Forecasts show that the global DevOps market is set to grow at a CAGR of 19% between now and 2027. That’s not surprising, given the multiple advantages of the DevOps software engineering approach. But it means that if you’re still not sure about DevOps’ meaning and the DevOps engineer definition, it’s time to fix it.
Read on for an easy DevOps definition and to learn DevOps’ principles, the benefits DevOps can bring to your business, and reasons to use it.
What does DevOps mean?
What does DevOps stand for? DevOps is an approach to software engineering that breaks down work silos by combining development and operations, hence the name.
DevOps is built around the central practice of continuous improvement and continuous delivery (CI/CD). This implies that work on each software element basically never stops. After introducing a feature, developers gather and analyze feedback to improve it and its interaction with other elements.
Now that you know what is meant by DevOps, let’s learn how DevOps works.
Key DevOps practices and principles
Unlike many other software methodologies, DevOps doesn’t have a formal list of practices.
The closest answer to the question “What is DevOps in software development?” comes from researcher and CTO Gene Kim, whose book about DevOps, The Phoenix Project, arose from Kim’s experience with the process. Kim describes the DevOps development approach as the combination of three main principles (Three Ways), namely
- Developing flow/systems thinking
- Amplifying feedback loops
- Developing a culture of continuous learning
Let’s take a closer look at these principles and how you can embrace them.
1. The principle of flow (developing systems thinking)
The principle of flow emphasizes that a DevOps team should optimize all their working practices to speed up moving from development (i.e., addressing a market or product need) to operations (a functional result). This can happen in several ways.
Making smaller batches
A batch is a piece of work that separates the development, testing, and deployment stages and moves between them. When batches take weeks to complete, engineers can easily overlook a bug that can ruin an entire project. With smaller batches, developers can notice and fix bugs in the early stages. The best practice is therefore to keep batches as small as possible.
Taking on fewer tasks and eliminating waste
This is a simple yet hard-to-follow practice — engineers and managers should check that they’ve completed most of their current tasks before starting a new one. Avoiding multitasking like this brings several benefits: higher quality of work, fewer technical debts, and fewer employees struggling with high workloads and multiple deadlines.
So what should you do with your long list of unfinished tasks? Try to reduce them by eliminating waste such as unnecessary features, redundant documentation, manual work, and meetings about meetings. Cancel unnecessary tasks and aim to automate others to keep your task list lean.
Ensuring visibility and transparency
Visibility and transparency are vital for effective collaboration. One way to ensure it is to use Kanban boards, where tasks become cards that you can assign and reassign to different teams.
With Kanban, every member of the team can see the current processes of others to coordinate their work better. More transparent task management also helps you to make handoffs smoother, as employees can track all the processes and connections.
Automation is central to DevOps as it helps to complete most tasks faster without mistakes. DevOps practice is to use automation for testing, deploying, and optimizing workflows wherever possible.
2. The principle of feedback (amplifying feedback loops)
What is the key purpose of DevOps? Ensuring continuous development and improvement to release great products. Getting continuous feedback is key to achieving this goal.
The principle of feedback states that the DevOps team should constantly be checking the development results, detecting problems or flaws, and fixing them. Continuous feedback forms a loop as it moves work from operation back to development and improves outcomes with every new DevOps cycle. This feedback is built on three key practices:
- Solving the smallest problems as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming major issues.
- Minimizing quality control issues by keeping documentation comprehensive and organized, submitting small pieces of work to review, and automating testing.
- Analyzing and learning from mistakes to prevent them from happening again.
When these practices are followed, the DevOps team achieves better quality results and significantly decreases the chances of project failure.
3. The principle of continuous learning (developing a learning culture)
The third and final DevOps principle is continuous learning to ensure that the DevOps team improves and maintains a positive working environment. This learning focus applies to the company at all levels, not just the executive one. Like the feedback principle, continuous learning involves three main practices.
Encouraging and supporting initiatives
Instead of blaming an employee for pointing out flaws, mistakes, or opportunities for improvement, a company should support them — for example, by brainstorming possible solutions, then dividing responsibilities among the whole team. Managers can use automated reporting to lighten the workload.
Keeping daily processes relevant, effective, and up-to-date
Continuous learning is also about analyzing practices and procedures and learning from experience. Managers should regularly review internal processes to make sure that they’re efficient and that there’s no excessive bureaucracy, ineffective communication, mundane tasks needing automation, or outdated methods.
Preparing for failure
Knowing how failure could happen and being ready for it are two different things. DevOps focuses on the latter. This work begins with the creation of action plans or even simulating problems such as data loss or hacker attacks to learn what to do when something bad happens.
Tools can obviously help here. Simics is one example: the platform allows developers to simulate different memory sizes, core counts, and processor speeds and test how software behaves in any circumstances. Tools like this help a team test software to improve it or simulate failures and find ways to fix them as quickly as possible.
The underlying values of DevOps
As you can see, the three DevOps principles overlap in many ways to form the DevOps lifecycle. These overlaps can help you see why to use DevOps in the first place. In short, DevOps is built on
- Agility. Small batches, rapid releases, and the CI/CD approach help you become more agile and responsive to changing needs and requirements. Thus, a DevOps team can create high-quality bespoke software without delays.
- Collaboration. When development and operation teams collaborate effectively, you get the key DevOps benefits for a business, such as faster work, fewer mistakes, and innovative ideas.
