In a world where customer expectations change faster than ever, businesses need to adapt their processes and act accordingly. That's why they need to rely on certain technology enablers, practices, and methodologies to remain afloat and produce competitive solutions.
To achieve these objectives, it is worth ingesting a DevOps approach instead of outdated programming techniques. It enables companies to rethink the way they develop software, reduce time gaps between business requirements and their implementation, and focus on a couple of cultural changes within an organization.
But what is DevOps? How does it provide better value to customers and improve software development services? In this article, we are going to shed light on these questions and uncover the DevOps benefits for startups from various perspectives.
What Is DevOps?
DevOps is a software engineering practice bringing together software development and operations. It refers to an amalgamation of technical and cultural approaches to software development, which aims to break organizational silos between isolated IT departments. Numerous organizations turn to third parties for DevOps services if they're missing such roles in-house.
On the one hand, it helps to establish a culture of cooperation and collaboration among all participants of the development process. On the other hand, it promotes the adoption of new practices, automation, and evolving tools that speed up iterations and let companies innovate.
DevOps Key Principles
To be successful, such an approach should rest on the key principles of DevOps:
- Automation, which aims to reduce the number of manual manipulations;
- Collaboration, which helps the team merge and operate as a cohesive whole;
- Continuous Improvement and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), which establishes an ongoing flow of enhancements;
- Focus on end-user needs, which aims to access the most recent insights about target audiences;
- Solving real pain points as a way to avoid redundant or unnecessary features.
Rather than spending 5-7 months creating a product or service that may be outdated by the time it is deployed, a company using a DevOps approach could release the first iteration during the first sprint. Want to learn more about DevOps benefits? Keep reading!
Benefits of DevOps for Startups
DevOps advantages are limitless. Let's take a closer look at a few notable ones.
Opting for a DevOps approach can do wonders on how the teams collaborate through the entire project lifecycle from the discovery phase to post-launch maintenance. Rather than focusing on isolated DevOps tasks, development and operational teams have transparent workflows that are aligned with shared goals. As a result, all the participants of the software delivery process are aware of how their actions affect the overall performance of the team.
Does that seem like a change of traditional development mindset? Yes, one of the primary DevOps benefits for business is its ability to break functional silos, which is the reason why many development teams fail to deliver on time or report software quality issues. Instead, businesses can foster a culture of transparency and shared responsibility, which removes barriers between teams and boosts alignment.
Thanks to DevOps automation and efficient CI/CD pipelines, developers can create, test, and deploy new functionality without interruptions. Further, with automated test and review cycles, app features can be built and tested without manual labor.
Developers can get quick user feedback and act accordingly by changing the code base more quickly. This is crucial when you build an MVP and leads to releasing smaller updates of the software while delivering new features to end-users faster. Consequently, all critical issues can be resolved faster than the software reaches consumers.
Enhanced Brand Loyalty
Customers are less likely to abandon a service that responds to their needs and demands. Their eyes are on personalized offers, tailored promotions, and sleek navigation without wrong turns and any roadblocks. Luckily, one of the crucial DevOps benefits is its ability to facilitate the creation of engaging products, which eliminate cart abandonment and let users stick to a brand.
How does DevOps help to unlock these advantages? Thanks to shorter feedback loops and the potential to fix errors in seconds, brands can respond quickly to suggestions, complaints, and questions. That gives consumers no time to switch to competitors as they are satisfied with the service.
Ease of Innovation
As DevOps amalgamates all aspects of software development, businesses can deliver new and innovative products faster than competitors. So, when something goes wrong, no one can point fingers at each other and blame another party for the situation. Instead, all sides work together to resolve the problem and release a bug-free solution as soon as possible.
Besides, DevOps implementation removes complexity from the workflow, and lets specialists review smaller chunks of code without time wastes. As a result, it eliminates the need to spend extra time maintaining the system, because you can find bugs faster and fix them quicker than before. Such a workflow provides the speed and agility to respond to fluctuating market requirements.
Through improved collaboration, CEOs can cut down the management and production costs of all software development departments, because bug fixes, maintenance efforts, and new updates are brought together. Furthermore, it allows for making accurate project estimations. This convergence also helps to avoid costly legacy tools and systems and opt for more lightweight and efficient configuration options.
Technical Benefits of DevOps
Apart from holding significant business value, DevOps brings some important technical centers of excellence to the table. With them, a business organization can proliferate in the competitive market and become more efficient in delivering the right features at the right time. Here are some of the core DevOps benefits for business, its IT infrastructure, and code maintenance.
Continuous and Automated Testing
With DevOps for startups, it is possible to minimize the risk of an unnoticed bug going to the new version of the software. The automated QA testing process covers the entire development cycle and involves different types of tests at each stage.
Suitable Programming Infrastructure
Companies transitioning to DevOps practices and principles can leverage a codified production-like environment written in one of the high-level languages. Called Infrastructure-as-a-code, this approach lets developers pack all their activities in a dynamic ecosystem and access them whenever necessary. This eliminates the need for manual configurations and reduces development time.
Improved App Performance
DevOps can foster a culture of collaboration and build tight-knit teams with coherent goals and vision. How does that affect the performance of the deliverables? At its core, the DevOps approach focuses on measuring the following metrics:
- mean-time-to-recovery (MTTR);
- lead time for changes;
- change failure rate;
- deployment frequency.
With these metrics, DevOps teams estimate application performance and obtain valuable insights early. As a result, it is possible to figure out how the team is progressing with the work and adjust the development workflow accordingly.
