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DevOps Cultural Shift

DevOps is not a destination, but a journey of (1) constant improvement of tools, (2) sharing responsibility as a team culture, and (3) organizational practices that encourage quick deployments. If you’re new to DevOps, start by orienting your goals to deliver value to customers. As you mature, add automation to your tools and processes. And finally, when your team becomes advanced practitioners, add monitoring, measuring, and improving on the right things. 

Many organizations have already developed Agile practices, breaking down silos between requirements and development – or, more specifically, end users’ requirements and developers. DevOps aims to solve another issue – removing silos and encouraging collaboration between development work and ongoing operations. DevOps combines new operations tools established and agile engineering practices along with increased collaboration between the roles of development and operations. There are some important cultural shifts within teams, and, at organizational level, that support this collaboration.

DevOps Culture

DevOps is a set of practices with the goal of making the development lifecycle of a system – a software, an application, an update – shorter and better in terms of quality, as it increases reliability in terms of uptime or performance, for example. It combines software development and IT operations departments to provide a continuous delivery of improvements to businesses systems, applications and environments required by business users. 

DevOps came to be in late 2000s, when both the development and operations communities realized they had to let go of the traditional software development approach and start to have a unified department, so they could deliver faster and better systems to customers. The DevOps approach aimed to connect the skills from both groups, maximizing the positive outcome of every delivery.

In a DevOps culture, shared responsibility is encouraged through closer collaboration. New types of roles are required to keep development teams engaged throughout the operation and maintenance of a system. If silos are broken, developers share the responsibility of looking after a system over its entire lifetime. Developers start to identify ways to simplify deployment and improve performance logging.

Conversely, operations staff also have an opportunity to share responsibility through working with developers to better understand business requirements and what the end users need. Shared responsibility begins with an increased awareness from developers of operational concerns (such as deployment and monitoring) and the adoption of new automation tools and practices by operations staff.

DevOps culture blurs the line between the roles of developer and operations staff and may eventually eliminate the distinction. Understanding this means that some organizational shifts are needed to align operational structures to this new culture.

Another organizational shift is a move towards more autonomous teams. Developers and operations staff make decisions and apply changes without involving unnecessary complex decision-making processes. This means trusting teams and allowing them to take responsibility for outcomes. It’s a fundamental shift in the way risk is managed. 

Without manual sign-off processes, a team can focus on results by automating deployments, speeding up their testing cycle, and ensuring system stability over the long term. 

Empowered teams ensure that changes in production are quality changes and have been reviewed by cross-functional teams like performance and security. Moving towards continuous deployment / continuous improvements which are regular, low-risk deployments. 

With these team culture and organizational structure shifts – teams are then best able to take advantage of automation – the cornerstone of DevOps. Automating tasks such as testing, configuration and deployments allows your team to focus on other valuable activities. 

A DevOps toolchain is a collection of tools, often from a variety of vendors, that operate as an integrated unit to design, build, test, manage, measure, and operate software and systems. Often, organizations and teams need to experiment with different combinations of tools to find the right toolchain – but the cultural shift is the most important starting point.

An extension of Agile, DevOps built a culture where developers are able to understand users’ requirements and needs better, delivering applications faster and with better quality by following a set of principles that make it all possible: 

Collaboration, Automation, Continuous Improvement, Customer-centric Action and Create-with-the-end-in- mind. These are the key principles of a DevOps culture. 

Collaboration is, by far, the most important one – development and operations come together as one team, collaborating throughout the entire lifecycle of an application. 

In this new outlook on software development lifecycle, Automation is an essential requirement, that must be done as much as possible for the sake of testing and deploying the new developed features. 

Thanks to it, team productivity increases, and human errors decrease with the help of Continuous Integration and Deployment. In this process, teams improve constantly throughout iterations, responding to feedback much faster. 

With Automation, comes Continuous Improvement – a part of Agile practices, it focuses on experimenting and optimizing the system to produce a fast and easy delivery with minimum waste. 

This way, updates can be pushed by teams much earlier, bringing more customer value to what is being produced.

Thanks to these constant and short feedbacks, DevOps teams are able to always be centered around user needs. Customer-centric Action is another key point of DevOps – developers make use of rapid deployment and are able to see how users interact with the system, allowing them to have insights on what to improve in the future.

Create-with-the-end-in-mind is all about understanding the needs of the customers and producing services that solve any coming issue. This key principle focuses on the deep understanding developers should have regarding the application – from the moment the system is created up until when it is finally implemented. 

However, as it is with many things in this world, there are the good and the bad sides. As much of a great strategy as it is, the challenges of DevOps are still there. The roadblock is adaptation – teams need to understand DevOps and adapt to it efficiently – even if few people or smaller teams understand it and implement it alone, their success will be a demonstration of what DevOps can do to an organization and set the example for the other teams. 

If, by any chance, team members were already siloed for whatever reason before DevOps was implemented, it will be difficult to establish solid connections among them. Jumping straight to tools without first changing this internal culture also turns out to be an issue – the foundation needs to be well built first before other steps are put into practice. 

Other points to consider before transitioning to a DevOps culture are related to open communication, normalization of mistakes, continuous integration and delivery, and a new mindset and new toolchain.

Open communication is essential for a team to excel on their cultural shift, deliver requirements faster and run iterations efficiently – when developers write and deploy code, open communication allows them to avoid mistakes. 

However, errors are common and can still happen regardless. Teams can put a lot of pressure on themselves in order to meet criteria but, by following perfection incessantly, it will certainly be difficult to find new approaches to solve issues or develop new features. A DevOps team should not fear mistakes! We all commit errors, and developers are no exception.

The benefits DevOps brings to a company and its team are cultural, technical and business-oriented. As discussed, the cultural benefits are related to customer satisfaction, tied up with the efficiency of a DevOps team. The technical benefits are all about why DevOps was brought to life in the first place – reduce complexity, fasten systems’ lifecycles, provide higher quality and constant delivery. On the business aspect, DevOps offers better collaboration and transparency among team members. 

DevOps is a cultural shift where teams embrace a software engineering culture, workflow, and toolset that elevates operational requirements to the same level of importance as architecture, design, and development.

DevOps can be a great change of scenery and habits for teams to get used to, as fully embracing such practices requires a shift of how people use to work – DevOps is a cultural shift, after all! Change can be a difficult path to take, but necessary anyways.

If the goals and objectives a business has in regard to this change are not communicated clearly, it can be difficult for a team to put in the work efficiently. Once the benefits of DevOps are communicated and understood, then the cultural shift can not only be implemented, but also thrive. 

When DevOps is successfully implemented in an organization, collaboration, communication and transparency among a team increases – making a company succeed in all its goals.

