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DevOps Maturity Model: A Playbook for Business Leaders

DevOps Maturity Model: A Playbook for Business Leaders

I’ve seen a worrying trend as a DevOps critique who has seen numerous companies on their DevOps journeys: most teams don’t have a firm grasp on DevOps maturity models. They use a dry, theoretical approach that ultimately leads to ineffective implementations.

In this in-depth post, I want to provide readers with actionable strategic advice on the DevOps maturity model, including its phases, how to conduct a complete assessment of your organization’s maturity level, emerging trends, best practices, and pitfalls to avoid. 

My aim is to help teams move away from rigidly adhering to prescribed frameworks and toward developing habits that are effective for them based on insights from the Talent500 core team.

DevOps Maturity Model: What Does It Mean?

A company’s DevOps capabilities in terms of people, process, and technologies may be evaluated and measured with the use of a DevOps maturity model. It helps teams methodically enhance software delivery by investigating the difficulties of adopting the cultural and technological shifts necessary for DevOps.

DevOps ecosystems that have reached maturity allow product teams to operate autonomously and produce high-quality software at breakneck speeds. The results of a maturity evaluation may be used to identify problem areas and direct development efforts. It reveals discrepancies between the existing state of DevOps and the ideal state.

Organization-wide or department-specific implementations of the concept are both possible. Selecting a small product team as a pilot before escalating maturity efforts is my advice for big businesses just getting started with this approach.

DevOps Maturity Model’s Five PhasesDevOps Maturity Model's Five Phases

(Credits: SketchBubble)

There are typically 5 phases of development outlined by most maturity models. Organizations seldom go directly from one stage to the next, but rather progress via a progression of more complex stages.

Phase One: Ad Hoc Stage

  • Fragmented groups and procedures
  • High downtime and delays due to dependence on human labor.
  • Lots of impromptu tasks and emergency fixes
  • There are no guidelines or paperwork

Phase Two: Controlled and Reproducible

  • Definitions of core processes, but inconsistencies
  • The process of automating tests and deployments has begun.
  • Team silos continue to exist
  • Poor metrics due to insufficient teamwork

Phase Three: Standardized procedures defined using DevOps tools

  • Increased automation of testing and deployment
  • Greater coordination between departments
  • Adapting agile methods

Phase Four: Quantitative Management Common Metrics are Established

  • Automation of infrastructure, testing, and deployments at a high level
  • Metrics are the fuel for never-ending progress.
  • Preventative administration
  • Complete audit trails
  • Natural inter-group cooperation

Phase Five: Perfecting

  • Pay close attention to delivery time and try new things
  • Development with integrated operations
  • Culture that values education, creativity, and security
  • Complete monitoring and command of every apparatus
  • Prioritization of the wants and demands of the client

It’s important to remember that organizations often span a number of levels within each department. Remember, the end objective is to have significant portions of the organization fully developed.

DevOps Maturity: 12 Crucial Factors

From what I’ve seen, the following twelve characteristics are essential for increasing the maturity of DevOps inside teams and organizations:

#1 Robotic Process Automation

DevOps relies heavily on automated processes for deployments, testing, infrastructure, and monitoring. As businesses develop, the amount of manual labor they need should decrease.

#2 Working Together

It is critical for teams to have a common language in order to speed up the delivery of value. Nonetheless, enhancing cooperation calls for a substantial culture shift with buy-in at all levels.

#3 Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery Pipelines

Rapid, dependable releases are made possible by automated CI/CD workflows. Prioritize the implementation of a strong CI/CD pipeline at the outset of your maturity journey.

#4 Code-Based Infrastructure

Errors are minimized and standards are enforced when infrastructure is managed by code and policy. It’s a step toward full-fledged robot takeover.

#5 Keeping tabs on

Systems can be seen in detail, and problems may be flagged, with the use of comprehensive monitoring. Infrastructure, applications, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the company are all tracked by experienced teams.

#6 Automated Test

With automated testing, the focus moves to the left, and coverage grows with time. This facilitates continuous delivery and minimizes errors.

#7 Buildings

Accelerating delivery and making it easier to maintain are two of the many benefits of modular architectures, microservices, and platform teams.

