To some, DevOps is about culture, to others it’s a software development methodology on its own. While there will always be discussion and favorite definitions, DevOps has generally come to encompass a philosophy that emphasizes communication, collaboration and cooperation between software developers and the other stake holders in the information technology industry.
There is general acknowledgement that actual software development, quality assurance and IT operations are interdependent and there is a need to ensure that these functions (traditionally always functionally independent) need to work as one to ensure rapid delivery of products or services that meet industry standards. And this is why the concepts of continuous integration (for developers), automation (QA) and continuous delivery (IT operations) have become increasingly popular. The goal remains the same though – to deliver a stable, feature rich system to your end user.
DevOps has come to be recognized to incorporate a whole set of tools and technologies that seamlessly integrates the application or software development lifecycle from spec to design to development, testing and deployment. Properly implemented and integrated, these tools enable Continuous Build, Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing and Continuous Deployment. Thus, DevOps enables incremental, continuous deployment of small changes and updates to products and websites with minimal to zero downtime. In today’s world of SaaS-based application delivery and consumption, DevOps has become a critical success factor for technology vendors to deliver newer product features, defect fixes and performance and security updates in near real time.
The primary advantage that Kanban has is that it encourages teams to focus on improving flow in the system. As teams adopt Kanban, they become good at continuously delivering work they have completed. Thus, Kanban facilitates doing incremental product releases with small chunks of new functionality or defect fixes. This feature of Kanban makes it well suited to DevOps’ continuous delivery and deployment requirements.
The other big advantage of Kanban is how it enables you to visualize your entire value-stream and ensure stable flow. It helps you combine the workflows of different functions and activities right from Development to Integration/ Build, Test, Deployment and beyond that to application monitoring. Initially, it will help your Dev and Ops teams to work in a collaborative manner. Over a period of time, you can evolve into a single team and single workflow that includes all of Dev and Ops activities. Kanban provides you visibility to this entire process – and transformation to a DevOps culture.
This visibility ensures everyone knows what stages a work item must flow through to ensure it’s considered ‘Done and Successful’, and this has noticeable advantages –
Kanban cannot replace strategy and intent – you need to have developers who are willing to do bits of QA and understand how much change they can introduce into the system without disrupting the flow, and you need your operations team to understand what changes (features) to prepare for to ensure stability. It can definitely help with both though – when you have everyone on board (literally!) there is less tension all around and ensures every function (and individual) is more effective and knows what exactly needs to be done.
While Scrum can and does work well in delivery environments where the need to deliver may not be truly “continuous” (after all you are working with a minimum of a 2-3 week sprint cycle), Kanban’s very nature makes it more suitable. If you look at most DevOps implementations in the field – you’ll find it’s difficult to fit it into a standard sprint. Kanban’s pull rather than push, and the concept of flow that forms its basis sits rather well with DevOps. Also, continuous delivery and Kanban work well together – both are just-in-time systems that focus on getting one thing right at a time (most of the time!). And course, the flexibility that Kanban brings in is an added bonus.
Have you already adopted DevOps? Are you evaluating the use of Kanban for your DevOps teams? Using SwiftKanban and our integration product SwiftSync, we can help you get your DevOps solution up and running in no time at all. Just drop us a line at [email protected] or sign up for a free trial! If you would like us to work with you to develop your own DevOps solution, just let us know.
If you are already using SwiftKanban and need help with setting up your Kanban boards, contact us at [email protected]
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