Tips for Malaysian businesses to be DevOps/Agile ready

By Richard Gerdis, Vice President, Enterprise Management, Asia Pacific and Japan

Today, the average Malaysian business’s IT organization is split into Development and Operations departments in the traditional sense. The adoption process of DevOps and Agile Ops should be implemented by starting small and focusing on a critical and highly visible application service, usually web and/or mobile based.

Examples of target applications can be a new banking initiative for mobile payment application or a social media and sharing service for customer retention and new revenue channels.woman on megaphone_S

This pilot phased approach will lead to visible quick wins and immediate benefits in a shorter time frame which can then be further improved and rolled out to other applications with lesser resistance due to the demonstrated success.

  • DevOps is an iterative process of evolution and a cultural shift. Stakeholders must be in the trenches from the start — learning, tuning, and feeling invested in building the movement from within.
  • These stakeholders will serve as ambassadors for the movement, sharing successes early on to pull other stakeholders across the DevOps chasm.
  • Organizations must also be selective about whom they put on the front line of the DevOps movement. First, team members should have some experience with operations. They should be familiar with the tasks, tools, and workflows that support applications and services. This will allow them to identify areas that are ripe for automation.
  • Team members should also be natural department straddlers — those people who can communicate with IT and developer communities as well as with lines of business. They should be experienced collaborators with a track record of working across traditional IT silos.
  • On the specific technical skillset, DevOps approaches introduce developers to operational requirements and the tools and methods necessary to ensure that the code they create is immediately functional, of high quality, and fit for the production environment.
  • The suggested approach would be to start with an Incubation DevOps team consisting of Dev and Ops Engineers as a fully functional group for the targeted application and enablement through third-party providers with the relevant experience and background.

The Incubation DevOps Team must have executive support to ensure the changes required can be executed. This team will manage the targeted application by applying the DevOps principles iteratively. This team can then become the in-house experts and own the rollout of the DevOps approach in a defined phased manner across the organization.

  • Important developer skills for DevOps environments include automating configuration management, a.k.a. infrastructure lifecycle management using vendor-neutral tools such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, SaltStack, and Docker.

Last but not least, there are five key criteria to help businesses ensure a successful deployment of DevOps and its Agile Ops monitoring solution, namely active stakeholder participation, automated testing, integrated configuration management, integrated change management and continuous integration.

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