DevOps Best Practices
DevOps requires cultural changes, automated processes, and investment in the right technologies
DevOps best practices include agile project management, “Shift Left” approach with CI / CD, automation, monitoring, observability, and continuous feedback.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is best understood as a business drive to improve communication and collaboration between development and operations teams to increase the speed and quality of software implementation. It’s a new way of working that has a profound impact on the teams and organizations they work for.
The importance of DevOps
A transformation to DevOps requires a review of business structures and processes, but the effort is worth it. In our 2020 DevOps Trends Survey, 99% of respondents stated that DevOps had a positive impact on their organization.
Another study on DevOps, the 2019 DevOps Status Report by DORA, revealed that elite professionals publish 208 times faster and 106 times faster than underperforming teams. Plus, it’s not just about speed to market – DevOps delivers improved quality and results in elite teams having a seven times lower change failure rate compared to underperforming teams.
Best practices for implementing DevOps
Agile project management
Agile methodology is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to clients faster and with less hassle. Agile teams focus on delivering work in small increments rather than waiting for a bulk release date. Requirements, plans, and results are continually evaluated, allowing teams to respond to feedback and change course as needed.
Here are the basic concepts for agile project management:
- You start with a workflow that includes four phases: Pending, In Progress, Code Review, and Completed. Learn more about workflows.
- Teams must divide large-scale projects into smaller tasks and respond to changes in needs or scope as they progress. Learn more about how to use epics, stories, and themes to scope and structure your work.
- How do you plan, monitor and measure work in increments? Scrum and kanban are basic frameworks for teams applying agile methodology.
“Shift Left” approach with CI / CD
When teams take the “Shift Left” approach, they introduce testing early in the code development process. Rather than submitting multiple changes to a separate QA or test team, multiple tests are performed throughout the programming process so developers can fix bugs or improve code quality while working on the appropriate section. of the base code. Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI / CD) practice and implementation support the ability to move to the “Shift Left” approach. Learn more about CI / CD.
Use the right tools
A DevOps toolchain requires the right tools for each phase of the DevOps lifecycle, with key capabilities to improve software quality and speed of delivery. Learn more about choosing your DevOps tools and review the features for each phase of the DevOps lifecycle.
Continuous integration and delivery allow developers to regularly merge code in the main repository. Rather than manually checking the code, CI / CD automates this process, from batching at a specific interval to frequent commits. In addition to CI / CD practice, automated testing is essential to the success of DevOps practices. Automated tests can include comprehensive tests, unit tests, integration tests, and performance tests. Learn more about how to incorporate automation into your software development processes. More information on automation.
Monitor your DevOps pipeline and applications
It’s important to monitor your DevOps pipeline so that a faulty build or failed test doesn’t cause unnecessary delays. Automation greatly improves development speed, but if there is a glitch in an automated process and no one knows about it, it is better to do the work manually. Along the same lines, it is important to monitor applications in production to identify failures or deficiencies in performance before they are reported by customers.
As companies in the industry have moved from monolithic, on-premises systems and applications to cloud-native applications based on microservices, monitoring has become considerably more complex. This has led to a growing interest in observability. It is often said that the three pillars of observability are logs, traces, and metrics. Logs are generated by most system components and applications, and consist of time series data about the operation of the system or application. Traces trace the flow of application logic. Metrics include CPU / RAM usage or reservation, disk space, network connectivity, and much more. Observability is nothing more than relying on the set of these three sources of information to detect and predict the operation of a complex system, which would otherwise be very difficult to achieve. Learn more about observability.
Collect continuous feedback
Ongoing feedback ensures that team members have all the information they need to do their jobs in a timely manner. From a development point of view, this means that the team receives an immediate alert of any failure in the pipeline. It also means that developers get clear and comprehensive code test results as quickly as possible. From a product management standpoint, the team is informed of any production failure, performance deficiency, or reported error. There used to be a widespread belief that a development team could only optimize for speed or quality. Continuous feedback is one of the elements of DevOps that allows you to optimize both aspects.
Change the culture
DevOps requires collaboration, transparency, trust, and empathy. If your organization is one of the few that already has these qualities, embracing DevOps practices should be relatively easy for teams. If not, an effort will have to be made to develop these qualities. The most common organizational structures are isolated, which means that different teams have separate areas of ownership and responsibility, and that communication or collaboration between teams is minimal. To be successful with DevOps, these barriers must be removed by adopting the “you create it, you manage it” practice. This does not mean that there are no specialized people or teams, but that the lines of communication and collaboration between the teams are open and used. Learn more about creating your team culture.
Perfecting DevOps practices is an ongoing process. Focus on people and processes as you begin your transformation to DevOps, incorporating advanced tools, integrations, and features as your team progresses.