Anthony McMahon, Regional Director, APAC, and Valerie Silverthorne, Senior Content Editor, GitLab, discuss how improving collaboration across different teams can pay significant dividends.
As the COVID-19 crisis escalates the focus on Digital Transformation in the region, the pressure to produce better code faster has never been more intense. An increasing number of APAC organizations choose DevSecOps to bring traditionally siloed developers, security and ops teams together and they count on continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) to speed up their software innovation cycle times.
Continuous Integration (CI) is a way to tackle the always tedious and time-consuming job of testing code and it does so in a way that does not add any extra burden to developers. Code tests and checks are automated and the results are delivered back to the developer. CI also allows developers to split tests and builds across different machines which cuts the time involved and makes multitasking possible.
Continuous Deployment (CD) picks up where CI leaves off – tested and checked code can be automatically deployed to production using the CI server. Together, CI/CD represent a way to automate the most time-consuming steps in software development and deployment.
Solving universal problems in software development and deployment
Virtually every company struggles with the same set of problems that CI/CD can potentially solve.
Toolchain sprawl is pervasive – a surprising number of companies use more than 15 toolchains and that of course means time and human resources to maintain it all. An integrated out of the box CI/CD solution eliminates that problem and frees up resources for things that matter.
Even in a DevOps shop it can still feel like it’s Devs vs. Ops because the priorities of the two groups are so wildly dissimilar. Devs are incentivised to create new features while Ops pros are rewarded by having a stable environment with a lot of uptime. CI/CD can help bring those opposing forces together around a single toolchain and let each group do what they do best without playing the blame game.
Code can also get stale while waiting around to either be tested or for devs to get energised about ‘context switching’. CI/CD can tighten that loop to minutes rather than days or weeks ensuring everyone is working as efficiently as possible.
And while CI/CD is often hailed as a boon to developers, it’s worth pointing out some concrete benefits to age-old Ops problems. An integrated CI/CD solution will bring automatic monitoring so error rates and infrastructure costs can suddenly be measured easily. And automated deployments free Ops pros to focus on value-added tasks rather than waiting around for developer hand-offs.
CI/CD can bring solid benefits but it’s vital to understand how to measure success or recognize under-performance. A good place to start is with cycle time. We like to think of cycle time as the period between starting work on an idea and delivering it to production or into the hands of the end-user.
Your definition may vary but what matters is to compare cycle time without CI/CD to cycle time with CI/CD. Some companies report cycle times that took months now take hours with an integrated CI/CD solution.
Time to value is another factor to consider because, done right, CI/CD should shorten that timeframe dramatically. Companies should also consider uptime, error rates and infrastructure costs.
Addressing the culture change
Organizations transitioning to CI/CD often witness dramatic cultural shifts on the engineering team. An IDC survey in 2019 found that internal culture and training issues remained the biggest obstacles to wholesale DevOps adoption in APAC.
In our regular conversations with large APAC organizations, many IT leaders concurred, acknowledging that a key step in their transitions is understanding what barriers stand between different teams.
In the new world, silos between teams and responsibilities can’t be tolerated anymore. GitLab’s fourth annual DevSecOps survey revealed that the lines are blurring between developers and operations teams. There also continues to be a clear disconnect between developers and security teams, with uncertainty about who should be responsible for security efforts.
To achieve successful DevOps transformation, leaders need to figure out how to improve collaboration across different teams and encourage rapid, continuous learning and improvement, especially from their mistakes. By enabling a seamless flow of information across the different teams, encouraging them to take what they learn and iterate again, organizations stand to unlock true agility to the development and deployment process.
The impact of the current crisis has already initiated a changed mindset and focus on Digital Transformation at all levels of enterprise, government and industry. CI/CD can bring speed, consistency and even happiness into your innovation efforts. It will change what is possible for even our biggest global companies when it comes to designing, developing and deploying software.
Anthony McMahon is GitLab’s APAC Regional Director with over 18 years’ experience in the technology industry in Asia, previously at SAP and HP. Valerie Silverthorne is Senior Content Editor at GitLab, with nearly 30 years of experience as a writer and editor. GitLab was recently cited as a Strong Performer in the Forrester Continuous Delivery and Release Automation (CDRA) report for Q2 2020.Click below to share this article