Implementing Agile and DevOps into an organization’s working system
In our previous article we told you about Agile and DevOps, and we looked at the main pros and cons of these two approaches. Here we will go into detail and explain to you how you can implement these approaches into your organization.
So, let's begin.
Here are the main stages that you need to take to implement Agile into your company:
- Prepare for implementation and train personnel. Before you change anything in your workplace you have to prepare your people. This means that you need to discuss what your plans are with them, and perhaps you could take on board their feedback and concerns.
Additionally, it’s necessary to conduct a preliminary analysis of your current working situation, and you need to think about any planned projects you may have.
It is very important not to rush and not to change everything at once. When implementing Agile there can be issues, so we recommend that you have a "trial run” on a project, before you commit to major changes. After that, when the small details have been fine-tuned, you can extend your knowledge and results to other projects.
Personnel training should be carried out in the form of a special course, and everyone involved in the project should attend the “trial project”.
- After completing point 1, you then need to distribute the various roles you have decided on amongst the participants of the “trial project”. This includes, executives and managers.
At all stages, the person responsible for the implementation of the Agile approach (it can be either a consultant from a specialized company, or a staff member who has completed an advanced training course and understands the process) should be monitoring the results, and, if necessary, re-instructing team members.
Identified errors should be corrected immediately at this point.
- After successfully completing the “trial project” and any difficulties have been identified, it’s now time to get all of the company's employees trained up, so that Agile can be implemented throughout the company.
Conducting additional training (if necessary), and promptly eliminating errors should still be done.
These are the initial results after you’ve implemented Agile into a company.
- Trained employees (managers, developers, testers, designers, etc.) who know how to work on projects using this methodology.
- Well-tested interaction scheme. Also, as a result of the Agile implementation, you should have a well-established plan, and even if there are some changes to it, the general plan should remain much the same.
- Increase in work productivity. As a result of the Agile implementation, the productivity of your team should increase.
We should note early on that DevOps in its purest form is unlikely to be implemented anywhere, but you can take inspiration from this approach, and adapt it to suit your business.
Implementing DevOps into a business:
- First, create a task that you want to solve using DevOps. Create a deployment pipeline, for example.
- Then you have to discuss the action plan with your team, and immediately identify the most problematic areas in the processes. Then select specific automation tools.
- Train the team and master the basic principles of DevOps – CALMS (culture, automation, lean, measurement and sharing).
- Change the development process and the organization of people. The focus should be on the product, not on the functional responsibilities of the specialists.
- Now you can move on to the automation itself. Choose processes that could be automated and pick a system whereby you can measure the success of this automation.
- After the implementation of automation, it’s essential to assess the results. Ask yourself, “Is this approach profitable?” If you see that it is not, go back to stage 1 and review your tasks, or try other tools. But, if you see a benefit in using DevOps, extend this approach to other projects.
When implementing Agile and DevOps, you have to understand that this will impact everything: structure, people and technologies. So, the implementation must be gradual. Any transformation in a company typically starts with management and works down. How the people at the top handle things is either going to make or break this new way of doing things.
To get the desired result, you must have a plan. This plan is not just an organizational chart, it should present a clear vision of the desired end result. The first step is to determine the value of the chosen methodology, in this case Agile/DevOps. Next, you have to decide on the structure you want to follow.
According to Agile and DevOps, a team is grouped according to its mission, and not according to external conditions or opportunities. Different teams are doing different jobs. Thus, cross-functional groups work to achieve the overall goal.
Self-governing groups determine the way they set goals and prioritize themselves. They adjust the work of cross-functional groups, if necessary. Functional groups are: HR department, QA department, accounting department and they work separately.
Indeed, not everything can be planned and foreseen in advance, so being able to adapt is required during the implementation process. Agile and DevOps can potentially bring you benefits, but if you don’t want to disrupt normal company operations, and you don’t want to endanger the entire business, you can test it on a separate project. And based on these results you can draw conclusions as to how to go on in the future. Perhaps it will be necessary to make some changes to the initial plan and that is perfectly fine to do.
Agile and DevOps can be implemented, but such a change is more suitable for companies whose philosophy is already flexible, and changes will be met with willingness.
Agile and DevOps will not help you to solve systemic problems, if your management or communication is ineffective. But with the right approach, they can help to significantly improve a team’s performance, and reduce the overall product development time. This has already been confirmed by thousands of successful cases.
We wish you the very best as you start your journey into implementing Agile and DevOps into your company.