I have already explained and defined ‘DevOps’ as the culture, movement or practice that ensures the collaboration and harmony between software developers and other IT professionals leading to more automation and assuring the better quality of codes which run with minimum errors. (Read the Part 1 at Meet the new player: DevOps)
However, bringing about such a revolutionary change in the workplace is not easy. DevOps is faced with numerous challenges which it has to overcome before it becomes the new work culture of the era. Listed below are some of these fundamental problems and challenges which need to be dealt when trying to implement ‘Devops’ in an organization:
During the implementation of DevOps, the area which undergoes maximum transformation is the workplace culture. This is also one of the most difficult areas of transformation. The culture of the place slowly becomes ingrained in the workers and employees.
Changing culture is a long-term process that requires a lot of patience and endurance. The enterprise should aim to build a collaborative culture. The leaders should try to maintain a transparent and positive air in the workplace. Employees who are pro-DevOps should try and convince their co-workers of the benefits of this culture.
Knitting the Silos Together
DevOps is aimed at bringing together all the silos and sectors within the company to work together towards shared objectives. Handover of projects between teams unnecessarily raises the cost of production and are a source of delay. The ‘development’ and ‘operations’ teams may have goals that counter each other. The development sector is always on the lookout for new ideas and reformations. The operations team, on the other hand, try to provide the best service in the already existing systems.
Breaking of silos and integrating teams is the basic obstacle that any company needs to overcome to adopt DevOps practices. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes in enterprises, to bring about such changes, the entire staff needs to be restructured. The shared services and reports need to be modified along with several other changes.
Giving up Legacy Systems
Everyone needs to change and mould with time. The older infrastructure and applications that have served the company for years cannot be used forever. Trying to thrive on legacy infrastructure will seldom give you the desired outcomes and leave you handicapped. To keep its position secure in the rat-race to success, every company needs to be up to date with the latest technology and software.
The companies and enterprises should update their existing hardware and software systems. Ancient systems which are far behind their time should be replaced. Installing new systems to fit in and co-exist with the already existing systems can prove to be a challenge.
While adopting the practices of DevOps, one is really tempted by the numerous tools available. They slowly become dependent on these tools to solve even the smallest of their problems. Due to their new and attractive features, organizations often make the mistake of choosing tools with short-term use rather than long-term benefits. Tools become the centre of the life force of the companies.
Some of these tools are open-source, or SaaS based and the user can get started with the application after a quick trial. These tools can be easily adopted without any supervision from the authorities. This is not always healthy for the company. Hence, the teams should be given a library of tools from which they can choose their preferred tool. This will keep the leaders informed of the activities of their employees and also keep the team satisfied.
On account of having different goals and working systems, the Dev and Ops departments have different toolsets and metrics. While collaborating the two teams, this can prove to be confusing and inefficient. Hence, it is necessary for the two departments to sit together and integrate their tools and work ethics. They should agree upon a uniform metric system.
Resistance to Change
Many workers in the companies will be unwilling to part with the legacy systems. They become used to their way of working and are unwilling to leave their comfort zones. Many employees may prefer working in silos and may not want to integrate with other teams. This can lead to internal disturbance within the company.
So, do we bend down to such elements and give up on reforming the organization? Absolutely not! Refusing to grow and adapt to the changing times will make the company technologically inferior and slow down the progress rate. It is better to bear the discomfort of change rather than falling behind in the competition.
For those workers who prefer to live by the rules and blindly follow the guidelines, DevOps can prove to challenging. In this system, there is no fixed framework which dictates to the employees how they should tackle a project to reach their desired goal. The teams are free to decide upon their own course of action without a structured approach. There is no central DevOps team which chooses the right tools and systems to be used by the individuals and teams.
While such a system empowers the employees and provides more scope for innovation and responsibility, it can also prove to be very challenging. Developing an app has many levels which are managed by different teams. When each of these teams working on the same app has different methods of approach and work ethics, there may be confusion and disputes.
Change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle, and glorious in the end. In this modern era if a company fails at constant innovation and creativity, it will sooner or later be replaced by someone better. Thus, the progress and change may seem unwelcome and challenging in the start, but it will surely pay off in the long run.
An ardent fan of reading thought provoking and inspiring materials, Nirav applies his experience of around fourteen years in the IT industry for writing about technologies and their successful application in the daily life.