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How to ensure end-to-end visibility across in Distributed DevOps
How to ensure end-to-end visibility across in Distributed DevOps

There is a constant debate around the Distributed DevOps model. In simple terms, the question is, can an enterprise practice DevOps with one part of the team in an onshore location and the other part at an offshore location? Some organizations believe it is difficult to work in a Distributed DevOps way but multinationals with investments in offshore DevOps factories are effectively utilizing this model.

The pandemic has changed the way we work, bringing scrutiny to everything including from where and how employees work to how they collaborate and engage with their clients. Business and operating models are becoming more agile. In contrast to traditional waterfall SDLC practices, agile teams were ideal to adapt to ever-changing business dynamics. Organizations began exploring distributed models with more vigor, which helped them achieve efficiency, flexibility and scalability.

With remote working style, every DevOps team is working in a distributed model. But it presents a challenge of end-to-end visibility. Visibility ensures smooth functioning of Distributed DevOps and enables business teams to be on top of each update. To ensure speedy and high-quality deliveries of work, achieving end-to-end visibility is important for distributed teams.

Organizations took steps to maintain end-to-end visibility of progress, quality of deliverables, and productivity to optimize the value delivered via SDLC. However, many companies attempting to reduce risks and ensure effectiveness also delayed product delivery. They now need an end-to-end strategy to help accelerate transformation by bringing all teams (Business, Dev, IT) together and changing culture to adopt DevOps practices. This change is important to ensure optimum efficacy and reliability and is critical for Distributed DevOps teams' setup.

Let's look at how Distributed DevOps teams can optimize workflows.

Strong move towards cloud to build an all-accessible technological stack

Instead of buying, configuring and maintaining physical servers, which adds up to the costs, teams can typically pay only for cloud services which they use, then shut them down when no longer needed. This is a classic ‘Pay-as-you-go model’. Container Technology is fast becoming the default choice for software teams as it helps developers determine how to reliably run software in different environments, be it personal laptop to dev to staging to production.

Docker and Kubernetes are two popular end-end orchestration frameworks for automating the entire deployment process, scaling and management.

Furthermore, serverless computing offers the ability to run applications without configuring and maintaining servers. Such end-to-end serverless solutions enhance developers’ productivity, improve team’s agility and performance.

Move to NoOps model

NoOps has gone beyond the hype. Where DevOps is about Collaboration; NoOps is all about Automation. Cutting the marketing hype from the term, NoOps refers to extreme or hyper-automated IT operations a.k.a. hyper-automation. With the rapid evolution of cloud computing, technical resources can be completely abstracted from the underlying system infrastructure. Also, with serverless computing, security management tasks and traditional infrastructure can be fully automated. Companies can, then, free operations talent from server management responsibilities and transition them into new roles and help drive better business outcomes.

Customized SDLC visibility tools

Engineering teams use a multitude of tools in their SDLC, which serve different purposes (Planning, Development, Integration, Testing, Feedback, Monitoring, Deployment, Operations). Within each of these tools, different roles require different sets of data. Therefore, for ensuring end-to-end visibility, it becomes imperative for business and engineering leaders to visualize the right metrics and KPIs which allow them to make data-driven decisions.

Rapid releases have become a norm & Continuous Delivery has become the unspoken expectation of both business and IT alike. To achieve such a lofty goal, organizations are increasingly choosing DevOps to define a sustainable future for themselves. However, none stands out more than the lack of data driven decision making. Lack of a single-source-of-truth for all machine and process level data, analysis and analytics that can be applied to learn the patterns and anti-patterns that can help the teams get more effective.

A Value-Stream Intelligence platform plugs-in your SDLC ecosystem, gathers data and insights, normalizes, and collates and corelates the data from various tools into one dashboard. Our home-grown AI enabled framework TED (The Engineering Dashboard) is built on big-data architecture that helps teams to address the problem of lack of single source of truth for the engineering lifecycle. Some of its benefits are:

  • Integrations for various DevOps tools: TED can be integrated with any tool in your SDLC ecosystem for the purpose of gathering the data.
  • Complete Lifecycle Overview for Every Team & Function: TED consumes and normalizes data based on user-defined or system-automated rules and convert them into charts and interactive dashboards for different functions like Development, Security, Infra, Operations and Business.
  • Enterprise-Grade Security and Scalability: TED has in-built security and scalability features, including the options to add advanced security controls with bespoke implementation.
  • Supercharge Software Development: Key features like tracking KPIs and end-to-end software metrics, customizable interface, heatmaps, alerting engines enable teams to have transparency about the software development. Tracking user stories build and integration status from all tools and create interactive dashboards to keep everyone informed.

