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How Mature Is Your DevOps? It’s Time to Assess


How effective are your DevOps practices?

Are you building solid, repeatable processes and automated solutions that shorten your development lifecycle and improve the quality of your builds? Or is your team struggling in one or more areas?

That’s what a DevOps assessment aims to find out.

Rest assured, no development team is perfect. But if you want to understand exactly where your development team stands — and take steps to improve it — then undergoing a rigorous assessment is vital.

Here’s exactly what you can expect from a DevOps assessment.


What Is a DevOps Assessment?

DevOps refers to a set of practices designed to improve the speed and quality of software development throughout the software lifecycle.

“You can visualize a DevOps process as an infinite loop, comprising these steps: plan, code, build, test, release, deploy, operate, monitor and -- through feedback -- plan, which resets the loop,” TechTarget’s Meredith Courtemanche, Emily Mell and Alexander S. Gillis write.

A DevOps assessment aims to find out just how mature your development team’s processes, people and tools are when it comes to deploying continuous integration and automated builds, says Bill Clerici, CEO and partner at Kingsmen Software.

Who should undergo a DevOps assessment? “If you are a brand new startup that completely immersed in cloud-native without any legacy, delivering reliable software from source code to production quickly and without a lot of errors, security issues and so on, you’re in good shape,” says Wiebe de Roos, a continuous development and cloud consultant.

But any other organization trying to implement a DevOps methodology should consider one — especially if they have legacy code, siloed teams, a lot of manual processes and inefficient approval processes.



Why Conduct a DevOps Assessment?

A DevOps assessment is crucial in helping your development team understand its baseline, says Chris Cancialosi, managing partner at Gotham Government Services. It also puts you in the strongest position to improve your processes in the future.

“A valid and reliable assessment ensures you are in a position to change, assists in helping leaders understand the potential obstacles that currently exist in the system, and helps organize and prioritize the change activities that must happen in order to embed these new ways of working into the cultural fabric of your company,” Cancialosi writes.

Tracy Bannon, a senior principal and software architect at Mitre, compares this to getting a physical at the doctor’s office: “Until you have the labs done, compare against your doctor’s observations, your own understanding, and your health goals, you really have no way to accurately plan a way forward.”

There are several particular areas of improvement that DevOps assessments uncover, says Søren Pedersen, cofounder of BuildingBetterSoftware. These include:

  • The strength of your team.
  • The type of developer your talent team should be looking for.
  • Areas that need additional investment.



What Does a DevOps Assessment Cover?

A thorough DevOps assessment should survey your team’s entire development. It should look specifically at the processes and infrastructure you have in place to manage continuous deployment and automated builds. For reference, a Kingsmen Software DevOps assessment looks at the following areas:

  • Version control.
  • Infrastructure management.
  • Build management.
  • Dependency management.
  • Data management.
  • Quality analysis.
  • Security management.
  • Deployment management.
  • Test automation.
  • Monitoring and alerting.
  • Release management.

We also assess things such as the traceability of software across all disciplines as well as the people, processes and tools used throughout a company’s DevOps systems.


Assessing DevOps Teams

Do your development teams have the right people? There are a number of roles that teams need to fill in order to succeed with DevOps, Stephanie Overby at TechBeacon writes.

These include:

  • A release manager.
  • An automation architect.
  • XA professionals.
  • A security engineer.

This portion of the assessment is not just about whether you have the right people in place. It’s also about ensuring your team collaborates effectively between and across departments.


Assessing DevOps Processes

What about processes? DevOps is a combination of processes and culture, says Emal Ehsan, director at Cervello. “Each organization must look at their current approaches and map out a foundational set of processes and procedures for building DevOps as a core competency, and what the impact of those changes would be.”


Assessing DevOps Tools

Tools are an essential part of DevOps, especially when it comes to continuous deployment and test automation.

“These tools should support and manage your test assets from a central location, passing your product through the testing process much more quickly and maximizing efficiency,” writes Daniel Jackson, a community manager at NI (formerly National Instruments).

“That said, as helpful as having an automated testing process can be to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your software, using tools that don’t fit with your team and goals will present potentially significant problems for your organization.”


Why You Need an Expert to Assess DevOps

Not just anyone can carry out a DevOps assessment, and almost no organization should consider assessing their DevOps systems themselves.

That’s because you need to dig a bit deeper than asking a few basic questions, says Bill Clerici. You need to know whom to speak to, what to look for and exactly what to ask to get the information you need. In some cases, that will involve diving into the source code.

In other words, a specialist is essential. That’s why leading institutions from industries such as finance, healthcare and technology turn to Kingsmen Software for support with DevOps.

Our deep domain knowledge, coupled with our experience of running comprehensive audits, means we’re able to quickly and accurately assess the capabilities of your development team and provide a road map to improvement.

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