Challenges of DevOps for Business
By this time, you've probably figured that a DevOps transformation is not a process you'd implement overnight. It requires an overhaul of business processes and infrastructure and a revision of the company's collaboration culture. Luckily, it's worth the effort since there are proven ways to overcome each bottleneck. Let's review a couple of challenges that you'd typically encounter when dealing with DevOps implementation.
Outdated infrastructure can hardly help in adopting the DevOps approach. It should be updated with newer technology or replaced with a new system to be efficient and competitive.
One way to achieve that is to go with a modern web app architecture such as microservices, which opens more doors for faster deployment and delivery of innovative products.
When teams transition to DevOps, too many novelties can add extra complexity to the established workflow. Besides, some stakeholders can find it difficult to grasp new concepts and their possible effect on the company's revenue and budget.
How to solve that issue? Surely, DevOps adoption is a long-term process that requires a step-by-step roadmap with clear guidelines. You should try incorporating gradual changes and let every participant get familiar with the concept. It should have an accumulated effect, which keeps snowballing until all individuals are on the same page.
Too Many Tools
It might get confusing to navigate through mountains of startup tools, which serve different purposes and address different application domains. The major obstacle is to figure out how to integrate all of them to work collaboratively, continuously, and efficiently.
The best practice is to ensure that every team member can follow new processes or use new tools. For that, it is important to arrange a consistent training process that will embrace every team member. The key is to create an embracing-all organizational structure of tools, systems, and technologies that will be adopted by the team.
Diversity of Metrics
Companies moving from a traditional development approach to DevOps can stumble upon collecting basic information about their processes. Some of them get down to collecting all sorts of data but fail to determine valuable metrics to be acted upon.
Here's how to deal with this issue:
- collect only relevant product performance metrics that have value for your teams;
- agree on a set of actions to improve those metrics.
Best Practices of DevOps Implementation
As companies are working hard to find a way of overcoming the above challenges, they should also concentrate on how to yield the best results with DevOps for startups. Adhering to established practices, business owners can jump-start with their DevOps strategy from the first attempt. Let's review the things that form a perfect playground for this initiative.
The whole idea of DevOps resides on Agile's core principles as this project management strategy values collaboration, deployment frequency, and end-user demands put to the fore. Sharing much in common, Agile and DevOps create a synergy that helps organizations to embrace change more easily.
Thus, it is necessary to adopt the Agile mindset in the first place, and then start adopting the basics of DevOps. With that practice, it will be easier to experiment with cultural and operational changes within a development team and then extend them to the ops staff.
Adopt CI/CD Best Practices
DevOps teams need to come up with a unified approach to Continuous Integration and Delivery efforts:
- maintain a central code repository;
- control the source code;
- use common versioning systems;
- "shift left" by bringing testing as early as possible;
- ingest automation into the build and test process;
- include unit tests in the automated build process;
- trigger each build after every software component commit;
- submit instant feedback on the quality of produced deliverables and make it available to every team member.
Encourage Collaboration Across Departments
When introducing DevOps to your organization, the change affects the entire web development team including engineers. It is necessary to create a new environment that promotes a sense of trust and transparency between development and operations teams. A well-structured DevOps implementation roadmap should also leave room for fostering empathy across different departments.
To succeed with these goals, company leaders need to choose the right tools for improving communication and collaboration. A shared source of data and version control can provide objective data and eliminate guesswork while making it easier to detect a root cause. The toolset may include project and change management software, problem tracking tools, and collaboration platforms.
Focus on Observability
As companies move away from monolithic applications to microservices-based solutions, it is getting harder to launch a continuous monitoring process. However, with DevOps for business, you can dedicate more effort to this issue and establish an efficient workflow.
To ensure that the software or web application works as intended, you should aggregate all sources of information about its performance. Use the best practices of observability that embrace ongoing collection and analysis of metrics, logs, and traces associated with the developed software. These data points can serve as a base for diagnostics purposes because they help to identify unknown causes, symptoms, or unexpected lags.
The Future of DevOps
DevOps is an innovative approach for many organizations since it enables the delivery of high-quality user-centered software solutions with cutting-edge functionality. Moreover, the field of IT operations is constantly evolving and maturing, generating new practices and web development trends. It is no wonder that IT leaders watch them closely and explore the ways to adopt them in their organizations.
Let's have a quick look at the most promising DevOps trends for the coming years.
More Focus on Security
Did you know that a business is subject to ransomware attacks every 14 seconds in 2022? With security remaining a top priority, DevOps provides an answer to this alarming issue. A new notion of DevSecOps appeared to integrate security into operations and development processes. It is gradually becoming available by default as the popularity of less protected open-source software continues to surge.
The Merge of AI and DevOps
DevOps teams are likely to increase the adoption and use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to predict outcomes, automate processes, and improve work. As the volume of data flows shows no signs of slowing down, AI can become a secret weapon of businesses willing to get ahead of the curve.
The Shift to AgileOps
Rather than diversifying their peculiarities, Agile and DevOps approaches are expected to create a synergy. Once united, the two techniques can improve business agility and respond to changes in customer preferences more easily. On the other hand, it paves the way for faster delivery of high-performing and stable applications and systems.
Software development is an ever-changing field that welcomes innovative approaches and practices every now and then. That is why companies need to prepare to fine-tune their policies and remain flexible with trying new methodologies. In this way, the importance of DevOps cannot be doubted. It can become a solid base for experimenting, adjusting to new trends, and staying competitive in the long run.
Now that you know why use DevOps for startups instead of outdated practices, you can use it as a ground for delivering business value to customers and improving outcomes. But take time to navigate the challenges we've mentioned above and adopt the best practices of DevOps implementation. That will help to avoid common roadblocks and save time on the way to the company's transformation. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your ideas, we'll be glad to provide you with professional services for your growth-stage startup, and we use sprint-based pricing too.