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9 essential practices for your DevOps
15 Apr 2023

Nine essential practices for your DevOps

Between 2007 and 08, the IT industry figured out the dysfunction between the Dev and the Ops teams. Everyone realized the cost of it and the potential of the idea of combining Dev & Ops. This is how DevOps started. I know I have told this story before. A Harvard Business Review study shows that 86% of the 654 respondents saw the importance of quickly developing and releasing new software into production. However, only 10% said they felt that their company is very successful at rapid software development and deployment. This gap shows that there is still much to figure out for most of us to do DevOps right.

It is a well-known fact that DevOps is essential for better software development and faster deployment. But setting up the proper DevOps process that fits your organization is crucial. So, here are nine critical DevOps practices that will guide your DevOps practices to achieve the goals that you have set.

Nine essential best practices in DevOps

  • Collaboration is the key: The main factor that either makes or breaks a DevOps culture is collaboration. Eliminating silos is the essence of DevOps. If you want to apply DevOps successfully, focus on building a collaborative culture and eliminating silos within your organization. Ensure that all individuals within the team have a sense of ownership of the entire process and are aware of the goals set. Bring your development and operations team under one roof to ensure the communication does not act as a barrier. Set rules around communication, information sharing, and security best practices while adopting an effective chat channel. Create help wikis to keep every stakeholder on the same page.

  • Build with the right tools: Proper tooling is a strategic approach that helps save future costs and time. Consider all the teams, viz., Dev, Ops, QA, automation, and security, and their needs before you finalize the tools. Modern tools have lessened and automated manual and semi-manual efforts while improving the quality and accuracy of the tasks. They assist in better collaboration between teams and functions. Essential activities like version control, configuration management, application deployment, and monitoring can be dealt with more accurately by relying on tools. Right people equipped with the right tools are the key to augmenting your DevOps experience.

  • Continuous innovation and updates: Innovation is key to having the upper hand over your competition. It is good to update and fix bugs, but it is better to adopt a practice of continuous deployment of these updates. Have a rollout plan in place to release features continuously, improve products, and improve customer experience. A well-planned continuous delivery model is essential for constant deployment to work effectively. Perform updates frequently, no matter how minor you think they are. This will improve the time to market. Smaller, more frequent, and more continuous updates help identify and fix bugs faster and make each deployment cycle less risky.

  • Add Agile: The expectations of end-users have multiplied in recent years, and it has become ever so important to listen carefully to what they want. Agile allows you to collaborate internally and externally to offer the product that customers want in lesser time. Agile allows you to gather feedback, understand evolving requirements, and adapt to changes quickly. It also helps considerably reduce the risks you may run into. A combination of Agile with DevOps will enhance the efficiency of the development process and the time taken to deliver effectively.

  • CI/CD: Delivering software faster is the ultimate aim of DevOps, and Continuous Integration (CI) & Continuous Deployment (CD) are keys to regularly releasing reliable software. A robust CI/CD pipeline standardizes the processes, improves software quality, reduces software validation, and speeds up your release time. Use CI to deliver your code incrementally to automated development and testing environments. This forms the basis for the CI/CD model by regularly merging code changes into a central repository. Run automated tests & builds, and the standardized process will reduce the chances of bugs. CD automatically creates and tests code changes, getting the update ready for production release. Implement continuous delivery to have a tested and deployment-ready software release.

  • Test automation to test often: Automation is arguably the most powerful word in a DevOps environment, and DevOps relies heavily on automation, especially when it comes to testing. Traditional software testing involved tedious manual efforts that saw developers and testers spend a lot of time ensuring a bug-free code. Mature test automation is core in DevOps and boosts its true potential. Choose the right tools and decrease human intervention and error in the testing process without sacrificing quality. Continuous delivery is possible only with thorough testing of codes, which is possible only in an automated test environment.

  • Shift left to test early: Shift left implies moving your testing & security practices to the earlier stages of the software development lifecycle. Shifting left helps bug identification and testing at a very early stage – an essential prerequisite for quality assurance. Always test your code early to shorten test cycle time effectively while improving the quality of your code. Use shift-left testing to identify early defects to deliver a better-quality product. Remember to encourage feedback from developers & testers and specify quality standards to keep everybody on the same page.

  • Continuous security: In a DevOps setup, you must incorporate security at every stage. Each team member must take equal responsibility for security. Embrace security monitoring practices, policies, and technologies proactively within the organization. Adopt DevSecOps practices; this will help apply security at every stage of the software development lifecycle. Check thoroughly for vulnerabilities with the help of penetration testing before deploying into production: Monitor user activities and place restrictions where necessary. Apply Privileged Access Management and avoid situations where multiple team members use shared credentials.

  • Continuously monitor the DevOps process, pipeline, and applications: Continuous monitoring helps identify defects in the software offering and the development process. The vital component of this process is continuity, as it will ensure your code and application are performing as expected. Monitor logs to check the performance of your infrastructure and its impact on end-users. Understand the effects of changes and updates on your end users and find out the root cause of issues – in real time. Make proactive monitoring a habit, especially when you want your services to be available 24/7. Collect continuous feedback, identify failures, address shortcomings, and maintain the attitude of learning from mistakes. Feedback is crucial and ensures you gather feedback at every stage. Check and implement all the possible tools and practices to help you do the monitoring bit efficiently. This will help to reduce the response times and real-time monitoring.

DevOps is a cultural change. The change comes down to the DevOps setup and functions' speed, reliability, and accuracy. Most organizations migrate to DevOps to deploy products and updates faster and cut downtime to market. Productivity increases with fewer errors, enabling you to stay above the competition by delivering on-demand and within a short time. These best practices will ensure a more streamlined and secure software development process speed.

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