DevOps is a new trend becoming popular among information technology professionals.
It is a method in software development that emphasizes the need for communication, integration, collaboration, automation, and the measurement of cooperative efforts among software developers and IT professionals.
It is also making waves in the business of IT consulting.
Overview of DevOps
The idea of DevOps is relatively new, started by a group of like-minded IT professionals in 2009 in Belgium. It used to be more popularly known as “DevOps Days” in reference to the conferences conducted on the subject. For brevity’s sake and hashtag viability, the term was shortened to DevOps.
What DevOps aims to accomplish is enhanced efficiency within software development. It intends to help organizations more quickly produce software products and services, in addition to boosting operations performance.
DevOps enables cross-departmental integration with IT operations, connecting functions that have been traditionally separated. It connects software engineering (development), quality assurance or analysis, and technology operations. Moreover, DevOps covers the entire delivery pipeline, rather than limiting itself to a subset of functions or development stages.
DevOps most notably creates palpable improvements when it comes to product (software) delivery, feature development, quality analysis, and maintenance releases, all of which contribute to improvements in the reliability, security, and deployment cycles of the software products being developed.
In terms of software release management, DevOps also creates benefits by standardizing the development environments.
Finally, it provides developers with greater control over the development environment by establishing a more application-centered understanding.
A change in perspective
Your IT consulting professionals are typically the same people who make up the groups collectively referred to as “DevOps teams.”
These include software engineers, system engineers, system administrators, operations engineers, infrastructure engineers, software developers, operations managers, IT managers, software architects, project managers, web developers, security engineers, QA engineers, platform engineers, security managers, and backend developers.
Accordingly, there are easily noticeable changes in IT consulting that can be attributed to DevOps.
For this discussion, DevOps professionals and IT consultants can be taken to mean the same information technology specialists who provide IT services that benefit businesses. However, the whole point of DevOps is to veer away from the traditions of typical IT consulting.
DevOps has key differences from traditional IT consulting. Members of DevOps teams work as one integrated unit, rather than separately performing individual functions. Instead of focusing on “getting my job done”, every member of the team is focused on getting the project ready for deployment.
The perspective change from “my job” to “our project” can result in massive benefits for the business.
Impact of DevOps on IT consulting
The benefits of DevOps can be summarized as follows:
- Pay (revenue) differences
- Team empowerment
- Tractability in deployment and maintenance
- Enhanced end product reliability
- Speedier time-to-market
- Greater efficiency
1. Pay (Revenue) Differences
For the most part, DevOps has allowed IT professionals to earn better. Figures gathered in this 2015 DevOps survey look rather bright for IT professionals thinking of hopping on the DevOps bandwagon.
Most DevOps professionals tend to earn better in comparison to the prevailing salaries surveyed by Payscale. DevOps system administrators, for example, earn a median salary of $86,000 compared to the $58,897 average of traditional sysadmins.
DevOps web developers and security engineers also have a higher median pay,
The median salary for all surveyed DevOps professionals is $105,600.
2. Team empowerment
Another excellent benefit of the DevOps movement is the empowerment of the different IT professionals who work together on a project.
This is mostly due to the idea that all members in a DevOps team are allowed to offer input and across all areas of the project.
Members are empowered to take ownership of the entire project, rather than being limited to a single set of tasks.
3. Deployment and maintenance tractability
Tractability means the ease with which individuals allow themselves to be managed – how receptive they are to influence and suggestion.
Team tractability is a highly coveted benefit enable by DevOps’ cross-disciplinary approach.
Sysadmins and developers are no longer able to engage in the notorious blame game, where developers accuse sysadmins of creating an unreliable platform, and sysadmins complain that code from the developers is unreliable.
With everyone working together at each stage of the process, problems can be solved by the team as they arise.
4. Better reliability
Because of the emphasis on communication, collaboration, integration, and automation, it is only logical to expect a better end product from the work done under the DevOps approach.
As highlighted in point #3, since the entire team is working together throughout the development process, the vast majority of problems will be identified and solved by various branches of the team well before launch.
5. Faster time to market
There are convincing claims that DevOps results in faster time to market and continual improvement. The ratio, reportedly, could be at the vicinity of 1:30 (non-DevOps vs DevOps) in terms of deployment.
This is because DevOps makes it easier to go from “idea” stage to a working software at the initial project development stage. This benefit allows developers to experiment on what can be done with the project and to continuously introduce incremental improvements.
6. Greater Efficiency
Enhanced efficiency is perhaps the major advantage of DevOps. It makes almost everything faster and leads to less resource wastage.
This improved efficiency, in particular, can be observed in how companies no longer have to assign greater priority to stabilizing new features. In a DevOps setup, there is one team that takes responsibility for ensuring stability while creating new features.
The team is able to do this efficiently because of the advantages afforded by a shared code base, test-driven techniques, continuous integration, automated deployments, and smaller change sets.
Is DevOps the future of IT consulting?
It’s still early to claim that DevOps is the revolution needed in the IT consulting world. However, it is doubtlessly a promising approach businesses should consider adopting.
While some critics see it as a ploy by northern European sysadmins to establish prominence in their field, at the end of the day, a development approach centered around cooperation and communication is the type of idea that solves longstanding problems in the software and IT consulting industries.
Whether you want to adopt the “brand name” or not, when working on a given project, increasing communication and cooperation across all departments involved is, in my opinion, ALWAYS a good idea.