#8 Methods

Errors and inconsistencies may be minimized using standardized DevOps procedures. But be wary of prematurely over-engineering procedures.

#9 Culture 

Maturity may be fostered in a community through fostering a culture of education, cooperation, and security. Change a company’s culture from the top down by setting an example.

#10 Structure

Eliminate organizational barriers and realign teams to focus on products and value streams that can be owned.

#11 Safety

Build safety into your system from the ground up: design, infrastructure, and procedures. Make it everyone’s job across departments to do this.

#12 Quantification

Measure the level of maturity using objective criteria. Improve your methods through analyzing data. Establishing objectives through the use of benchmarks.

Evaluating How Far Along Your DevOps Journey You Are

I suggest utilizing data-driven evaluations across all 12 criteria to evaluate current maturity levels and gaps instead of winging it.

  • Time lag between committing code and actually deploying it
  • Frequency of deployment / rate of release
  • The percentage of failed deployments due to a change
  • Time to Recover (or MTTR) from Errors
  • Automated testing’s reach in terms of coverage
  • Code-provisioned infrastructure as a percentage of total environment
  • Metrics collected from several systems (monitoring coverage)
  • Scanning, Penetration Tests, and Audits for Security

Compare these KPIs across departments, apps, and teams to find your high and poor achievers. Investigate extreme cases on both sides to get to the bottom of things. Analyze not just trailing but also leading signs.

Lack of executive backing, antiquated procedures and equipment, and a risk-averse culture are common causes of failure. Make use of the data to draw out a plan for future progress.

You may use either Atlassian, Infostretch or Atos as DevOps maturity assessment models.

Techniques That Help Bring DevOps Up to Speed

The following are five effective methods for fostering maturity that I have seen in the past:

#1 Get Top-Level Support

State your argument for the company. Inspire others to join your cause by outlining a compelling future. Leaders should be outspoken advocates who set the example for others.

#2 Test-Drive Novel Procedures

Begin with a small pilot group before pushing widespread change across the company. Let them be the ones to pioneer the use of continuous integration/delivery, automated testing, cloud computing, etc.

#3 Promote Grassroots Activity

Foster leaders from within at all echelons. Encourage skill sharing between peers by developing communities of practice.

#4 Motivate Preferred Actions

Celebrate the achievements of both individuals and groups. Make sure they may be seen as examples to follow.

#5 Rely On The Information You Collect

Key performance indicators, such as lead time, should be tracked meticulously. Determine what you want to accomplish by using certain numbers as guides. Invest according to the evidence.

New Trends Driving DevOps Maturity

The following new technological trends are being used by an increasing number of companies as DevOps adoption rises, in my experience:

  • GitOps: Operating System-Level Configuration Files
  • Development that is “native” to the cloud and containers
  • Intelligent and Automated IT Operations (AIOps/MLops)
  • Safety in reverse – Vulnerability testing at an earlier stage of the life cycle

Having said this, it is important to highlight the fact that AI/ML capabilities in tools like GitHub are set to redefine the landscape and we might see complete augmentation of DevOps maturity model trends.

Potential Roadblocks on the Path to Maturity

After seeing several DevOps projects fail, we can identify three major traps that top-level management should try to avoid.

#1 Insufficient Support from the Top

Changes will be limited in scope and short-lived unless they get the support of the top brass. DevOps calls for an organizational shift in mindset.

#2 Ample Activity Prematurely

Before the culture is ready, don’t over-engineer procedures and governance. In other words, improvise.

#3 Failing to account for human dynamics

Don’t get caught up with the technology available to you. Motivate workers by providing them with education, rewards, and a sense of belonging.

Final Reflections on the Forces Shaping DevOps Maturity

This all-encompassing guide will provide C-level executives and budding managers useful information for advancing DevOps maturity. I recommend beginning with a complete audit of the present situation across all relevant KPIs. Top-down cultural change may be pushed forward by identifying key emphasis areas for immediate gains. Disjointed teams may be transformed into high-performing digital organizations with a focus on customer value with the help of dedicated leadership.

Always make sure your frameworks fit your specific needs and goals. Create a dynamic, ever-changing model of maturity. The advantages to your customers, staff, and organization from using rigorous data-driven assessments to steer your DevOps journey are substantial.

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Neel Vithlani

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