There are countless ways to implement DevOps automation that can improve your company’s operations. But the hard truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to automation. Beyond understanding your process requirements, you still need to create an implementation strategy to ensure your automation plans will benefit your organization. At a minimum, your journey into DevOps automation should include the following steps:
Get buy-in from the top
No implementation can be successful without full support of the entire operations team – and beyond. Be prepared to discuss the details of your DevOps automation initiative with your team, your managers, and key decision makers in other departments. Know you goals and outline the positive impact automation will have on operations and the business as a whole. It may be important to establish some before and after metrics so keep this in mind as you develop your strategy and next steps.
Develop an implementation strategy
You won’t be able to get 100% of your operations automated in one fell swoop. While some processes are chugging along in your new DevOps systems, legacy systems and manual processes will still manage others. It’s important to have an implementation strategy in place that outlines a) the order apps will be transitioned, b) how old apps will work in parallel with new, and c) the process for transitioning apps into the new automated system.
Test, test, and test again
No matter how solid your plan of attack, you aren’t going to know what works and what doesn’t until you put it into action. It’s crucial to automate your apps from development to test – multiple times – before moving anything into full production. Going through a thorough testing process will ensure you fully understand your automation process, from what requirements need to be met and which people and groups are involved to the actual benefits delivered by the process. Be sure to leverage the tools that were used successfully as part of the testing process.
Look at the big picture
It can be easy to focus your automation implementation on your Dev and integration environments and forget about incorporating the entire delivery path. QA, Stage, Pre-PROD, and PROD need to be considered in order to achieve full automation success. It’s equally important to consider departments outside of operations and how automation will affect their business processes. If you become too laser focused in your automation strategy, you won’t be able to reap the full benefits automation can offer to your entire organization. It can also be important to quantify those benefits to build upon successful automations and further expand within the entire organization.
Enlist 3rd party partners
To help you see the bigger picture, we recommend enlisting the help of a team outside of the existing operations and Dev teams. This can be accomplished by working with another team within your organization or by partnering with a 3rd party vendor or service provider. In either case, a 3rd party perspective will help you hone your strategy, ask the tough questions, and ensure your implementation process is efficient and effective.
Automation is not a one and done task you can check off your to do list. It is important to continually audit your existing infrastructure, identify key opportunities for new or improved automation practices, and provide ongoing support in order to continue to have the most optimized frameworks and strengthen service delivery.
Taking your company through the above steps should help your DevOps implementation stay on track and help you understand how automation will impact your business.