If you’re a business specialist in a non tech related field and you’re working closely with a software or web development agency on a build project, you’ll be used to hearing a fair amount of jargon. We’ll admit we’ve been baffled by developer speak a few times in the past, but lately we’ve been hearing an awful lot of talk about ‘DevOps’, and thought we ought to find out a little more about what it means.
The name DevOps comes from combining ‘Development’ and ‘Operations’, bringing two historically separate parts of the business together to focus on the end product. It’s all about effective collaboration between teams.
Definition of DevOps
According to Wikipedia, the tech industry has yet to agreed on a exact definition of DevOps, but most people agree that it’s a cross functional methodology that makes use of a number a separate toolkits, each relating to a different stage of the web or app development process, from initial coding design and development, through product testing and release, to end-user review and ongoing customer support, feedback and updates.
In simpler terms, DevOps is defined by website building specialists Netguru as "a set of practices developed to enhance trust, speed up development, resolve issues and increase project security". Sounds good, but we need more details. Luckily they’ve written a helpful guide to their own specific way of incorporating best DevOps practice into their own web development projects here.
Why should I care if my dev team use DevOps?
So what does it all mean? In short, if your development agency promises you that DevOps are integrated into their processes it’s a good first step on the road towards trusting them. It means they have clear and efficient procedures in place for enabling their various teams to work together as efficiently as possible - for monitoring the distinct stages of a build project and avoiding the sort of communication and deadline issues that can be caused by having multiple ownership and specialisations across project teams.
It lets you know that they’re making use of the right tools and toolkits to give team members the autonomy to keep things nicely on track throughout the project.
The exact way this works and the toolkits or stacks used will depends on the agency, as this is a way of working that is firmly focused on results, meaning that there are a number of ways to incorporate it into projects according to developer preference and existing company procedures.
What matters is that work throughout all stages of the project is monitored, problems anticipated and reported and rectifying actions taken, with company wide systems available to all members of the team who need them to make sure that all of this actually happens.
The concept of DevOps stems from the concept of Agile Development, and is really just a framework allowing operations and development teams to work together through the entire lifecycle of project or product - from initial product design and development to supporting the eventual users. This means that, in theory at least, traditional company silos can be bypassed changes addressed in real time to enable a truly joined-up workforce and workflow.
Where an effective DevOps policy in place, it will incorporate not only just a set of tools and toolkits, but also run deeply enough to be absorbed into company philosophies and defined practices. This enables team members to use agreed tools or combined toolkits to work in an agile fashion across all stages of a project at greater speeds without sacrificing accuracy or reliability. This also has positive implications for communication, security and scalability, which is good news for clients, timelines and budgets.