What Are DevOps Tools

DevOps tools are defined as a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations. It is complementary with Agile and aims to shorten the systems’ development lifecycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality. 

Since DevOps is a cultural shift where development and operations work as an integrated unit, there isn’t a single tool that enables DevOps principles and practices. Instead, DevOps entails changing the siloed process of programmers writing application code and “throwing it over the wall” to an operations team who deploys and operates the application. The DevOps approach entails development and operations working together throughout the entire lifecycle of a project. 

Continuous Integration and Delivery are essential steps of a DevOps culture. Integration automates code changes in a project, extending it throughout an entire organization. Delivery brings different teams together to bring a product to life. Continuous Deployment is not very used in smaller companies, however still important – such code changes are deployed to production, giving teams the chance to attend to customers’ demands faster. 

It is important to understand each phase of the system’s lifecycle:

  1. Continuous Integration

    Integration to code changes is automated in this phase, throughout an entire organization – and not just development. This way, different teams can coordinate when different features are to be launched, which fixes must be done and who is responsible for what. 

  2. Continuous Delivery

    This process permits the code changes to be deployed, either in bits and pieces to customers or hidden, being able to move around easily regardless. With this, a team can easily see market and customers’ demands, and respond to them by deploying features that were validated thanks to their feedback. 

With an updated toolchain, it is no secret that teams can perform the different stages of DevOps better. However, software that supports Continuous Integration and Deployment is of utmost importance. Once there is a workflow that tests and deploys applications codes efficiently, based on the demands of the market, then it becomes clear for a team to see the benefits DevOps practices can present them with. 
For a DevOps team, having a toolchain that is in accordance with all the different phases of the software’s lifecycle is essential. But that is not all that has to be considered – organizations must provide their teams with tools that will increase their collaboration and improve automation so the software monitoring can happen faster. A toolchain can either be open, customized for the needs of a team within different tools, or all-in-one – offering a solution that does not need to integrate with others.

With features, come changes to computers and everything that is stored on them – programs, document folders and files, large websites, etc. Any of these changes is automatically tracked, and their access can be given to many clients, on what is known as a centralized version. It is easy to understand and to get started in to and possess more control over users.
A decentralized version offers a repository copy for each user, which reduces conflict and, consequently, is faster and does not require the need for a server. It also has a more detailed tracking and a reliable merging of code.

Container Management is the process for automating containers – from their creation to their deployment and scaling stages. Containers are “packages” from an app and its dependencies all together – in a “container”, it becomes easy to manage an app and its develop and deployment. Containers are easy to set up and administer. At a large scale, Container Management facilitates the addition and organization of several of these apps simultaneously.

In this phase, tools are used to analyze how applications are running in the cloud. Pretty straightforward, this step is for teams to trace and fix any irregularities with infrastructure in the clouds.

It releases code for automated testing and production. When teams are aware of fixes and features, they can deploy those faster, consequently making updates available to users frequently and, therefore, increasing the value of the product.

This management makes sure systems are consistent and performing well as they should, despite of any changes or updates that might be tracked or controlled.

This step allows organizations to release features faster while limiting human intervention in the software. Applications can be deployed within the process, developed and modeled across different environments in deployment and production.

Continuous Integration, as pointed out, is the very first step of the process, and many tools used for it are also used for the second step – Continuous Delivery. The tool more commonly used is Jenkins. This automation server is easy to install, supports build-up steps and has a user-friendly interface. Another good server is Git, used for different stages of development.

Version Control has tools for its different models – centralized and decentralized. When centralized, there’s only one repository where every user has access to, and the tool Subversion is a good option for it due to being simple to use. If a company opts to have a decentralized version control (meaning several copies of the repository are available individually), the most used tools are Mercurial and Git. 

The most common Container Management tool is Kubernetes. It manages the passwords, tokens and encrypted connections from an organization. This tool is easy and simple to use, and became popular once DevOps started to be embraced. 

In Performance Monitoring, Application Performance Monitoring (APM) is the name given to the industry responsible for monitoring the cloud, by making use of a number of tools that support code-level performance, software programs, monitor user-experience, tracks database operations – and so on. A few examples of tools are: Traceview, Datadog APM, Opsview, Dynatrace, and others.

For the Deployment stage, it is important for a team to possess tools that will smooth updated and distribution in the software, so developers can focus more on other relevant tasks, changes or projects. Jenkins also enters in this stage, as it is easy to set-up. Another good tool is AWS, developed by Amazon – it offers rapid deployments, is easy to launch, and works well with any application. 

In Configuration Management and its role of making sure system changes are up and running smoothly, tools must make deployment run faster and remove margin for human error.  Some examples of tools include:  CFEngine, SolarWinds and Puppet – they all are open-source and easy to understand. 

And, finally, Deployment Automation. This final step of a system’s lifecycle requires tools that allow teams to automate within the system’s lifecycle and eliminate silos with faster deployments. Some examples of tools are Jenkins once again, along with BuildMaster, IBM’s Urban Code, or Amazon’s AWS.

By choosing its DevOps toolchain, an organization can address the goals of each phase of a system’s lifecycle. The different tools required for each different step are there to plan, build, monitor and operate, and provide continuous feedback and CI/CD. 

When a team goes through these different phases of planning well how a system’s lifecycle is to be built, monitored and finally operated thanks to customer feedback that allows to faster integration and deployment – that is when an organization know it has implemented DevOps effectively. 

The benefits DevOps brings to a company and its team are cultural, technical and business-oriented. As discussed, the cultural benefits are related to customer satisfaction, tied up with the efficiency of a DevOps team. The technical benefits are all about why DevOps was brought to life in the first place – reduce complexity, fasten systems’ lifecycles, provide higher quality and constant delivery. On the business aspect, DevOps offers better collaboration and transparency among team members. 

DevOps is a cultural shift where teams embrace a software engineering culture, workflow, and toolset that elevates operational requirements to the same level of importance as architecture, design, and development. 

DevOps can be a great change of scenery and habits for teams to get used to, as fully embracing such practices requires a shift of how people use to work – DevOps is a cultural shift, after all! Change can be a difficult path to take, but necessary anyways. If the goals and objectives a business has in regard to this change are not communicated clearly, it can be difficult for a team to put in the work efficiently. Once the benefits of DevOps are communicated and understood, then the cultural shift can not only be implemented, but also thrive. 

When DevOps is successfully implemented in an organization, collaboration, communication and transparency among a team increases – making a company succeed in all its goals.

How Organizations Use DevOps

DevOps is a broad approach to work in general, even though it is often thought of as just an IT term. In IT terminology, Development is where the work starts – this could be sales or the trading floor at an investment brokerage. And Operations is where the work is managed and applied. In this day and age, any work is managed by IT Systems. 

