Past or present achievements do not guarantee future success. You may have beaten your revenue targets year on year but change is around the corner and arrogance, or fear, will not prevent you from being disrupted in an unforgiving, fast-changing technology world.
I spend my days discussing DevOps and Digital Transformations with companies of all sizes from startups to some of the world's largest Enterprises. What DOES NOT surprise me is that many teams are still at a very early stage in modernizing their technology, culture, and practices. What DOES surprise me is the organizations who do not believe in change because they "have been doing just fine up until now". This is a recipe for failure in the long-term. Their competitors will likely be working in loosely coupled teams with shared responsibilities and increased collaboration. They will have adopted Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployments/Delivery, and automation, to name a few processes. In time, these competitors will begin to consume their market share. To put it into perspective, you might still be talking about your next deployment coming up in 6 weeks' time, while they are talking about deploying into production 12 times today alone.
These more successful teams with their increased agility, stability and reliability will be faster. They will not be afraid of failure, but will have built fault-tolerant systems which can rapidly and automatically repair. This self-healing, well-tested systems, and processes will free up time for developers and other team members. They can then focus on developing newer and better applications in response to customer feedback, all while your team might continue "doing fine".
We aren't just talking about buzzwords here, the Data shows that those who are playing catch up are also potentially causing themselves more harm than good. Puppet's State of DevOps Report, 2017, shows that the gap between higher and lower performing teams has narrowed as "throughput has increased", meaning lower performing teams are working faster, shipping more code to production and responding to changes quicker than they were the previous year. This is great in principle but in 2017, "Change Failure Rate had also increased", showing that low performers were actually more likely to fail when making changes than they were in 2016. The data shows that low performers had a "3x Change Failure Rate in 2016" which increased to 5x for the 2017 Puppet study. From a business standpoint, this means that those higher performing teams are able to deliver more value to their customers by responding faster and more reliably, to feedback and market demands.
My advice is that we should certainly be paying attention to what our competitors are doing, no matter what area or sector in which we operate. However, we must not lose sight of the importance of quality, security or feedback during this journey. If you know you are at a much earlier stage in your transformation, focus on getting it right. There will always be setbacks and challenges but as the old saying goes - this is a marathon, not a sprint.
DevOps methodologies, when applied effectively, will make your organization more successful.
About the author:
Conor Delanbanque has been building & scaling teams in the DevOps space for some time now. As well as supporting the growth of some of the most innovative DevOps & SRE organizations in the US and Europe, Conor also founded the Future of DevOps Thought Leaders Debate. He Co-Organizes DevOpsNYC and sponsors DockerNYC Meetup on a regular basis. He was a keynote speaker at DevOpsDays Cuba, 2017 and has contributed to a number of online publications and podcasts. You can tweet him at @ConorDevOps, find him on LinkedIn or at various tech events across the Americas.