — collaboration, automation, and continuous delivery/continuous integration. SaaS solutions can lighten the administrative burden of technology integration. Top platforms like Salesforce have an easy-to-use ecosystem of tools. 

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Solution (Visibility): Make critical decisions about your organization's future tech stack early and with the input of trusted team members. Low-code/no-code solutions streamline DevOps and democratize the development process — are they the right option for your organization?


3. Security, Compliance, and Governance

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Remain secure during the transition. One of the biggest concerns for any organization is maintaining security, compliance, and governance during a DevOps transformation. 

DevOps increases the speed at which developers release code. These commits can lead to vulnerabilities and compliance risks during a poorly managed transition. Before starting your DevOps journey, develop a comprehensive security plan. Use your technology to keep DevOps processes and tools compliant with industry regulations. 

Your DevOps tools should improve your system security, not put it at risk. Look for solutions that have strong security frameworks that encompass physical, application, and network security. Look for solutions that meet important requirements in your industry and location, like ISO 27001, SOC 2, FedRAMP and GDPR.


Solution (Quality): Security, compliance, and governance should not be an afterthought during a DevOps transformation. Address these concerns upfront by investing in processes such as quality gates and automated testing.

4. Team Size and Structure

Rethink your human capital. A DevOps transformation can have a major impact on team size and structure. As DevOps encourages collaboration and automation, your organization may need to reevaluate its team structure and staffing requirements.

Consider: Your team’s skills will need to match your tools. Low-code solutions can fill skill gaps so you won’t need as many pro-code resources. However, you’ll need to support everyone during this transition. And your DevOps team will need to be able to work together effectively to achieve common goals. How can you help the entire team, from Admins and Business Analysts to Developers and QA work together, even as their roles change? What changes will you need to make regarding your human resources?

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Solution (Visibility, Speed, Innovation): DevOps changes the way teams and individuals work together. Smaller, agile, cross-functional teams achieve goals without disruption. Begin fostering these teams and relationships by providing the infrastructure necessary for better communication and collaboration.


5. Training and Education

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Build adoption from the top down. DevOps requires a new way of thinking and working. Provide your team with the necessary training and education to succeed in a DevOps environment. Train not only on new tools and technologies but also on DevOps values and principles.

Training and education don’t end. They are a key component of continuous improvement and innovation. 

Solution (Resilience): DevOps training and education should be ongoing — there should always be a plan for continued education and improvements. Provide regular training, build ambassadors, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. Resources like the Copado Community can support DevOps professionals throughout their training journeys. 


6. When is DevOps Done?

True DevOps is never done. Most companies are used to project-based initiatives that have a firm completion date. As your organization adopts DevOps practices, the DevOps transformation journey will never end.

But your DevOps journey should be focused less on the journey and more on the process. It isn’t about “getting there,” it’s about getting there the right way.

Have a clear plan for how you will measure success and determine when DevOps is "done." Continuously assess your progress and make course corrections as needed.

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Solution (Resilience): Embrace the new normal. DevOps is a process. Set realistic goals and expectations, and prepare to make constant course corrections. Create solid reporting capabilities and communication flow. DevOps is never done, but with the right tools and techniques, your organization can achieve continuous DevOps success.


7. Working With Outdated Maturity Models

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Are you still measuring maturity rather than success?

Many organizations use outdated maturity models to measure their DevOps progress. These models are no longer accurate or relevant in a DevOps world.

It's important to find new ways to measure your DevOps progress and determine when you’ve met your organizational goals. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for DevOps.

Solution (Resilience): Update your maturity model to focus on continuous improvement over time. DevOps is a constantly evolving process; your organization must continuously and conscientiously work toward its goals. Use DevOps principles to create metrics relevant to your organization and its improvement.


 8. Measuring the Business Value of DevOps

How do you measure success? DevOps can provide many benefits to a business, such as increased agility, improved reliability, and faster time to production. But it can be difficult to quantify these benefits in concrete terms.

Develop effective ways to measure the business value of DevOps and its success. Look at what your organization hopes to achieve with DevOps and assess how it can monitor its success. As an example, many organizations use Value Stream Mapping and DORA metrics to identify and measure business value.

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Solution (Innovation): In a perfect world, organizations measure DevOps by the value it provides. Agility, reliability, efficiency, and time to market, are all metrics organizations can use to track progress and determine success. The true value of DevOps may not always be easy to quantify, but it will be present in all aspects of the organizational flow.


Prepare for Your DevOps Transformation Journey

The DevOps transformation can be a daunting task, but it's worth it for the benefits that it brings. By considering the challenges listed above, you better prepare for the transformation journey ahead. A true DevOps transformation doesn't just take time — it permanently changes how an organization interacts and does business.

Are you ready to embark on your DevOps transformation journey? Copado can help. We provide the tools and technologies you need to support core DevOps values such as collaboration, automation, and continuous delivery/integration.