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Scrum, agile — what’s next? DevOps!
These days, as a tech recruiter for the Hong Kong financial services industry, I get many candidates asking me: “Does [XYZ company] operate in a DevOps environment?”
While there is still a cloud of mystery surrounding DevOps’ exact definition, the concept — seen as the next key trend after the “scrum” and “agile” frameworks — is basically about breaking down silos to help firms produce and run applications better.
Sounds confusing? That’s because it is.
DevOps, a combination of the word ‘development’ and ‘operations’, is more than a philosophy or a programme. It involves changing an organisation’s culture to have operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service lifecycle, from design and development to production support.
DevOps’ competitive advantage is evident.
High-performing IT organisations, for example, deploy 200 times more frequently than low performers, with 2,555 times faster lead times. They have 24 times faster recovery times and three times lower change failure rates, said the 2016 State of DevOps report.
While candidates in Hong Kong have been quick to pick up on this approach, financial institutions are, unfortunately, widely perceived as reluctant adopters.
But the truth is, we are seeing more financial giants, like Goldman Sachs, UBS and Morgan Stanley trying out DevOps. Financial institutions are, after all, under daily pressure to improve software development and operations to deliver applications and software faster.
And with the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority placing tighter control on all financial institutions, DevOps might just be the answer to helping businesses increase compliance.
If your company is contemplating adopting a DevOps approach, but is unsure how to proceed, the good news is that the move may be easier than you think. Already, many financial institutions have a high degree of “scrum” maturity, having cross-functional groups that are equipped to produce and support applications.
In my discussions with clients, some of the key non-technical strategies that have helped them with implementing DevOps included piloting small projects to test acceptance and feasibility before moving on to larger ones.
Another strategy was to “educate” and engage key stakeholders, like senior management and middle managers, for their buy-in. As an article on cio.com explains, for an IT strategy to succeed, you need full executive buy-in and support.
Build your business case for the change by highlighting the benefits, while also addressing how you’d control risks. Performing a risk analysis will indicate that you do not take DevOps as a cure-all and that you’d take the necessary steps to manage any challenges that may occur.