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How to tell if your company is DevOps ready

Without an accurate assessment of an organization's current state, there's no way to know if it’s in the position to undergo the kind of drastic shift that DevOps demands.

There’s one thing that everybody can agree on with regards to DevOps: successful implementation doesn't happen overnight. It's a serious undertaking that requires cultural and structural shifts just as much as it demands changes to processes and technologies. Not every organization is ready to make the leap. So what can you do to determine if your company is DevOps ready?

Above all, a business needs to know where it stands. It may sound obvious, but without an accurate assessment of the organization's current state, there's no way to know if it’s in the position to undergo the kind of drastic shift that DevOps demands. And without that knowledge, it's impossible to identify pain points and prioritize the laundry list of changes that are about to occur.

In fact, assessing your company's DevOps readiness is such a crucial part of the process that the DevOps Research and Assessment Team (DORA) has created a DevOps Scorecard to help assess enterprise IT capabilities in four different categories: Technical, Process, Measurement, and Culture. Also providing priority analysis, the Scorecard helps businesses understand which changes are the most essential to achieve successful DevOps adoption.

Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Solution Marketing and Management at CA Technologies, noted in a recent post that looking at other companies that have successfully implemented DevOps is a great way to survey the current landscape and determine certain best practices. But the Scorecard goes beyond looking at just the all-stars; it also tests companies to the "industry benchmark." For example, the DevOps Scorecard compares your company to the 50th percentile in a number of key outcome categories like lead time, deployment frequency, and burnout among others. Simply put, how your business stacks up against its peers is an effective way to establish whether you need DevOps right now.

Another key to a successful DevOps adoption lies in eliminating the disconnect between executives and DevOps practitioners over the state of internal DevOps maturity. According to a 2016 Forrester survey, there’s a significant gap between how executives and DevOps practitioners are measured on customer experience, incentivized to collaborate, and perceive automation levels.

For example, 77% of executives believe release management is automated, but only 61% of DevOps pros believe this to be the case. Elinor Klavens, a researcher with Forrester, believes this could be due to any number of reasons, like executives paying for software that isn't being used or pros reticent to use automation tools that don't produce information demanded by risk and compliance teams.

Closing this gap and making sure that all parts of the business are on the same page is imperative to successful DevOps implementation, Klavens says.

"[Enterprises need to] measure practitioners on customer experience outcomes, ensure they can visualize the state of work, and conduct internal surveys to ensure executives and practitioners have a shared understanding of DevOps maturity," she says.

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