7 tips to make DevOps a reality for your organization

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When undergoing a digital transformation, adopting DevOps has demonstrable benefits for businesses, according to a recent survey from Google Cloud and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. Two-third of companies that use DevOps have seen benefits impacting their bottom line, including increased speed to market (70%), productivity (67%), customer relevance (67%), innovation (66%), and product/service quality (64%).

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Despite the benefits, actually implementing DevOps can be a major challenge, according to a Thursday blog post from Melody Meckfessel, vice president of engineering at Google Cloud.

SEE: IT leader's guide to making DevOps work (Tech Pro Research)

Here are seven tips from Google that the cloud team learned from its own journey toward embracing DevOps practices:

1. Pilot a small project

A pilot project offers a low-stakes chance to master key DevOps capabilities, including building small, diverse teams with shared goals, the post noted. "A few small wins will provide evidence to the rest of organization that DevOps works," Meckfessel wrote in the post. "Soon others will want to follow suit."

2. Be an open source player

Taking advantage of open source tools, engaging in that community will help keep you up to date on the best solutions and practices, and attract top talent, the post said.

3. Embed security within the software development process

Addressing potential security issues as quickly as possible will avoid pushing them out into production, the post said. More than half of survey respondents said they look for holistic approaches to improve security while automating the DevOps toolchain.

4. Apply DevOps best practices

Best practices like Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) principles and end-to-end automation enable higher productivity and allow employees to focus on other tasks.

5. Provide immersive training

Employees will only commit to organizational change when they understand it, and are given the resources and opportunities to put the new technology to work, the post said. Three-quarters of the top-performing DevOps teams surveyed said they provide immersive, hands-on DevOps coaching and training, including code labs and projects.

6. Establish a no-blame policy

Run post-mortem meetings that don't place blame on any individual or team, to build an environment of trust and learn from those errors, the post said.

"Defects and coding errors happen when building software," Meckfessel wrote. "By presenting mistakes as opportunities, you enable people to relate to one another and solve problems together, while ensuring that the same mistake won't happen again. That's how the DevOps model can evolve faster."

7. Build a culture that supports DevOps

The rest of these tips are worthless without a culture that supports DevOps, the post said. This means making data-driven decisions, improving transparency, and creating shared goals.

"When people feel like they have each other's backs, they're more likely to take smart risks; more likely to create; more likely to move faster," Meckfessel wrote.

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