You’ve successfully climbed Copado’s first step to DevOps success: Visibility. You look around and see all your processes at work, how value moves through your organization — and where it gets stuck. But achieving visibility alone is like standing atop a plateau. You can see everything for miles. But where do you go from here?
Visibility is essential for understanding the what, when, how, and why of your operations. Temas typically trade off quality to get software delivered on time. But once you have established visibility throughout your organization, you can accelerate development without putting your quality at risk—achieving continuous quality embedded throughout the process that doesn’t impede developer speed.
To achieve resilient DevOps success, begin with a foundation of quality. Quality creates trust and stability for everyone involved, from the developer to the end user. A reliable quality process will ensure that what is being released is both functional and secure.
However, transitioning between DevOps steps involves challenges as well as opportunities. Create a DevOps enablement plan to outline how you’ll use your newfound visibility to improve quality across the three pillars of your organization: people, processes, and technology.
Moving from Visibility to Quality with DevOps Principles
Every organization is different regarding teams, systems, and goals. But elite businesses recognize that these variables are not set in stone. To succeed, they must be resilient and agile in the face of changing needs. DevOps is the response to this challenge for software delivery. It is an organizational engine for people, processes, and technology.
Visibility is the first step in establishing a DevOps engine. Without it, teams are simply guessing as to what is or isn’t working within their process.
Once visibility is achieved, moving to the next step can be overwhelming. Often, teams want to jump in and start automating more of the process—it feels more productive to move faster. But that will ultimately lead to disaster, compounding pre-existing bottlenecks and resulting in poor controls.
Poor quality is the number one risk factor for digital transformation. It’s more expensive and costly to fix things later in the process than earlier, during the coding and development phase. You must focus on quality to build a process for long-term success and increase speed.
Implementing DevOps practices is an iterative process, but there’s still a clear order of operations. An organization cannot achieve quality without visibility — you need critical insights into how the organization works, how information flows, and how the product moves through the pipeline.
Once the organization has achieved sufficient visibility, it can begin to improve its people, processes, and technology.
What Does It Mean to Build DevOps Quality?
Moving into the “quality” stage of DevOps requires a strategic reimagining of how your team will leverage visibility. With this visibility, teams can break the siloed testing phase into a continuous testing process—one that is more than just functional testing, but also includes security and compliance.
Visibility has given your organization the data it needs to improve — but you still need to analyze that data for relevant insights.
The heart of DevOps is breaking down barriers, so data flows between people and teams rather than staying stuck in siloed departments. DevOps visibility also requires collecting information on your development cycle. However, this means that people have a lot more data on their hands, not all of which is strictly relevant to improving quality.
Your organization can organize its data and glean actionable insights to stabilize your digital transformation through a DevOps enablement plan.
Enable People with Bootcamps and Training
People are the driving force behind an organization’s success. But do your employees understand how they fit into the process? Do they understand which metrics they are judged by? Do they have support to learn new tools and workflows?
DevOps principles facilitate communication and collaboration, thereby making it easier for companies to engage in (and reward) creativity and innovation. But additional transparency is frequently needed for people to truly thrive.
Visibility provides vital insights into how team members and departments interact, how data flows, and whether there are potential bottlenecks. It also allows developers to work together simultaneously without getting in each other’s way. Through greater levels of visibility, organizations can then fine-tune the interactions between employees — and create feedback processes that operate like clockwork.
Under DevOps, quality relies on collaboration. Greater visibility will effectively promote communication within all levels of the organization. Bootcamps, training, and seminars can help employees better understand the organization’s expectations.
- Visibility. Understand how your organization’s communication patterns work and get to know individual and team strengths. Assess how data is flowing from one team to the other and whether employees feel free to create and innovate.
- Quality. Identify your organization’s metrics for success in terms of employee performance using revenue-generating or efficiency-based metrics. Develop standards for quality and strategies for improvement. Provide key resources like documentation, training, and boot camps.
Enable Processes with Customer-Focused Metrics
DevOps and the CI/CD process aim for continuous assessment and improvement. To that end, DevOps is never “done.” Once processes are visible, teams improve them. DevOps provides a framework for how the business develops, maintains, and delivers software to end users.
When transitioning from the visibility to the quality stage, an organization must define quality first. Some quality strategies track “quality in use” metrics — the product quality from the customer’s perspective. Every user expects both a functional and secure product; thus, quality must be defined to include both functionality and security.
Setting a baseline with quality metrics is essential for understanding whether the changes you’ve made to your processes are positively impacting the quality.
But this isn’t the only important metric. An organization may also gather significant insights into internal operations through tools such as Flow metrics.
- Visibility. Expose processes on a granular level, revealing every stage of the process flow. Use a combination of automated reporting, dashboards, and frameworks to identify potential bottlenecks within your processes.
- Quality. Use process management techniques to fine-tune your organization’s processes, filling in gaps and eliminating redundancies. Where bottlenecks and weaknesses are identified, create game plans for optimization.
Increase Access to Technology through Low-Code/No-Code
As enterprises move from DevOps visibility to DevOps quality, the DevOps enablement plan must also expand access to the necessary technology. In traditional development workflows, technology is siloed alongside information.
Low-code/no-code environments accelerate DevOps quality by empowering more employees to participate in the development process. With greater access to technology, employees take ownership over product quality and look toward creativity, innovation, and improvement. It also allows you to bring people with in-depth business knowledge into the development and testing process.
Technology and communication work together to improve product quality. With both, an organization can build an infrastructure that involves continuous feedback and constant improvement — an infrastructure through which changes and commits can flow through quickly while still maintaining quality.
- Visibility. Empower employees to interact with and take ownership over technology by giving them access to the information and processes that drive the technology stack. Create quality gates and automated testing to report the quality of product commits.
- Quality. Use the quality gates and automated testing processes to further speed up and improve upon the quality of your DevOps strategy. Identify common issues within the technology stack and resolve them through more rigorous testing and quality assurance standards.
Create Your DevOps Enablement Plan Today
Your people, processes, and technology aren’t potential vulnerabilities you need to protect — they’re resources to engage. By enabling these three pillars to improve and succeed, you can move on to the next stage of your DevOps strategy.
If you have been following the DevOps steps, you should have a solid foundation to build product quality. However, if you still lack visibility, you won’t have the information you need to improve quality. Organizations frequently find themselves where they have more visibility into some areas than others. That’s why implementing DevOps is not a one-size-fits-all process.