Ever since DevOps teams popped up in several major companies in the late 2000s, DevOps has become more and more popular among small, medium and big-sized organizations that want to be more responsive to market and business goals. DevOps allows the quicker realization of any business goals or changes. 

An extension of Agile practices, the DevOps mentality has gained great importance for organizations that want to quickly address any system issues from a customer perspective (be it internal or external), ensuring greater user satisfaction. Simultaneously, new products or features desired by users can also be deployed quickly. 

Companies adopt DevOps with the goal of improving their software development, making their systems faster and better, with higher quality and speed. They use DevOps tools that focus either on something specific, or many different functions – and some even create their own tools to deploy or monitor or manage. It is very common for a number of organizations to use tool-platforms that were developed by other companies who fully transitioned to DevOps. 

Examples: Amazon, Netflix, Sony, NASA, Target, Nordstrom, Adobe, Facebook, Walmart. 

Some of these companies faced problems until they solved them with automation, or deployment, or cloud infrastructure. Big companies adopted DevOps for different reasons and to fix different issues. The final result has been organizations that, over the years, completed their digital transformation to its full potential and now provide support for other organizations that also want to adopt DevOps – making use of tools throughout the different stages they are currently at.

With the help of a DevOps software toolchain, many organizations were able to transition to DevOps seamlessly. But how did they do it? How did big corporations implement DevOps, and how can many others do the same?

The reason is simple – DevOps possesses strategies for short development cycles, which allows for more frequent deployments and, consequently, a faster time to market. With this back-and-forth process also comes a lot of communication and collaboration among team members, which can change the culture of a company. 

Overall, it becomes easier for an organization to accomplish its goals once DevOps is being effectively used. 

 

How Companies Are Implementing DevOps

Walmart makes use of DevOps to accomplish goals through a cloud-based technology known as “OneOps”. It allows the team to speed deployment. It all started when their competition with Amazon became very challenging, and the enterprise struggled to be a leader in the retail industry.
In 2011, they founded WalmartLabs as a development branch. WalmartLabs developed OneOps and worked with both public and private platforms, integrating configuration management and identity services, and finally opening itself to the public in 2016. Walmart continues to evolve in its Agile approach, and is working to develop its own cloud. 

The production giant was struggling with its architecture and the large-scale of subscribers traffic – until it moved to an AWS cloud. Now, with a microservice architecture, Netflix was able to increase the pace of its engineering teams by separating them so they could build and deploy faster. 
Their “Chaos Monkey” tool creates failures on purpose to test stability. This way, developers can work on the servers while fixing mistakes – and, when unexpected problems arrive, the company will be prepared. This is in fact a DevOps practice: making changes during the development process allows for resilient applications. 
It is all thanks to the “Netflix Simian Army”. Hundreds of developers volunteered to create tools that would solve errors before subscribers could spot them, giving origin to the Simian Army. Netflix continues its input in automation, making use of DevOps and adopting new technologies to revolutionize the entertainment market. 

A leader in online retail, Amazon migrated to cloud storage for its engineers to have more capacity to work. The platform used is AWS – Amazon Web Services. This invention saved money and revolutionized how continuous deployment works, as developers are able to deploy to any server they want, whenever they want. In a matter of seconds, Amazon was deploying new software after just one year of creating AWS.
AWS is the only way Amazon stores its data – on cloud rather than physically. Now, many other successful companies make use of AWS to store data. 

Thanks to DevOps, Sony reduced its delivery time from months to minutes. This way, developers were able to focus on other features without many resources or expenses. This was possible thanks to a cloud system platform and the continuous delivery model Sony adopted. 

It has not been so long since Adobe implemented DevOps. The industry, just like the others, transitioned to cloud services, and were able to perform minor software upgrades thanks to microservices containers and CI/CD. This allowed for faster delivery and simplified communication. The company makes use of Docker, Kubernetes, Jenkins and Spinnaker tools, and also CloudMunch’s platform to automate deployments. With these changes, Adobe has been able to meet more than half of the development demands it needs. 

How to Implement DevOps at Your Company

Implementing DevOps is far from being a complicated journey. However, it must be done correctly. Many companies who are starting their digital transformation shift towards DevOps often misinterpret the steps it takes to fully put DevOps into practice. 

An organization must first take into consideration the state in which it is currently in, then implement a DevOps culture to define the process and also the toolchains to be used. The whole intent of DevOps is to have a delivery of software and applications that are fluid. 

 

Here is a step-by-step guide to implement DevOps in any organization: 

  1. Analyze the company’s situation

    Study the methods currently used in the organization. In order for them to be replaced, there has to be a solid understanding of where the company currently is and where it wants to go to, so the solutions can be well thought through.

  2. Invest in a mindset change

    It is no surprise that, for DevOps to be implemented, the team who will perform such practices must understand them first. Cooperation among team members must be improved through activities, training and available information that encourage collaboration and transparency.

  3. Define the process

    Start small – the goal is to attend to the ever- changing needs of customers and deploy applications fast and efficiently. Make sure the team is comfortable and understands the tasks and requirements well, so communication is bridged, and customer needs are met.

  4. Select your toolchain

    Choose tools that are compatible with your teams and their expertise. This way, conflicts are avoided, and the workflow becomes smooth because the tools used are compatible with each DevOps process and each pace and strategy from the team members.

  5. Automate and deliver

    Automation keeps up with the speed DevOps requires, and allows for changes and testing in code development and middleware – saving time and cost for a company. Once automation is done, continuous delivery takes place. A successful DevOps strategy has continuous delivery as a main factor – developers can identify defects and work on feedback.

  6. Set metrics

    DevOps is all about speed, quality and good performance. Therefore, it is necessary to have metrics so that teams can associate with business goals and improve with what is relevant. It is good to think about the financial situation of the company, as well as the customers and team innovation – but other important metrics are frequency of deployment, company objectives responsible with customers’ needs, and the time needed to recover from failure. With such metrics, organizations can have the data necessary to possess control over the software development stage.

Structuring Your DevOps Team

As we have mentioned in our previous blogs, DevOps is a set of practices used by both development and operations teams – or maybe all teams – in an organization, for the sake of attending to customers’ needs and deliver softwares or applications much faster and in better quality.

Many big enterprises have successfully learned with their respective roadblocks, and implemented DevOps by aggregating tools that worked well with their teams.

However, finding the right toolchain is not enough for DevOps to be implemented successfully. A company might understand what the concept of DevOps is and select the most useful tools to put it into practice – but having a dedicated and competent team plays another important role in completing a DevOps implementation.

DevOps Roles

In terms of structure, some specific roles are crucial to build an efficient DevOps team. For example:

Showcases the benefits of DevOps through the value that a business can gain from IT. The DevOps Evangelist’s responsibility is to promote the benefits of DevOps itself, ensure these benefits are understood, and that professionals are qualified and trained for the tasks.

