By Gene Kim
DevOps typically refers to an emerging professional movement that advocates a collaborative working relationship between development and IT operations teams to accelerate the delivery of quality software.
To better understand the difference in performance levels and habits in IT organizations, Jez Humble and I helped create the Puppet Labs DevOps Survey Of Practice and were able to benchmark over 14,000 organizations.
We found that high performing organizations that adopted DevOps principles and patterns massively out-perform their peers – achieving 30x more frequent deployments of new software, with 2x higher success rates and fixing issues 12x faster when something went wrong. In fact they are 2x more likely to exceed profitability, market share and profitability goals, with 50 percent higher market cap growth over three years.
Despite this overwhelming success, a major misconception persists that “DevOps is only for the unicorns, and isn’t for the enterprise.” In other words, that DevOps somehow isn’t applicable to large, complex organizations in financial services, retail, telco, etc. We recently set out to dispel this myth at the 2014 DevOps Enterprise Summit.
At the summit, we heard over 50 leaders share their stories of DevOps-based transformations from organizations such as Disney, Nordstrom, CSG, Target, Blackboard, Raytheon, and the US Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services — large, complex organizations that have been operating for decades and, in some cases, over a century. In my opinion, the stories they told are just as innovative as any you’d hear from Google, Amazon, Twitter or Etsy.
In each of the stories, leaders concluded that how they traditionally managed technology was not sufficient and saw DevOps as the way to win in the marketplace. Among the primary motivations to drive DevOps in their organizations was “optimizing for speed, instead of optimizing for cost,” as described by Courtney Kissler, VP of E-Commerce and Store Technologies for Nordstrom, as well as increasing developer productivity, as described by Scott Prugh, Chief Architect for CSG, and Heather Mickman, Director of Development, Target, Inc.
Carmen DeArdo, Director of Tools and Technology Leader for Nationwide Insurance, described how Nationwide adopted DevOps to reverse a trend of declining release and service quality. They formed agile teams comprised of various functional owners, including business, development, test and infrastructure to deliver new web and mobile engagement systems, as well as traditional core systems — including their retirement plans system. They created the ability to onboard development groups and leverage shared infrastructure to enable improved levels of integration and automation in software development and delivery. As a result, they were able to reduce defects by 80 percent, increase user availability by 70 percent and improve project due date performance by 90 percent over five years.
At the end of the three-day DevOps Enterprise Summit, I was left with a feeling of absolute certainty that the time for DevOps in the enterprise is now. While there may be challenges spreading DevOps adoption beyond the initial success stories, the high performers will undoubtedly keep accelerating away from the rest of the pack. As Dr. W. Edward Deming famously said, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”
So when is the best time to adopt DevOps in the enterprise? The same as in this following Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
You can see the DevOps Enterprise Summit 2014 presentations videos [link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp73Sm1VraxgJZwiNrk8Efg ] and slides [ link: http://www.slideshare.net/ITRevolution ] online. To get all future announcements, subscribe here [link: http://devopsenterprise.io ]
Gene Kim is a multiple award winning CTO, researcher and author. He was founder and CTO of Tripwire for 13 years. He has written three books, including “The Visible Ops Handbook” and “The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win.”