- Automation. Automating mundane tasks helps speed up product releases, as developers can focus on problem-solving instead of wasting time on manual work.
- Continuous learning. Encouraging learning and finding flaws and their solution contributes to the constant improvement of developers’ skills, company processes, and final products.
- A focus on end-user needs. A DevOps team analyzes and defines end-user needs but does not just blindly follow these ideas. Instead, when talking to the customer, the team selects the best solutions and features that both meet end-user needs and bring profit to the business.
When combined, these principles and practices create benefits that explain why DevOps is important for both software development and a business as a whole.
Why is DevOps important for businesses?
DevOps is essentially about process management, but the advantages aren’t just for team managers. The DevOps approach also brings the following business-wide benefits.
Improved quality and shorter incident recovery time
With the CI/CD approach, developers get enough feedback to fix bugs in the early stages of development. Moreover, as the DevOps methodology implies working in small batches, these bugs are usually minor and require less time to handle than, say, a serious bug detected much later in a project.
This impact is significant: mature DevOps adopters report having higher-quality deliverables (66%), a lower failure rate of new releases (45%), and fewer incidents (40%).
Improved productivity and faster releases
Atlassian’s DevOps Trends survey shows that organizations practicing DevOps enjoy a 49% faster time-to-market when compared to their pre-DevOps performance.
That’s not surprising. With good DevOps in place, major mistakes that require rebuilding a project are highly unlikely, so delays in the final stages are rare. What’s more, as engineers review and improve every product element multiple times, they spend less time on these tasks at the final release. Finally, automation eliminates manual and redundant work, which reduces development time considerably.
Faster response to customer needs
Continuous feedback is another principle of DevOps that, together with CI/CD, helps developers flex and adapt faster to customer requirements. With 34% of organizations reporting that project priorities change weekly, flexibility is key to providing an excellent customer experience.
The DevOps approach promotes a culture of continuous learning, employee initiative, and automation. These principles create a positive working environment with fewer mundane tasks and multiple opportunities for professional development.
In Atlassian’s survey, 48% of developers reported that DevOps helped them get a raise. For business owners and CEOs, the implication is that DevOps leads to happier employees, which means a lower turnover rate and less spending on onboarding.
Better chances to innovate
A favorable working environment also inspires employees to learn and innovate. For example, Atlassian found that 78% of developers switching to DevOps had to learn a new skill. This knowledge helps team members come up with new ideas for improving internal processes and adding innovative features to products.
Lower development costs
Fewer mistakes, higher productivity, and higher quality deliverables all mean that teams spend less time undoing and redoing important work. This in turn reduces the final cost of software development.
By now, you should have answers to the questions “What is the DevOps model?”, “How does DevOps work?”, and “What are its main benefits?”.
Let’s move on to the next equally important question: the DevOps engineer’s meaning.
What is a DevOps engineer? The DevOps role and responsibilities
What’s the role of a DevOps engineer? Essentially, a DevOps engineer is an IT specialist who works with developers and the operations team to build software using the principles and practices of DevOps.
A DevOps engineer’s role is to connect development and operation teams and act as a bridge to ensure that projects go smoothly through all DevOps lifecycle phases. The work requires a broad skil lset, including development and operation experience, management expertise, and leadership talent.
The responsibilities of a DevOps engineer vary from organization to organization but usually include these core tasks:
- Creating and updating documentation for features on the server side
- Analyzing the system in use to improve and enhance it by using DevOps methods and principles
- Managing infrastructure
- Checking the success of DevOps implementation within the team, monitoring its performance, and finding solutions for its enhancement
- Encouraging and promoting the DevOps principles in the organization
- Cloud deployment and management
In summary, what DevOps engineers do is manage the DevOps team and help introduce this culture in the company to reap all the business benefits of DevOps.
When do you need to use DevOps services?
Since the benefits of DevOps implementation include fast and high-quality development at lower prices, it’s clear that everyone stands to gain.
Nevertheless, there are some types of projects that DevOps is particularly well suited. Three examples are
- Large, multi-stage projects that cannot tolerate significant bugs and errors. Since one of the purposes of DevOps is to reduce and accelerate bug fixes, these projects are where DevOps shines.
- Software projects that need frequent updates. DevOps improves development agility, which in turn shortens release times.
- Projects with frequently shifting requirements.
Partnership with Acropolium
Experience all the benefits of DevOps in software engineering with us!
Acropolium is the ideal candidate to build a long-term partnership for software development. Our team has a reputation as a reliable partner for DevOps and other projects in fintech, retail, healthcare, and other industries, delivering over 450 applications. We offer IT consulting, app development, and custom software development services, and we guarantee the highest quality of work according to ISO certification standards.
With Acropolium, you can also choose the most convenient pricing model, whether fixed price or a monthly subscription that covers all common mobile and web development project needs. And finally, you’ll join our portfolio of highly satisfied customers: we enjoy a nearly 5-star average client rating on Clutch and GoodFirms. Be ready to experience all benefits of DevOps in software engineering with Acropolium.
DevOps is an increasingly popular software engineering approach that promotes close cooperation of development and operations teams.
The DevOps approach goes beyond tools or methods to define a more general culture that encourages communication, learning, innovation, and the desire to improve every aspect of the development process. These DevOps principles ensure multiple DevOps advantages such as higher performance, better work quality, and faster development.