Whenever an organization is in the works with a project, the Release Manager has the function to coordinate said project, from development to production, to make sure continuous delivery is maintained – as well as the toolchain. The Release Manager is someone who is familiar with Agile, and who can measure all the different project metrics to give DevOps the visibility it needs from others.

This professional prioritizes the part of the project that focuses on the customer. They keep a close watch on user experience, as well as in new features deployed – as they will be evaluated by the public. They ensure the final product has all the necessary features and is delivered for a positive user experience.

This role is responsible for designing strategies of Continuous Deployment. Not only that, but the Automation Architect also implements and analyzes those strategies, to find the necessary tools to make sure the DevOps process is properly automated. This way, it is possible to deliver codes faster and in higher quality throughout different phases of the project.

Writes and tests codes in accordance with business’ requirements, deploys and monitors throughout the project. The role also works towards automation, as it is necessary to deliver quality codes efficiently – for this reason, Software Developers work well along with Automation Architects.

Security has to always come first in matters where technology is involved. Therefore, a Security Engineer ensures any and all regulations regarding the product are met – for the sake of building and maintaining trust, and keeping an organization safe. They also work closely with developers to make sure the product is safe from any form of attack, as well as the users.

This role can be consisted of a team of people who can take up different responsibilities throughout the development of a project with ease – they can be involved in management, development, or security. This role exists because, in DevOps, it is very important to have a team with a variety of skillsets.

This role is relatively new and mainly responsible for the infrastructure of the Cloud. Looking to see if the infrastructure is in order, developing high-quality code scales to be delivered, and keeping the Cloud secured against viruses or hackers are the main responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer.

Having the roles pointed and figured out is one thing – but the people to perform such roles are, of course, needed. And so, how can a company introduce a team? Defining the tools and the roles are not enough, as people need to understand DevOps at its core, and work as a true team.

So, here is a step-by-step guide on how a company can structure a DevOps team for itself:

  • Step 1: Assemble roles that align with business objectives

    The previously provided list showcases important roles that are fit for a DevOps team. This first step is made of new or existing experts, with intertwined skillsets, that are capable of assuming the responsibilities of their tasks and, most important of all, can build communication and collaboration among themselves.

  • Step 2: Avoid jumping to DevOps practices right away

    However, the amount and the functions or titles of such roles can vary from one organization to another – it all depends on the business objectives of a company. Therefore, the second step is not to dive into practices as soon as the roles are defined, but align them with business objectives, as each team is going to vary depending on the company and its values and culture.

  • Step 3: Select the right toolchain

    The DevOps tools are what will make each part of the process come to fruition. Team members will know what is expected of them and how to perform – but they will need an efficient toolchain that will allow them to go through each step of a project’s process.

  • Step 4: Implement the practices

    Finally – after defining roles that are in accordance with the company, and selecting the best candidates for them –, a company can start to make proper use of DevOps. With the right toolchain, team members will then be able to perform continuous integration and delivery, testing, automation, deployment, etc.

  • Step 5: Measure the team’s performance

    A company can have everything – the DevOps strategy set up and aligned with the business’ goals, and the team ready with its toolchain. But DevOps must not be implemented just “once” – the team has to constantly keep an eye on how they are doing their tasks and measure their effectiveness. This can be done with performance indicators – revenue growth, client satisfaction, employee satisfaction, profit margin are just examples of key performance indicators a DevOps team can guide itself with.

  • Step 6: Give extra attention to the team’s communication and collaboration

    The DevOps steps throughout the lifecycle of a project cannot proceed properly and efficiently if team members do not get along well. Companies must make sure their collaboration is efficient and their communication is clear and consistent – so development and deployment and all in between can work smoothly.

There are different ways to structure a DevOps team, and one team varies from the other. In this article, we have given examples of roles usually played at most DevOps teams and the various steps companies can take to make sure their team works out well – however, each organization is going to have the team it needs. And that is why there are various structures to a DevOps team.

A DevOps team, in its most simple resolution, puts development and operations working together to build, test and deploy faster software. On the other hand, these two groups can also work in collaboration with each other instead – as it is the case in companies like Facebook or Netflix, individuals both develop and operate applications.

Google, unlike the other two mentioned, uses the DevOps/SRE structure, where the product is sent by the development team to the Site Reliability Engineering team to run the software. This way, both these teams are composed of the operations team, working in all the operational criteria of a project.

DevOps can also be external – meaning a company uses another company for its DevOps activities, usually making use of a team for a limited amount of time. Either way, in any of these models, existing silos must be broken, and improvement must be constant.

Regardless of the structure, a DevOps team should practice regularly and share knowledge, as well as be high-functional. This can all be achieved through good communication among team members, and a solid understanding of the practices and tools in use. With these factors in mind, a DevOps team can thrive – and so can the company.

The Agile Manifesto

Agile is an approach to software project management intended to develop products more efficiently and get them to the market faster.  

It all started a manifesto. In the early 2000s, a group of software industry leaders got together at a ski resort to have fun and talk business. The result of this gathering generated the Agile Manifesto – as the creators themselves like to point out, the meeting originated “the need for an alternative to documentation driven, heavyweight software development processes convened.”

Agile Values

The Agile Manifesto is composed of four values that must be carried on by organizations and leaders. They are: 

⦁ Individuals and interactions over processes and tools 

⦁ Working software over comprehensive documentation 

⦁ Customer collaboration over contract negotiation 

⦁ Responding to change over following a plan 

Agile Principles

Agile practitioners also follow a set of twelve principles that cannot be forgotten: 

⦁ Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software

⦁ Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage

⦁ Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale

⦁ Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project 

⦁ Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done

⦁ The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation

⦁ Working software is the primary measure of progress

⦁ Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely

⦁ Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility

⦁ Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential 

⦁ The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams

⦁ At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly 

In short, these principles were laid out to make sure customers received constant and regular deliverables, regardless of any last-minute changes that were required. For that to be more efficient, there has to be ongoing communication among everyone involved in the project. 

With the right people placed in the right positions, projects can be designed well, with the possibility to co-locate at any given moment, for the sake of the project’s completion. The goal of Agile is to improve during iterations, only to achieve a good end product for the client.

Project Development Steps

When an Agile team gets together to develop a project, there is a defined set of steps they must logically follow.

Project Planning

Served to understand the end goal and value, the Agile team needs to first plan the project methodically.

Product Roadmap

Up until the end product is finally achieved, all the features must be broken down. Similar to project planning, this stage involves the team discussing what will go into the project – only that a product backlog is created once tasks are laid out. The product backlog contains a list of such tasks that the team can slowly perform. 

