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Agile and DevOps: It’s All About Culture

April 23, 2018

Agile is the next wave of development and operations (DevOps). Today, many DevOps teams are using agile methodologies to deploy continuous delivery (CD) processes and systems. And with an agile culture in place, DevOps teams can adapt and evolve at a moment’s notice.

An agile approach to DevOps focuses on four values from the “Agile Manifesto.” These are:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. DevOps team members must prioritize teamwork and engagement – not processes and tools – to achieve their desired results.
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation. Change is ongoing, and allocating significant time and resources to document software development and testing is counterproductive. Instead, DevOps team members should focus on quick, accurate logging for optimal software development and testing.
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. What good is software if it fails to meet a customer’s expectations? Agile emphasizes customer interactions, and DevOps teams should engage with a customer, learn about the customer’s software development goals and collaborate with this customer at each stage of the software development cycle.
  4. Responding to change over following a plan. DevOps team members must be ready to identify and correct software development problems when they happen. To do so, DevOps teams frequently use Scrums, Sprints and various DevOps tools to correct problems in real-time – regardless of the resources at their disposal.

A recent survey of DevOps professionals showed enterprise agility is increasing throughout organizations around the world and across virtually all industries. In fact, 94 percent of survey respondents said their organizations are practicing agile, and 98 percent realized benefits from practicing agile. Meanwhile, survey respondents cited the following as the top reasons for practicing agile:

  • Ability to manage changing priorities
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved project visibility

The benefits of agile can be substantial, yet some DevOps teams fail to realize agile’s full potential. In the aforementioned survey, respondents said 60 percent of their organizations’ teams are not yet practicing agile. Additionally, 80 percent indicated their organization was at or below a “still maturing” level regarding agile development practices.

To fully embrace agile, DevOps teams require consistent processes and tools for managing and measuring workflows. Organizations also must provide DevOps teams with tools to drive agile portfolio planning, project management and CD. Otherwise, DevOps teams may fail to realize the full potential of agile. Perhaps worst of all, organizations may miss out on opportunities to empower their DevOps teams with the tools they need to succeed.


Tips for Building a Successful Agile Culture

An agile culture won’t develop across an organization overnight. Comparatively, an organization must take a top-to-bottom approach to ensure all DevOps team members understand the benefits of agile and can incorporate agile methodologies into their day-to-day activities.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you build a successful agile culture:

  1. Foster collaboration and communication. Departmental silos are prevalent in big and small organizations, and they often stifle collaboration and communication. To eliminate silos, it is essential for DevOps team members to maintain regular communication with one another and different departments throughout an organization. By providing DevOps teams member with real-time collaboration and communication tools, team members can maintain constant contact with one another and key organizational stakeholders.
  2. Build a dedicated DevOps team. A dedicated DevOps team can focus exclusively on the development and implementation of agile methodologies. This team can apply agile methodologies to alleviate software development pain points both now and in the future.
  3. Provide cross-functional training. Agile is all about removing obstacles, and with cross-functional training, DevOps team members can learn what it’s like to walk in the shoes of different organizational stakeholders. This training can help DevOps team members understand different business perspectives, and it may enable them to brainstorm unique solutions to a wide range of problems down the line.

An agile culture is a work in progress, but an open, forward-thinking approach to developing this culture can make a world of difference in any organization. If DevOps team members embrace agile, they can devote the necessary time and resources to incorporate agile methodologies into all that they do – something that may help an organization drive continuous improvements.


Take Agile to the Next Level with ChatOps

After a DevOps team implements agile methodologies, it may want to check out ChatOps too. Because if this team leverages ChatOps tools, it could reap the benefits of a streamlined, transparent workflow.

To better understand the importance of ChatOps, let’s consider a real world scenario. If a DevOps team uses a single platform for all of its communications, each team member needs to be logged into this platform to receive notifications. But what will happen if this team’s communication platform suddenly stops working? In this scenario, DevOps team members will be unable to keep one another up to date, and they may be unaware that their organization’s communication platform has stopped working. This could lead to significant problems, including costly, time-intensive project delays that put an organization, its employees and its customers in danger.

ChatOps prevents the aforementioned problem from happening because it links people, bots and tools in an automated and transparent workflow. Plus, ChatOps provides DevOps team members with quick, easy access to a continuous feedback loop. By doing so, ChatOps drives unparalleled collaboration and communication.

DevOps team members can seamlessly integrate ChatOps into their everyday operations as well. ChatOps tools enable DevOps team members to access critical information directly from a chat window within their day-to-day tools or platforms. This means DevOps team members won’t have to worry about connecting to different tools or platforms to stay up to date about team activities. Conversely, ChatOps provides DevOps team members with the ability to quickly and effortlessly communicate with one another from any location, at any time.

There is no shortage of ChatOps tools available to DevOps teams, either. DevOps teams can use ChatOps tools from Slack or HipChat. Various third-party ChatOps tools also are available, and these include StackStorm, Deploybot and Blockspring.


Why Your DevOps Team Needs ChatOps Tools

Agile methodologies are becoming exceedingly important to DevOps teams, yet some teams struggle to optimize the benefits of these methodologies. Thanks to ChatOps, DevOps teams can simplify and enhance communication and collaboration and capitalize on agile like never before.

It generally won’t take long for a DevOps team to integrate ChatOps tools into its everyday operations, and the benefits of these tools can be significant. ChatOps tools empower DevOps team members to work together and achieve common goals. They also help DevOps team members innovate, which may help an organization discover new ways to boost its productivity and efficiency.

As DevOps teams explore agile, they may want to consider ChatOps tools. By incorporating ChatOps tools into their everyday operations, DevOps teams may be better equipped than ever before to realize the full potential of agile methodologies.