Building vertically integrated software delivery teams through DevOps

When software is what creates the relationship between customers and business then those businesses have to compete for market share by continuously updating and improving their software. And as customer expectations evolve and cycle times shrink, how fast a business can make changes relies on their ability for teams — the business function, developers, operations and security — to work together efficiently and effectively.

Silos are difficult to break down. One obvious point of tension is that operations teams see risk reduction and stability as their goals while development teams feel they must innovate and deliver new features quickly. DevOps has become the practice to bring those competing goals together.

Once broken, businesses are seeing results, as the Chef Survey 2017 showed. Building cross-functional teams, instead of siloed ones, allows companies to operate more efficiently. Our data shows cross-functional teams are 17% more likely than application teams (and 23% and 24% more likely than infrastructure and security teams, respectively) to release changes to production on a continuous, on-demand basis.

Westpac, one of Australia’s “big four” financial services providers, is one such company driving organization change through culture and shift in mindset. In a highly regulated and often lethargic industry, Westpac wanted to stand out as innovative and forward-leaning. To do so, they moved from a workflow focused on individual tasks to teams with a single and consistent vision across an entire project.

As Dawie Olivier, Westpac CIO, says, “Velocity is an outcome. The fuel that makes that work is culture.”

Focusing on culture for Westpac means that developers don’t just stay in the office anymore. In order for developers to truly understand the impact their work has, Westpac decided to deploy developers to physical branch locations, so they would have the opportunity to see how customers interact with the company in real life. This gives developers a full understanding of the needs customers have and how to emulate a consistent experience across both in-person interactions and digital ones.

Target, one of the world’s most well-known omni-channel retailers, needed to find a way to compete against incumbents in the highly competitive and quickly evolving world of retail. Target adopted Chef Automate as a tool to help speed change the business was driving on the cultural side as well. They also developed The Dojo, an approach driven by attributes of DevOps, to build technology muscles and bring new practices and workflows to a learning environment for employees throughout the organization. This allows people with specialities in areas from all over the business to interact and learn new skills and ways of working from one another.

Companies should be cultivating a collaborative culture, and vertically integrated software delivery teams, powered by DevOps principles in order to drive the efficiency required to outperform peers.

For more on how companies can use DevOps cultural philosophies alongside technology to better understand and serve the needs of customers, check out our white paper, “Continuous Automation for the Continuous Enterprise“.

Marc Holmes

Former Chef employee.