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The Massive DevOps Efficiency Problem No One Wants to Talk About

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Summary
How do you juggle release speed and quality while still accelerating the pace of innovation? The first step is streamlining your DevOps approach.

More people are online and engaging virtually than ever before, and it makes me wonder about the experience for the businesses on the other side of that — the ones that are actually providing these digital experiences. What are the unique challenges or opportunities they’re facing as a result of the increased engagement with their applications?

The reality is, in a very short amount of time, businesses have had to reimagine the way that they’re operating in order to maintain productivity and efficiency, without sacrificing their meaningful customer engagements in an all-virtual world. Organizations may have been prepared to handle spikes in user engagement, but not the sustained surge in usage, network stress, and data traffic that we’re seeing today.

Match this phenomenon with the reality that today, the pace of innovation is neck-breaking, and our technology environments are more diverse and distributed than ever before. As I wrote recently in APM Digest, top tech companies deploy software hundreds, even thousands of times per day, forcing organizations in every industry to match this pace of innovation.

It’s the perfect storm for application development, operations, and infrastructure teams.

2020 is the year the organization’s ability to maintain application performance is put to the test. It’s challenging enough to remain poised to respond quickly to unexpected application performance issues. What will it take to do this while also managing this sustained surge in demand?

I think it’s going to mean recalibrating, or tuning up, three core tenets of successful DevOps:

Solid relationships. In DevOps, easy, relevant communication is central to speed while maintaining quality. I’d always encourage building a DevOps model on the foundation of strong relationships between these two factions, but I’d argue this is no longer optional, when so much depends on your working together to feel your way out of these times of uncertainty.

Automated processes. Today, developers endure long deployment cycles just to add a single log line, all in hope of collecting the right data needed to understand what’s causing a bug in production. And this manual, time-intensive process is costing the business more than you think. According to Stripe Research, developers spend roughly 17.3 hours each week debugging, which equates to nearly $300B (US) in lost developer productivity every year. DevOps needs a process that enables them to spend less time debugging and more time innovating.

Code-level visibility. You also need the right tooling to simplify this process. Traditional approaches to troubleshooting fall short when it comes to pinpointing issues in production. Nowadays, DevOps needs code-level visibility into the live production environment, so you can capture data on-demand without disrupting the environment or end-users — which has never been more important.

Ready, set, DevOps

Adopting DevOps promises speed, reliability, and more efficient collaboration. That’s the destination, but the journey is changing. Let’s remodel our DevOps practices and tools around helping teams stay — and accelerate — on track.

I talked more about how to navigate the challenges of today and prepare for the uncharted future in a recent episode of our content series, Shifting Left. Watch it on-demand here to dive deeper.