Therefore, Value Stream Intelligence tools help teams document, analyze, and manage the measurable value of their processes

The role of team leaders in making Distributed DevOps a Success 

DevOps leaders need a broader and deeper understanding of what they are required to achieve. They must focus on metrics, data-driven decision making and have a thorough understanding of a technology solution while also building solid relationships and celebrating successes. With the right measures, leaders can link DevOps improvements with measurable impact to greater goals like digital transformation efforts. For example, DORA metrics (Deployment Frequency, Lead Time for Changes, Change Failure Rate, Time to Restore) help leaders define a baseline of team performance and can help improve efficiency and effectiveness, which drives ongoing team improvements.

DORA metrics help business teams in keeping track of deployment frequencies and understanding how fast they can deliver and make requisite provisions to meet customer expectations. For project managers and delivery leaders, tracking DORA metrics hold vital importance as the metrics make it easier to understand areas of improvements in your SDLC.

  • Deployment Frequency helps in measuring the process effectiveness of your software delivery process. It tells you how often and how quickly new services or features are deployed to production.
  • Lead Time for Code Changes metric measures the throughput of the software delivery process. It measures the lead time for code changes from the point of time when the code is checked-in to the point code is released. This metric also helps leaders in evaluating the efficiency of processes, supporting system effectiveness, and the general capabilities of development team.
  • DevOps Change Failure Rate metric determines the change fail rate as a measure of the quality of the release process. It considers that how many application or service changes, builds or deployments have created a service issue large enough that requires rectification.
  • Time to Restore Service DORA research finds a remarkable gap between elite and low performers. Elite organizations are the ones which are capable of restoring services on average in less than one hour, whereas low performers are the ones which have taken between one week and one month. High and medium performers are able to restore service within a day.

Shift the culture and the mindset of teams 

Scaling your product lineIf you think about what this movement is about – increasing the velocity of software delivery throughout the value chain – every role is shifting, says PwC's Rohit AntaoScaling your product line

DevOps bridges the gap between Dev and Ops, breaking down the silos within the organization to increase visibility into what’s fueling the business and to solidify accountability and ownership. It enables a culture of innovation where failure is accepted, and everyone follows the mantra “Fail Early, Fail Small, Fail Fast.” People (teams) are the most important component of the equation. Team members must understand that their effectiveness is measured by their abilities to ‘adapt’ to ever-changing ‘market’ dynamics and the value they help deliver. Optimizing costs is very important, but more important is the value delivered. Involving everyone from day one and ensuring the principles of Agile and DevOps are adhered to leads to a transparent work culture and helps create high-performing teams. You just simply can’t buy innovations, DevOps culture or effective teams and way of working; organizations have to understand teams need to be nurtured, guided and supported. DevOps requires establishing culture, collaborative practices, and automation that aligns development, operations teams, and business so everyone has a single mindset on improving customer experience, responding faster to the business needs, and ensuring that innovation is at the core. This process in turn creates a strong foundation for Distributed DevOps. 

Conclusively, even after this pandemic is long gone, it’s unlikely that organizations will revert to only co-located models. Distributed agile teams need to adopt robust methods and practices, scaled across their organization. For smooth and consistent navigation in the uncertain times like this, focus on people, early feedback loops, coherent communication, increased team collaboration and value stream visualization - the key drivers for a successful transformation.

Embrace Change, Deliver Certainty is the mantra for better transformation. We are on a surreal but exciting journey of innovation. At Qentelli, we are driven by motto of learn, adapt, change and constantly striving to evolve with the next era of digital transformations. If you want to scale up your business and looking for effective solutions for your business transformation challenges by unlocking the potential of Distributed DevOps, please feel free to get in touch with our DevOps experts -> [email protected].