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This post is from the XebiaLabs blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Mar 28, 2018 — DevOps Expert

7 Common Barriers to a Successful DevOps Transformation


Today, every enterprise is critically dependent on the software and online services they run. Those that learn to excel at software delivery will excel at their business. The engine behind enterprise software excellence today is DevOps. But unfortunately, not every enterprise that attempts a DevOps transformation will be successful.

Below are 7 common barriers that the XebiaLabs Customer Success team has seen when helping our customers implement DevOps in their production-facing environments.

1. Development team resisting change

It’s understandable if your developers are resistant to change—they’re invested in their toolsets, comfortable with their processes, and may be concerned that other areas of IT will encroach on their territory. It's vital that you clearly communicate to your developers the full value they bring to your DevOps transformation and how it will help them.

2. Operations team resisting change

It’s not just developers who are resistant to change—Operations teams are too. It makes sense given that the role of Operations is to be risk averse. When modernizing the software delivery process through a DevOps transformation, make sure to get Operations on board early. Also, seek their ideas on how to collaborate and how to improve the way the organization develops, delivers, and maintains applications.

3. An “If you’re not Ops you’re Dev” culture

Empathy between teams is key to DevOps, but many people think that translates to pizza and beer lunches, beanbag chairs, and mountain-climbing exploits. While all of that may be constructive, the crucial element to overcoming cultural obstacles is effective, empathetic communication. All teams in the application delivery pipeline—not just Development and Operations—need to put themselves in each other’s shoes.

4. Continuous Delivery pipeline that’s limited to a small set of the application stack

Some organizations are so eager to build their Continuous Delivery pipeline that they don’t take time to create it in a way that it can support their entire application stack. It’s important to take a comprehensive view of all your development pipelines and build or deploy a platform that supports how your development teams code. Don’t build a pipeline that requires teams to change how they develop.

5. Non-enterprise-grade Continuous Delivery pipeline

Many enterprises fall into the trap of building Continuous Delivery pipelines that fall short of their enterprise demands. They develop their pipelines independently, which hampers their ability to scale and increase production. Developing a set of standard templates for your pipelines enables more effective reporting and lets you compare the effectiveness of your pipelines, which in turn improves continuous feedback.

6. Hands-off management teams

In many enterprises, DevOps transformation grows organically from the front-line developers. While this is natural, it’s important that executive leadership not only be involved but have a total commitment to the transformation. It's not enough for your CIO to say, "We're doing DevOps." They need to be directly involved and understand what’s happening on the ground.

7. Not measuring progress

In DevOps, it’s important to continuously measure your progress, monitoring things like change failure rate across your delivery pipeline, change lead time, and deployment frequency. These measurements can serve as feedback loops that indicate how well your DevOps transformation is working. Be sure to choose metrics that are important for your organization and communicate them in a language that everyone can understand. For more detailed information and tips for overcoming these challenges, be sure to download our ebook: 7 All-too-common Barriers to Successful DevOps Transformation.

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