4 DevOps definitions managers must understand

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DevOps definitions managersFrom a software engineering perspective, most DevOps techniques happen at the practitioner level, but true DevOps adoption goes beyond development and operations alone.

DevOps requires fundamental changes to the culture of an organization. To succeed, all stakeholders ought to understand the fundamentals. To help explain, here are four DevOps definitions that managers should understand:

1. Continuous improvement

Adopting best practices should be more than a one-time event. Organizations should have built-in processes that identify areas that can be made better. Some businesses accomplish this through dedicated process-improvement teams. Others allow the teams that adopt the processes to self-assess and determine their own process-improvement paths. Regardless of the method, the goal is continuous improvement.

2. Continuous integration

Continuous integration adds tremendous value in DevOps by allowing large teams of developers working on cross-technology components in multiple locations to deliver software in an agile manner. It also ensures that each team’s work is continuously integrated with that of other development teams, then validated. Continuous integration reduces risk and identifies issues earlier in the software development life cycle.

3. Continuous delivery

Continuous delivery is the process of automating the deployment of software to testing, system testing, staging and production environments. Though some organizations stop short of production, those that adopt DevOps generally use the same automated process in all environments to improve efficiency and reduce the risk introduced by inconsistent processes. Adopting continuous delivery is the most critical component of DevOps adoption.

4. Continuous testing

Organizations should adopt processes in three key areas to enable continuous testing: test environment provisioning, test data management and test integration.

 Each organization should determine what processes to adopt for each area. These processes may even vary with each project, based on individual testing needs and the requirements of service agreements. Customer-facing applications may need more security testing than internal applications, for example.

Test environment provisioning and test data management are more important challenges for projects that use agile methodologies and practice continuous integration than for projects that use waterfall methodology. Likewise, function and performance test requirements for complex applications with components that have different delivery cycles are different if they are for simple, monolithic web apps.

The key point is to establish processes to continuously test code as it is created. This helps make practices such as continuous delivery possible.

A basic understanding of each of these techniques is essential knowledge for managers looking to adopt a DevOps approach.

To learn more about DevOps, download your free copy of DevOps for Dummies.

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