Release Planning 

At set intervals in the phases of the project, the team releases certain features. Each release is carefully planned and evaluated with each sprint. 

Sprint Planning 

It is during this stage that tasks are defined and distributed to each team member. Up until when releases should happen, there are duties to be accomplished and workflows to be defined during iteration – and these are all laid out during sprint planning. 

Daily Sprint

Concealed in the format of a short 15-minutes meeting, this event is when team members assess their accomplishments and roadblocks from the previous day, and what they plan to do next. 

Sprint Review 

Once sprints are done, the Agile team reviews the iteration and everything that was achieved. The final product should be introduced here, as well as what could have been done better. If a team is new to Agile, this meeting is of utmost importance. 

 

Agile has great, proven internal benefits for the companies that opt to use it. However, that does not mean adopting the methodology is right for everyone – not all businesses need Agile to make a project succeed. 

If the project is well understood, for example, there is no need to apply Agile. That is because Agile is meant to break down the project in different stages with the goal of reducing insecurities of how the end product might turn out. If all the necessary steps and tasks are already clear enough – there is no need for constant planning. Applying Agile could also result in different products when those are supposed to be exactly the same. 

Another example is when stakeholders do not want Agile, as they cannot offer their time for constant communication, or a company is, simply put, not ready for the methodology. 

But how would one know their company is not ready for Agile? 

The stakeholders, as was mentioned above, might not be able to take part in it. Or the company requires, for some reason, a lot of physical documentation to gather data. Or staff just does not understand Agile well, and are unable to be cross-functional because of their roles. A shift in the company culture and appropriate training are required for a business to start going Agile. 

Once it is decided that changes will be made to accommodate this set of practices, the Agile benefits come to light. 

Agile can provide a business with speed to market. It can be faster to produce and provide value to users and their preferences thanks to constant iterations and feedback. This can also bring great flexibility – Agile is also about accommodating change, after all. 

With these changes, the product can then be constantly tested, allowing defects to be found quicker and easier – when this happens, developers can manage risks easier. There is also the scope of launching a product sooner while not spending so much money in the process, which assures teams can stick to a budget they have previously set. The constant user-feedback and constant delivery tests also assure an overall quality achieved in the product. 

Agile is a great approach to develop products, and many successful enterprises make use of it to keep themselves in the market. Since its creation, Agile has spread and gained massive popularity, going beyond the technological field. 

Agile also goes beyond software – as we have talked about before, DevOps is a strain of Agile itself. 

The Agile Umbrella

As we have previously mentioned in this LinkedIn post, Agile is a set of practices created by IT experts in the early 2000s, to make it easier for software projects to be executed and delivered. With time, Agile became popular and is now applied across organizations and is known as more than a set of practices and principles.  

But Agile is not something on its own – it has related components, and together with these components they provide for a modern business operating model. This article intends to talk about such related elements. 

The related elements include DevOps, Scrum, a number of Developments methods, and Kanban as a complementary tool. 

Agile versus Waterfall 

Before Agile came to be, many companies used the Waterfall method. Waterfall gained this name because the phases of a project only happen once, and there is no going back – meaning that, if a mistake is committed in one phase of the project, this mistake would be carried on throughout the entirety of it. There’s no continuous feedback on it, and the user does not see or opines on the product until it is fully done. 

The issue with Waterfall is exactly this one – it is easy to have defects that were not caught and solved beforehand, resulting in dissatisfaction and extreme expenses. Agile is the opposite of that – it is a practical and fast-paced approach that fuels in communication and collaboration. 

While Agile requires changes to be constant, Waterfall works well when the project scope is already well defined. Consequently, when a mistake happens, the project must start again. With Waterfall, the features of a project are not organized in priority – this gives a great margin for either failure or a total success – and the customer does not get involved as much. For these reasons, Waterfall works better if the scope is very well done, so there is no need to revisit it. 

Agile is the complete opposite in every aspect, and that is why it has solved many issues Waterfall possesses. 

Agile and Kanban 

On the other hand, Kanban introduces change by means of improvement. Created in the late 90s by Japanese company Toyota, this method focuses on the state of workflow of a project. The English translation for this word is “visual card” – hence why Kanban is usually managed with a lot of papers that gain the name of “Kanban Board”.  

A Kanban Board is a visual representation of the work being done through the use of – mainly – colourful sticky notes on a board, separated by categories: to be done; doing and done. This way, it is possible to see how the work is flowing, what needs to be finalized and how much is still left to complete. 

Kanban is a great complement to Agile. 

 

Now, back to its elements: 

DevOps 

DevOps is Agile extended beyond software – as we have covered before, development and operations came together to bring more efficiency and communication to projects. Many big and famous enterprises – like Netflix, Amazon, Nordstrom or Sony – were able to excel and get to where they are right now thanks to DevOps.  

Scrum 

Scrum is a known framework for software projects. It provides the necessary tools for Agile adoption. Scrum is the most popular element of the Agile umbrella.  

Scrum compositions 

In Scrum, tasks are placed by order of importance, and are to be dealt with accordingly. These tasks are kept in what is called the Product Backlog, and the tasks are usually named “user stories”. They can be requirements, special features or fixes that a team has to work on – a to-do list that is constantly revised and changed as priorities shift. 

For each iteration Agile has, Scrum is divided in “sprints”. And, for each sprint cycle, the selected work to be done is known as the Sprint Backlog. This backlog includes items taken out of the Product Backlog, to be done in the current sprint. During a different sprint, the team selects more items to form a new sprint backlog. 

But what are sprints? 

Sprints are timeboxes used by teams to get a set amount of work done, from the product backlog. The sprint is a Scrum event divided into different phases of development: 

Sprint Planning 

This is where the development team discusses what tasks will be performed for set amount of time. Along with that, it is defined the priority of each task, how long it will take for each one to be completed, any necessary resources for completion, or roadblocks that might come along. At the end, the backlog is created, and a goal is defined. 

Daily Sprint 

This consists of a daily – but, sometimes, weekly – meeting among team members to check on any progress and assess how the next day is going to be. This meeting has a usual duration of 15 minutes, and is also known as “Daily Scrum”. 

Sprint Review 

This stage occurs in the last day of the sprint, where the team shows stakeholders what has been done, allowing them to get feedback on their work and take note on what can be done for future sprints. 

Sprint Retrospective 

The final event is where the development team assesses what was well done and can be improved in the future – as there is always room for improvement. All of the Scrum roles take part in this phase. 

And what are the Scrum roles? 

The three most essential roles in Scrum are only three: 

⦁ The Product Owner – they are the people who manage the product backlog, define the most to least important tasks, and decide when the product is final and ready to launch. 

⦁ The Scrum Master – this is the mentor of the group. They coach everyone involved in their tasks, and make sure communication and collaboration are smooth. 

