How to embed DevOps best practice

September 10, 2019

Having covered how to scale DevOps successfully within your organisation, in the latest of our series of DevOps tips, we take a look at embedding best practice. We reveal how culture and team structure play a significant role in the successful deployment of your DevOps business model. In our experience, DevOps best practice begins from strong foundations. The starting point for these foundations is your DevOps processes. 

Create scalable and flexible processes

With a solid approach to tooling, architecture, automation and testing, you set the best practice standard from which your teams will develop and build. Think here about scalable and flexible build processes which can be adopted by multiple teams. This will improve the agility with which you can release new code whilst ensuring there is overarching consistency between teams, without compromising the quality of the core elements of your platform.  

Instil a DevOps culture 

So, work with your teams to define the type of development culture and brand they want to establish. This way of working should then be consistently rolled out and adhered to across all your teams. 

Develop the DevOps team 

Rather than simply parachuting an engineer into your dev team to meet a specific need, think about how you can evolve the structure of your team to meet future business needs. Perhaps a DevOps team which is focussed on the creation of tools to improve, empower and speed up delivery teams is a better option.  It shouldn’t become another operations team, nor should it work for the dev teams. 

This team should provide quality tools that convince development teams to follow best practice by automating and simplifying the deployment process. In this sense, a DevOps team should provide the guardrails and not gates. Allowing your development teams to do what they need to do, whilst using Operations guidance to remain on track.

As DevOps capabilities mature within this team, the role of the DevOps engineer will reduce – but this isn’t a bad thing. It will allow them to fulfil more of an advisory role, supporting multiple teams and ensuring best practice is followed. 

Establish what best practice looks like for you

To help your DevOps practice scale, engage with your teams to get them to define what they think a DevOps practice looks like when it is poor, good or great. This gets the team on the same page, allowing them to compare where they all think they are on the journey towards practising DevOps at scale. 

‘Poor’ might be represented by lots of manual steps in deployments and manual testing.  Whilst ‘good’ might be fully automated deployments but with a manual trigger, for example. And ‘great’ could be fully automated and automatically triggered deployments on a successful pass of the automated tests.

The importance of culture and team structure shouldn’t be underestimated. Both have a significant impact on the successful deployment of your DevOps business model. So, think about processes, but major on developing your DevOps team structure and culture. Then live and breathe it. 

In our next article, we’ll take a look at the importance of reporting on DevOps return on investment (ROI) and the buy-in this can achieve. 

In the meantime, to read our tips on how to achieve successful DevOps at scale, click here

6point6 has a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping organisations to develop, embed and scale their DevOps capabilities.

Get in touch if you’d like to chat to us.

Mark Debney
Director, DevOps