Book Review: Continuous Delivery and DevOps: A Quickstart Guide (3 of 3)

In finishing up the book review and notes I took, the topics of CD and DevOps culture and behaviors, hurdles to look out for, and measuring success are covered.

I took almost twice as many notes in this section as I did in the previous sections. I haven’t looked at the actual page breakdown for how I broke down the book for my three reviews. This last section did have another chapter but I think it could be that these topics are the ones I least expected to see in a DevOps book so I took the most notes about them. Having said that, I am just giving highlights from the book and my notes, instead of mostly just typing my notes like the last post.

Implementing and transitioning to a CD and DevOpsĀ  is as much about the culture and behaviors of the individuals and organization as it is about the tools, processes, and procedures used. Some of the sub topics covered previously in the book are reiterated in this section. The sub topics include “Open, honest, and courageous dialogue,” “Encouraging and embracing collaboration,” “Innovation and accountability,” “the blame culture,” “building trust,” “rewarding good behaviors and success,” and “Embracing Change and reducing risk.”

Having big screens with key metrics and information is again stressed. All of this helps with the “human side” of implementing CD and DevOps.

There are some common hurdles to look out for with any CD and DevOps implementation. Some of these were mentioned earlier in the book as well. There are individuals who find change difficult and will resist any change, including accepting the CD and DevOps ways of working. Some people will think that change is not happening quick enough. Corporate processes and red tape may get in the way. You might not have the right people and need to recruit new employees.

The “hurdles to look out for” section describes three groups of people– Innovators, Followers, and Laggards. The majority of the people will be in the first two groups and most of your attention should be focused on them. The Laggards will eventually join or get out of the way as they see the positive effects of CD and DevOps. Other hurdles to look out for is the affect of “Outsiders” who you don’t have influence over, geographically different teams or individuals, making sure automation is repeatable and consistent so the process is trusted, and like the previous section mentions, recruitment of those with a CD and DevOps mindset.

The transition from a “Legacy” way of doing things to a CD and DevOps organization started with a goal and vision. Being able to state how far along you are to reaching that goal and vision is important, as well as knowing when you have reached it. Measuring effective engineering best practices is encouraged. This means measuring code quality, code complexity and unit test coverage analysis. Looking at comments vs. code and commit rates is also effective measuring strategies. It is important to start this upfront and tweak as you go.

The platform needs to be measured, as well as the overall effectiveness of CD and DevOps. “Environment issues” might be blamed for code or delivery problems without proof. Running automated tests and monitoring, including health checks, gives the platform some credibility to the developers and engineers. Measuring improvements in efficiency and throughput could be done by reporting the following metrics–
– number of deployments completed
– time taken to get from release candidate to production
– Number of release candidates built
– A league table of software components which are released
– A list of the unique software components going through the CD pipeline
– cost of each release (if calculable)
– additional revenue due to each release (if calculable)

The last section before the summary is “Inspect, adapt, and drive forward.” The dedicated implementation team doesn’t need to remain dedicated once the goal and vision has been achieved. That does not mean the process is complete. CD and DevOps needs continuous improvements, so the dedicated implementation team moves more into an advisory role as the larger team takes over day to day improvements and enhancements.

I won’t write out my notes for the summary. I find it interesting that that last point is to “have fun” and “don’t give up.” Good advice for anything worth while.

Author: Jonathan

Born and raised in Utah as a "Mormon." Married to Val, and the father of two beautiful daughters. Spent two years in the Philippines on a mission and a few years near Boise Idaho for work. Now residing in the beautify Heber Valley.

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