⦁ The Development Team – and finally, the developers. They are the backbone of the entire Scrum team; performing the tasks to create the final product that will go out in the market.

 

Forming an Agile Team

Since its creation in the early 2000s, Agile has been gradually used in the technology field and, eventually, in areas that were not related to IT at all. Today, it is common to find companies of different expertise applying Agile practices to keep business running by making use of an Agile team. 

On the other hand, there are companies that still need to start applying Agile – the first step is to understand this set of practices, and the second step is to form an Agile team. 

The most important steps to building a great Agile team are only three:

⦁ Team balance – when the right people are put in the right places, the team can experience positive outcomes regarding flexibility or collaboration. For an effective balance to be achieved, staff must be analyzed and placed in equivalent roles. 

⦁ Failure – in Agile, committing errors is not something to be ashamed of. When a team fails, its members learn with their mistakes so those can be avoided in the future. The challenge lies in teaching this philosophy to staff. Since people often see failure in a bad light, it is of utmost importance for the company to include in its culture an understanding of the importance of failures. 

⦁ Communication – the most important trait of an Agile team is being able to communicate. With clear and transparent communication, team members can learn from mistakes (as mentioned), raise issues, give input, and congratulate one another on their achievements. 

Agile teams are composed of stakeholders, developers, product owners, coaches and Scrum masters that follow exactly the three points mentioned above. Members often have several shared skills and an open mindset for dealing with one another or with diversity. Sometimes, mentorship is necessary – but even when staff don’t know what Agile is, they can still perform it exceptionally well after learning. 

Every Agile team goes through a process found in Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development. More recently, the stages have been updated, and consist of: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. 

The forming stage is for the introductions. In this stage, team members have their roles defined and project expectations cleared. In the storming stage, the different opinions are brought to life and conflicts tend to arise. But remember – Agile teams solve their arising issues thanks to their open minds. 

Next comes the norming stage, in which a team is already more confident – the project’s goal is well-defined, and members have their efforts recognized. On the performing stage, there is more trust and successes are more celebrated, since team members now have more confidence, giving more deliverables. 

And, last but not least, the updated version – the adjourning stage. In here, the team goes through the “lesson learned” phase and disbands, causing potential sadness. After learning about the project and one another, and delivering the final product, the members have done their duties and must part ways, bidding farewell with a party. 

This is a process all Agile teams go through. Now, for this process to even start, an Agile team must come to light, first of all. 

And how to create an Agile team?

Be aware of Tuckman’s Stages 

Once you are familiar with the forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning previously mentioned, you also understand it takes time. Patience is a virtue in Agile. 

Welcome change 

With Agile, not everything is 100 per cent certain and stable forever. Change is a constant variant with this methodology, unlike its rival Waterfall – Agile teams must know to embrace and adapt to frequent changes in the process of making a final product. 

Final outcome over process 

Once the end result is decided, it is time to discuss how to get there. An Agile team does not need to dwell on the way of the journey, allowing itself to take the liberty of choosing different paths – that is because what matters is the end. This gives team members more confidence to innovate or express opinions, and everyone becomes responsible for how the final product turned out, rather than only for their individual actions. 

Feed on feedback 

Constant feedback from clients or stakeholders is an Agile best-practice. When creating an Agile team, make sure members do not hide or ignore issues that arise – they have to be able to listen and learn from all the feedback they can get, so they can always improve more and more up until the final product is done. 

Have trust 

To form an Agile team, there has to be trust among everyone involved. A true Agile team cannot function without characteristics already known to those familiar with this set of practices – communication, collaboration and transparency, but also trust. Team members must trust that others will make ends meet, get tasks done, and take care of their individual responsibilities for the sake of the entire team. Agile is a great choice of practices for projects to get done, and forming an Agile team is a great way to make sure projects will be done well. 

 

Scrum

Agile practices are elements that complement one another for the benefit of companies’ projects. Agile aims to facilitate development teams in their process of creating products for the market in a much cost-efficient fashion. And one of the elements of the Agile family is Scrum.

Scrum is an efficient framework for project management, and effective for teams that need to build and ship things frequently.

And, just like in Agile, Scrum has its foundation of rules – its values and principles. They were set to define and simplify the structure of the framework and what its practitioners should keep in mind.

Scrum is consisted of five values. They are: 

⦁ Courage: Team members do the right thing and work on tough problems 

⦁ Respect: Team members respect each other to be capable and independent 

⦁ Commitment: Team members personally commit to achieving team goals 

⦁ Openness: Team members and stakeholders are open about all the work and the challenges the team encounters 

⦁ Focus: Concentrate on the work identified for the sprint and the goals of the team

And its principles – known as the Three Pillars – are:

⦁ Transparency: The team must work in an environment where everyone is aware of what issues other team members are running into. Teams surface issues within the organization, often ones that have been there for a long time, that get in the way of the team’s success

⦁ Inspection: Frequent inspection points built into the framework to allow the team an opportunity to reflect on how the process is working. These inspection points include the Daily Scrum meeting and the Sprint Review Meeting 

⦁ Adaptation: The team constantly investigates how things are going and revises those items that do not seem to make sense 

The Roles played in Scrum 

Now that we understand what Scrum is, we then must ask ourselves – who makes the projects possible? Who is behind of it all? 

There are three main components involved in each Sprint: the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and the Development Team. 

The Scrum Master is a servant-leader committed to the values and principles of Scrum. They guide the Development Team throughout the project without authority, but simply by being flexible and keeping communication open for the work to flow better. 

The Product Owner manages the product backlog. They keep the items in order, defining the level or difficulty, urgency or importance in them in order to assist the Development Team in performing their tasks efficiently. 

The Development Team creates the product. The members perform tasks se by the Product Owner, with the help of the Scrum Master, making sure all the set phases of the Sprint Lifecycle are correctly followed. 

The Sprint Lifecycle

Scrum allows teams to think of a strategy, elaborate on it and see if it works. As the Agile Alliance puts it, Scrum is capable of embodying other frameworks as long as it makes sense with what the team is working on – it is efficient as long as it lasts throughout the iteration it was set to: a couple of weeks.

Once a team starts to work on a project, the Sprint Lifecycle is also initiated. In a series of iterations – that is, the Sprints –, the product is developed up until it is shippable, and the lifecycle contains all the tasks necessary for this outcome. 

Sprints have a set duration of a few months; with defined start dates and deadlines the development team must follow. When one Sprint ends, the next one should start immediately.

And, for a Sprint to come to life in the first place, a backlog needs to be created, containing all the tasks that are to be completed by the end of the sprint – and the tasks must be ordered by importance.

Once that is done, the Sprint Lifecycle beings.

