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August 13, 2019

What is DevOps?

2 mins read

DevOps transformations create high-performing organizations. At Excella, we know it’s not just about tools, processes, or people, but a mindset shift rooted in 5 Key Aspects, abbreviated CALMS:

  1. A generative, performance-oriented Culture
  2. Automation to improve speed, consistency, and quality
  3. Lean practices that focus on continual improvement of the end-to-end value stream
  4. Measurement and metrics to drive feedback loops
  5. Friction-free information flow through consistent and effective information Sharing

What are the Benefits of DevOps?

As the 2018 State of DevOps Report illustrates, high-performing organizations achieve remarkably better outcomes with DevOps. Moving faster increases safety, value, and productivity. Five ways DevOps delivers value are through:

  1. Faster delivery of value from more frequent deployments
  2. Reduced delivery risk by shortening lead times
  3. Reduced business risk by improving Agility and creating more opportunities to pivot
  4. Reduced operational risk by lowering mean time to recover
  5. Improved employee retention and recruiting by making it easier for employees to see their impact

So You Want Better Outcomes?

Excella has expertise in all aspects of DevOps and we use it to help our clients achieve better outcomes. myUSCIS is a ground-breaking website that is transforming how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does business. Excella helped the program win the ACT-IAC Igniting Innovation overall award for 2016. Excella’s DevOps expertise also helped the USCIS Verifications Program win the same award for 2017.

In our approach to DevOps, we analyze value streams to shorten cycle times, eliminate waste, and accelerate value delivery. We establish a generative culture through safe-to-fail experimentation. We break down functional siloes with cross-functional teams and visual information radiators. We create Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines and use Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to improve speed, consistency, and quality.

Our CI/CD pipelines execute a series of automated tests against each merge. Once tests confirm the code changes meet established standards for security, quality, and reliability, our pipelines trigger blue/green deployments. We move the code through environments with IaC to ensure consistency and repeatability. On one of our projects, we deploy to production up to 100 times each week and we go from “code commit” to running in production in 20 minutes.

Cultural behaviors maximize the value of this infrastructure. If any part of the pipeline fails, the team “stops the line” and addresses the problem before continuing. Rapid and frequent deliveries to production allow us to experiment and A/B test new features to validate we are meeting user needs. Visibility into the entire process flow allows us to monitor cycle times and relentlessly drive them down. Regular and consistent feedback—about the product, the work, and the process—drives continual improvement.

How do you build your own knowledge?

If you’re interested in learning more about DevOps, we recommend connecting with the community. Locally, attend DevOps DC, the largest DevOps meetup in DC with over 3800 members. You can also attend DevOps Baltimore.

For events outside this area, check out the  annual DevOps Enterprise Summits in London and Las Vegas.


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