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As Budgets Shrink and Expectations Rise, How Can DevOps Managers Balance the Two?

As Budgets Shrink and Expectations Rise, How Can DevOps Managers Balance the Two?

Businesses and organizations approach software development in a completely different way today than they did a few years ago. DevOps becomes the set of practices that guides the integration of software development with IT infrastructure and deployment pipelines. In essence, DevOps allows developers and IT operations specialists to work together in a seamless, continuous cycle.

The introduction of DevOps as an approach also makes Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) the norm rather than an option. Today, more and more organizations implement an agile CI/CD pipeline as a way to push smaller iterations faster.

These are all positive changes, but that doesn’t mean DevOps as a set of practices is enough. With the expectations of organizations mounting – and the budget to support the expansion of DevOps teams shrinking – DevOps managers need to be more creative in balancing the two, but how can that be done in an effective way? Below we will discuss the topic further.

Manage Expectations

The first thing to do when you are faced with the task of balancing expectations and budget is, well, manage the expectations. Budgets fluctuate, but that fluctuation needs to affect the expectations being pushed upon the DevOps team proportionally.

Trying to do everything in a short period of time with limited resources is not something you want to do. Instead, based on the understanding of the team and its past performances, you need to create timelines and cycles that match the resources you have in hand.

While boosting the budget is not always possible, managing expectations is something you can always do. After all, DevOps has its limits, and the best way to highlight how beneficial DevOps can be to an organization is by operating within those limits and maintaining consistency.

Smaller and More Consistent

That actually brings us to the next important point: consistency is key. CI/CD pipelines rely on consistency to work. Rather than trying to push big updates and then struggling to meet deadlines, it is much better to have a sustainable cycle that can be kept consistent over a longer period of time.

This is where DevOps shines best. With smaller iterations being pushed in a consistent manner, the entire flow can remain constant regardless of the budget assigned to the project or the size of the team. Once again, a good understanding of the pipeline is required. Besides, consistency matters more to the end-users as they are more likely to appreciate small, incremental updates that make their experience better than big leaps that are not only problematic but take longer to deploy.

Turn to Automation

Automation is another component that can help boost the effectiveness of a DevOps team, and it is your responsibility as the DevOps manager to find tasks to automate along the pipeline. You can start by automating mundane and repetitive tasks such as code checking and compiling.

Tools like the AWS CodePipeline and CodeDeploy already have extensive automation features that you can use to automate a lot of tasks within the pipeline. Third-party tools like Jenkins also make automating code push and deployment easier.

Once the repetitive tasks are fully automated, you can turn your focus on tasks that require minimal human input. These, too, are tasks that can be automated to a certain degree. The more you add automation, the more you can boost the efficiency of your DevOps team.

Integrate Testing and Security

There are definite bottlenecks within most CI/CD pipelines, with testing and security being the most highlighted ones. Fortunately, there are also more ways to integrate testing and security into the actual pipeline rather than treating them as separate processes.

With functional testing, for example, you can use Global App Testing to offload the entire process and automate it at the same time. You can use the solutions available at globalapptesting.com and discover better ways to manage testing. The same tool will even support the analysis of test results, which means you can focus on refining the app itself rather than conducting extensive tests. Similar tools for managing app security are also available and can be integrated into the pipeline directly.

Take Business Objectives into Account

Last but not least, make sure you consider the business objectives every step of the way. Whether you are refining the DevOps team, streamlining the CI/CD pipeline, or finding more things to automate along the way, you have to make business objectives the priority.

The more aligned your DevOps team is with business objectives, the easier it will be to make the effectiveness of the team obvious. When the time comes, you will have more than enough reasons to push for a bigger budget for the team and expand further.

With these tips in mind, there is no reason why you cannot balance your budget with expectations. You will not only improve the overall performance of the team and efficiency of the pipeline but also encourage better buy-ins from top management and business stakeholders; both are good for the team, aren’t they?


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by Brian Perry // Brian Perry is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.