Sprint Planning

This is where the team defines the scope and delivery of the Sprint. The development team discusses which and how many items from the backlog are going to be worked on – generating a Sprint Backlog.

This is the first part of Sprint Planning. During the second part, the team discusses on the delivery and defines the necessary steps for the outcome. On a daily basis, the development team lays down their next-day activities in a short meeting called “Daily Scrum”.

Sprint Review

When the activities come to an end – that is, when an item from the Product Backlog is completed, achieving its “definition of Done” –, everyone involved in the process reviews the results with stakeholders to get feedback on the product. Any discussions or comments are added into the Backlog for future reference.

Sprint Retrospective

At the very end of the Sprint, the entire team gets together to make reflections – they note what was rightfully done, what was well done, what were the mistakes made and what were the lessons learned with these mistakes. Then, the cycle repeats itself – until the product is ready to launch.

 

Scrum constantly proves itself to be a great ally when it comes to not lonely project management – but also great teamwork, open communication and fair leadership.

A business that applies Scrum and Agile into their workplace environment and project aspirations goes above and beyond.

 

Microservices

When we open an application to use it, we don’t usually think about how this entire process of tapping on the screen works – we follow instructions that are pretty obvious and easy to execute, and all this magic seems to happen at the tip of our fingers. 

Back in the 2000s, big tech companies used to manage large containers of data – this factor worked up to the point when issues would rise, and getting the software running again would become a tiring series of tasks.  

Nowadays, the data is divided in many different services – each independently placed within the Cloud, acting as “commands” to each result of action we are about to take. 

Therefore, Microservices, as it is called, are a cloud-based architecture composed of many independent services. With services being broken down, it becomes much faster to manage them. 

Microservices and DevOps 

Microservices have a strong tie to DevOps. As we have mentioned before, DevOps is a set of software practices intended to keep a system’s lifecycle shorter and better in quality. The architecture is composed of services that are small and so, can be deployed easily – hence why microservices work so well with DevOps and CI/CD.

A system’s lifecycle in microservices requires development and operations teams to have knowledge on how to employ the architecture in various development projects.

Besides, when investments are made in the lifecycle of a system for automation, monitoring and deployment, then the green light is given to make use of microservices. Such applications are effectively developed and maintained with a decentralized continuous delivery and with development-operational practices.

Microservices demand the use of DevOps to work.

Aside from that – coding can also be done much easier, different languages can be used in different components, and they can be worked on independently without hurting all the application.

Micro benefits

Every element being worked on in microservices can be treated individually – and have a stack suited for its particular function. Stacking can be a headache and, having it stored as cloud services can facilitate management. In microservices, coding can be reusable.

In other words, microservices simplify update, deployment and scaling in a software, allowing each application to run as a service.

And the benefits of decomposing applications into services are many. To list a few:

Development

As it was already mentioned – individual teams develop, deploy and scale their service, independent from others.

Scalability

After the development process, the independent services can also be monitored and scaled one by one.

Modularity

Where the architecture can become more resilient when developing and testing an application – with modularity, it becomes better to understand how an application operates.

Integration

Transitioning the software application to integrate microservices is a modernization of how applications work, and enterprises are already caught up to the process.

 

Many companies made the transition to microservices – Uber, Netflix, Amazon, Spotify are just a few names added to the line.

However, there is still hesitation on this topic of companies making the switch to Microservices – many still use the traditional approach of monolithic architecture.

Microservices x Monolithic

The monolithic architecture builds and deploys applications altogether, with all its features grouped as one unit. If there are any updates, the entire structure must be altered and, with time, it can become complex to manage it – hence why the process takes longer to deploy.

A monolithic architecture works well if a product has to be launched quickly – although updates take longer –, and works well on a small team that does not need the complexity of microservices.

A microservices architecture, on the other hand, works well on a team that is looking to grow or that is already big. That is because microservices allows teams to be more independent and individual, much like an Agile environment works. By working on services separately, these teams can do a faster and better job at completing their tasks, rather than wasting a lot of time on the development cycle.

Parallel to this faster aspect, there’s also the freedom teams feel when, by acting independent, members can choose how to solve their own specific roadblocks – meaning there are selective tools for each micro-service performed. It is indeed a great architecture.

 

Microservices permits the applications to handle failure without crashing completely, allowing us to make use of them every day. So, next time you open your Amazon account to place an order or tap on that Uber app to get yourself some comfort food, remember – all these clicks and small functions happen thanks to the microservices architecture. 

Digital Transformation

What is Digital Transformation

Ever since the beginning of time, mankind has always looked for ways to survive and evolve – from different hunting techniques to the quickest way of choosing which meat you’d like to purchase online. For millions of years, humans have had revolutionary ideas that evolved into something more. 

A good example of this would be the Industrial Revolution. When everyone was used to threading at home, someone stepped in to evolve and start threads in a machine. In the Britain of the mid-18th century, the textile industry and the steam engine were the steppingstone for an agrarian method to be replaced with machinery.

Once people were familiar with this part of production, it was time to evolve into something more again – the Second Industrial Revolution invested in steel, oil and electricity. Aside from transportation, communication was also surprisingly improved thanks to advancements with electricity. The Third Revolution came in the 1980s, when electronics and computers began to gain traction, and the Internet changed communication forever. 

It is believed that we are currently living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution – the period where technology allowed us to evolve even more with automation, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, 3D technology, and so on. It is a Revolution where machinery is not simply advancing even more – but where virtual reality emerges with the physical world, changing every single aspect of individuals’ lives.

It is important to understand the potential of this Fourth Industrial Revolution technology – including automation and algorithms to create high quality jobs that add value for customers; and improve job quality and productivity of employees. As has been the case with previous revolutions, the augmentation of existing jobs with technology creates entirely new value-added new tasks, opening up an entirely new range of work.

Enters Digital Transformation.

Digital Transformation integrates technology more deeply into business workflow than ever before, adding value for all users across the business to increase value for end customers. It forces companies to change their culture and values so they can keep up with rapid changes or market demands without fearing failure.

A company may start its digital transformation journey for a number of reasons – either because customer experience must be improved, or because productivity must increase, or profits must elevate. Or it might be simply because society is changing, and such changes require people to act fast.

Once on its digital transformation journey – a company that acts boldly and with an Agile mindset will perform best. An organization can decide to be the best one to do business with, and go after the necessary changes to improve business – select the best staff, automate, make use of Agile and DevOps, and so on.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

Digital Transformation has been accelerated by COVID-19.

Since COVID-19 started, it was only a matter of time before people’s lives to change in every aspect – and it was no different for companies, regardless of their size. The coronavirus pandemic sped up the digital transformation process – and, consequently, the fourth industrial revolution.

