DevOps Report Cites Culture as Hurdle in DevOps Evolution

    Automation software provider, Puppet has released the findings of the 2021 State of DevOps Report, which surveyed more than 2,650 IT, development, and information security professionals to mine insight into the divide between organizations with highly evolved DevOps practices versus those whose evolution has remained stagnant.

    Puppet’s latest survey found that 83 percent of IT decision makers report their organizations are implementing DevOps practices to unlock higher business value through better quality software, faster delivery times, more secure systems and the codification of principles. However, within that 83 percent are distinct cohorts of organizations whose success with DevOps is contingent upon a number of factors, revealed in the report.

    Delving deeper into that 81 percent segment, the report found that many organizations in the middle stages of their DevOps evolution have plateaued. Among these mid-evolution teams, cultural blockers remain the biggest hurdle to reaching DevOps success, including a culture that discourages risk (21 percent), unclear responsibilities (20 percent), de-prioritizing fast flow optimization (18 percent), and insufficient feedback loops (17 percent).

    Further findings in the report also revealed:

    • 91 percent of highly evolved teams report a clear understanding of their responsibilities to other teams compared to only 32 percent of low-evolution teams.
    • 65 percent of mid-evolution firms report using the cloud, yet only 20 percent use the cloud to its full potential. High-evolution teams use cloud better with 57 percent satisfying all five NIST cloud capability metrics compared to only 5 percent of low-evolution respondents.
    • 90 percent of high-evolution teams have automated their most repetitive tasks compared to only 67 percent of mid-level and 25 percent of low-evolution.
    • Among highly evolved organizations, 51 percent integrate security into requirements, 61 percent into design, 53 percent into build, and 52 percent into testing in contrast to mid-level organizations in which security becomes involved only when there is a scheduled audit of production or an issue reported in production.
    • Fewer than two percent of high-level organizations report resistance to DevOps from the executive level compared to 13 percent of those in the low-evolution firms.

    “A standout finding from the report is the importance of team identities; organizations with less ambiguous team names with more clearly defined team responsibilities are more likely to be more highly evolved in their DevOps journey,” said Nigel Kersten, Field CTO at Puppet. “The title ‘DevOps team’ is misleading, as it allows many organizations to assume that having a DevOps team means they are doing DevOps correctly. We recommend less ambiguously named stream-aligned and platform teams, as seen in the Team Topologies model, which create a more well-defined path to achieving DevOps success at scale.”

    The report also found that further key determinants for mid-evolution organizations to achieve DevOps success at scale include a successful platform team approach, organizational buy-in from both managers and practitioners, a strong automation practice, and a willingness to accept risk and invest for the future.

    Read next: AI and Observability Platforms to Alter DevOps Economics

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