The pandemic pushed into the agendas of enterprises a wider customer support through chat boxes, much more automation tools, remote schedules, and good work rather than perfect work – instead of focusing on producing perfect results, employees had to stop and content themselves with what is simply good and not waste time with little details.

Employee experience jumped to first in the queue, leaving customer experience in second – if employees were to adapt to a new routine thanks to lockdowns, they naturally can only provide customers with decent services once they get used to the new work environment first. If employees are happy, then customers are happy and, consequently, a company can thrive.

The first major change, however, was creating an even more inclusive range of services online. With so many available tools already digitalized, it did not seem clear that we were capable of automating services even more. However, thanks to the lockdowns the pandemic caused, the majority of businesses and customer interactions are digital in nature. Experimenting with digital technologies gave companies a chance to innovate in their fields and advance in the market, allowing them to speed up on top and become successful.

Another aspect was remote and hybrid working. Companies moved much quicker in their activities when employees were able to work from home and have more freedom. Such a drastic change would probably take years to concretize – but the pandemic brought it sooner, forcing enterprises to come with solutions in a matter of months rather than years. What was not a priority for executives suddenly became the only factor a business could be up and running.

These new implementations and technology adoptions were studied in the long-term, and businesses do not intend to go back to the old ways – now that changes were invested in, companies are doing much better, since moving to virtual models allowed bottlenecks to be solved. Remote work and cloud migration showed themselves to be more effective and efficient, and allowed companies to spend time and investment on artificial intelligence and data security, which improves business overall.

Such changes in company culture and foundation also allowed for the creation of new roles that were required for the digital transformation of these companies.

The Emerging Roles of Digital Transformation

Most companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their workforce based on the job profiles of their candidates today. However, businesses also expect to extend their workforce with digital transformation appropriate roles. Additionally, businesses are set to expand their use of contractors doing task-specialized work.

With organizations rapidly putting into practice the technological changes accelerated by the pandemic amid the Industrial Revolution phase we are currently witnessing, Digital Transformation requires roles that accommodate how companies will be portrayed in the digital world.

For that, a digital transformation team needs to be assembled. Either with new experts or existing professionals, training needs to be done and education needs to be available to all – technology is always changing and evolving, and an enterprise and its people need to change with it.

Among the many roles, some are:

Customer Experience Experts

Thinking about customers is one of the most important things for a business – if not the first most important thing. Having experts in customer experience makes a company’s digital transformation successful for the fact that those people can analyze how the company and the customer interact with one another. With this data, they can work and test with front-end engineers, and the operations and data teams to break silos and ensure customers have a great experience overall.

Brand Strategists

Tagging along with the customer experience team, brand strategists are essential for the digital transformation of a company thanks to the critical role marketing plays in any business. With good branding, a business can not only transmit confidence and consistency for old customers but also attract new ones. 

System Integrators

This team deals with the design and development of applications, linking different systems to make sure they are working well together. The best fields fit for this role is information technology, mass media, or computer networking.

Automation Director

Automation is one aspect of the Industrial Revolution that was sped up by the pandemic thanks to the working-from-home philosophy. The duty of a director of automation role – or a Head of Automation, or Director of Process Automation, or Director of Robotics – is to ensure projects get successfully completed, and then automated. Sometimes, the less is better.

Data Scientists and Architects

Storing data is not only important, but also essential for any company to run its business well. Data contains information on customers, employees, company documents, agreements, or projects. Data Scientists will study all these elements for the sake of digital transformation; and Data Architects maintain all of it – all the data is designed, centralized and protected thanks to them. This role in particular has become crucial, as everything is turning digital.

DataOps Engineer

The DataOps Engineer takes care of data analytics deployment for data scientists to do their development. The engineers test and monitor data, and increase productivity through automation, making full use of Agile and DevOps practices.  

Cloud Specialists

Many companies, as a part of DevOps, have moved physical data into the cloud. Now, data in itself has the teams that deal with it. But where a data is stored exactly also has a team of its own – Cloud Specialists. Data is stored in the cloud and, therefore, the cloud needs to be protected and with its infrastructure working well. Migrating applications to the cloud is a very critical step for the digital transformation of a company.

The rise of workplace automation has the potential to vastly improve productivity and work quality of employees. Automation technology can help remove the burden of repetitive administrative work and enable employees to focus on solving more complex issues while reducing the risk of error, allowing them to focus on value-added tasks. 

A company that can leverage technology and embrace digital transformation can has its employees focused on high value tasks such as reasoning and decision-making. 

These changes are rapid and will be permanent. Companies had to adapt to the new routine, to the advancement of technology brought with this routine, and were faced with many surprises. COVID accelerated digital migration and created new digital transformation roles and, although many businesses were hit badly, others were able to make lemonades out of their lemons and use this new technological philosophy to innovate.

The Roles of DevOps, Agile and Microservices in Digital Transformation

Ever since the beginning of time, mankind has always looked for means to survive and evolve – from different hunting techniques to the quickest way of choosing which meat you’d like to purchase online. For millions of years, humans have had revolutionary ideas that evolved into something more.

The Industrial Revolution is a great example: when everyone was used to threading at home, someone stepped in to evolve and start threads in a machine instead. In the Britain of the mid-18th century, the textile industry and the steam engine were the steppingstone for an agrarian method to be replaced with machinery. 

Once people were familiar with this part of production, it was time to evolve into something more again – the Second Industrial Revolution invested in steel, oil and electricity. Aside from transportation, human interaction was also surprisingly improved thanks to advancements with electricity. The Third Revolution came in the 1980s, when electronics and computers began to gain traction, and the Internet changed communication forever.

It is believed that we are currently living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution – the period where technology allowed us to evolve even more with automation, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, 3D technology, and so on. It is a Revolution where machinery is not simply advancing even more – but where virtual reality emerges with the physical world, changing every single aspect of individuals’ lives.

It is important to understand the potential of this Fourth Industrial Revolution technology – including automation and algorithms to create high quality jobs that add value for customers; and improve job quality and productivity of employees. As has been the case with previous revolutions, the augmentation of existing jobs with technology creates entirely new value-added new tasks, opening up an entirely new range of work.

How iTechtions Helps Companies in Their Digital Transformation Journey

Once on its Digital Transformation journey, a company that acts boldly and with an Agile mindset will perform best. An organization can decide to be the best one to do business with, and go after the necessary changes to improve business – select the best staff, automate, make use of Agile and DevOps, and so on.

At iTechtions, we help companies achieve this goal: we partner with our clients to help them achieve their Digital Transformation journey by providing them with coaching and advisory on Agile practices and microservices architectures through a DevOps-related mentality.

Assisting enterprises throughout their Digital Transformation is what we are proud of – and what we do best.

 

3 Comments
  • Martin Cook
    7:06 AM, 17 August 2018

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