Use DevOps Automation To Unlock Engineering Efficiency

Use DevOps Automation To Unlock Engineering Efficiency

Use DevOps Automation To Unlock Engineering Efficiency – And Ultimately Sell More

Teams are constantly asked to do more with less, and engineering teams are no exception. Every team needs engineering resources to meet its goals, leaving engineering scrambling even more to meet their own goals. 

Many organizations are approaching this challenge by creating DevOps teams that combine developers (or engineers) with operations (IT) teams for stronger collaboration, with the end goal of streamlining the software development lifecycle. Automating repetitive, manual tasks is key to delivering high-quality features and products to customers.  

Here’s how DevOps automation can give engineering teams back the resources they need to unleash their creativity and do their best, most efficient work – ultimately shortening release cycles and positively impacting sales.

How Resource Optimization Affects Engineering Teams

It seems every year, teams are asked to do more with less: less time, a smaller budget, fewer team members. If engineering teams, in particular, are strapped for resources, they cannot deliver updates on features and products on the timelines other teams expect from them. Software development lifecycles become longer, with target release dates getting missed repeatedly. 

Sales and customer success teams use upcoming product releases and feature updates to help cement deals and retain customers. If those promises are broken, customers are likely to be unhappy and strain is placed on the business relationship. If it happens often enough, customers churn, negatively impacting revenue. 

Teams need to be proactive about this challenge rather than reactive. One place to make changes? Seeing what time-consuming, manual tasks can be automated to free engineering team members up to do the exciting, challenging, deep work they were hired to do. Enter DevOps automation.

The Role of DevOps in an Organization

DevOps isn’t just about putting every engineer on a team together and asking them to work together; it’s about an internal cultural shift emphasizing principles of collaboration, automation, continuous improvement, and integrating feedback from the end user to create a more efficient cycle. 

The key is that the organization needs to have buy-in before DevOps principles are adopted and applied. They won’t have maximum impact if they’re only adopted and applied to the engineering team, though it makes sense to start there.

To be successful, be sure your team:

  1. Is aligned: everyone needs to be on the same page regarding adopting DevOps principles and practices as a mindset across the entire organization.
  2. Starts small: start with one team, but plan to implement organization-wide.
  3. Measures your baselines: to see the impact this shift has (especially on sales and revenue), you need to know where you are now.
  4. Doesn’t automate everything at once: start with a few key processes, then build from there.

The goal is to make everything more efficient without overwhelming it.

DevOps and Bottlenecks

One of the challenges organizations face is bottlenecks; projects get slowed down when teams have inefficient systems in place for communication and collaboration. Implementing DevOps principles, processes, and tools is one approach to solving this problem. 

This can look several different ways in practice. Customer-facing roles might be collecting feedback from customers about products and features, for example, but without having a designated place for that feedback to go, how will engineers ever see it to address it? 

That feedback must also be filtered and curated so the right engineering team members see it. The team members responsible for fixing bugs should see those tickets, while those working on the product roadmap should see feedback about how customers use products. If everyone sees everything, it quickly becomes too noisy to be helpful. 

One way to reduce this kind of potential information overload and communication bottleneck is incorporating DevOps automation to get this feedback efficiently filtered and delivered to the right team members so they can act on it. 

More efficient teams can reduce development lifecycles, hit roadmap targets, keep customers happy, and give sales and customer success teams more to work with on their deals. Product teams can build out more reliable product roadmaps. All of this leads to better customer retention, upsells, and bringing in new customers – all positively impacting revenue. 

That’s the why. Next up is the how.

How to Automate Workflows and Increase Efficiency

Automation is a critical part of building a successful DevOps team. The first step is to take stock of current workflows and your current tech stack by asking:

  • What, if anything, is currently being automated?
  • Is the current automation tool the most efficient option?
  • What other manual processes could be automated? (Think repetitive, time-consuming, error-prone tasks)
  • Can the automation tools we use do more, or do we need to upgrade or switch systems?
  • Do we have the resources to switch or update (in terms of team members needed to do the switching work, if any, and budget)?

You don’t want to automate everything all at once; pick a few processes to start, focusing on repetitive, manual tasks to give software developers back their time. This way, they can do more creative, strategic work that will have a bigger impact on the business and, ultimately sales. 

You don’t want to have to overhaul your tech stack and dev ops automation every few years, either. A one-time fix to realign and set everyone on for success is preferred to requiring ongoing resources to keep everyone on the same page. 

Be sure to compare the best DevOps automation tools available and choose what’s right for your team now and as you scale. A cheaper, simpler option might make sense for where your team is, but the savings are a waste if you have to start the entire process again in six more months. 

Crucially, you also want any technology you’re investing in for DevOps automation to integrate with other teams' tech. The principle of collaboration in DevOps applies to engineering and all the other teams they work with. To work efficiently, the entire organization must operate as seamlessly as possible.

How To Achieve DevOps Automation In Detail

To properly implement DevOps automation in your organization – and benefit from it in terms of increased efficiency – you need to understand its operating principles in more detail and apply them beyond the DevOps team.  

Adopting the mindset organization-wide and getting stakeholder buy-in are two crucial steps before investing in the necessary tech and tools. Be sure to emphasize the problems this shift will address and back everything up with data where possible.

DevOps Principles and Practices

There are multiple ways to break down the key principles and practices of DevOps, but the biggest pieces to know include:

  • Collaboration: everyone across teams should have the same goals and be working towards those goals as efficiently as possible.
  • Automation: taking repetitive, time-consuming tasks off of the plates of engineers so they can do more impactful work.
  • Continuous improvement: this includes continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD), meaning you’re more frequently implementing code changes and deploying them to catch and fix issues earlier in the development process.
  • Infrastructure as code (IaC): infrastructure is managed using code and automation tools instead of manually; this allows for better version control and change management.
  • Monitoring and feedback: keeping a continuous eye on system performance means teams can spot issues and fix them earlier before they have a chance to snowball .
  • Culture shift: the emphasis on collaboration and communication means teams are holding themselves accountable for sharing responsibilities and learning from failures without placing blame.

By implementing these automated processes, practices, and principles across an organization, you can shorten software development lifecycles, improve customer satisfaction, and respond more efficiently to shifts in market demand. All of these factors have you poised to increase sales.

How DevOps Automation Enhances Engineering Productivity

If you’re starting small with DevOps adoption in your organization, starting with your development teams and measuring the results before moving to other teams makes sense. Done right, here’s what you can hope to see:

  • Faster development cycles: continuous improvement practices like CI and CD automate code integration, testing, and deployment processes, letting engineers focus on writing code rather than managing logistics manually, shortening development cycles.
  • Faster resolution of problems: continuous monitoring and logging – especially through automated systems – means issues get identified, troubleshoot, and resolved faster, minimizing downtime and enhancing productivity.  
  • Reduced manual errors: properly implemented automated scripts and tools eliminate human error on repetitive tasks, ensuring consistency and accuracy, boosting reliability as engineers have to spend less time troubleshooting and fixing errors in the software development process.
  • Rapid feedback loops: automated tests identify problems earlier in the development process, allowing teams to be proactive about issues and fix them before they escalate. 
  • Improved efficiency: Better communication and collaboration ensures that everyone across teams understands project goals and requirements, leading to better decision-making and overall alignment. 
  • Improved resource allocation: Automated scaling and load balancing adapt to changing workloads, enhancing productivity and reducing costs since you know exactly how many team members you need to complete the work. 
  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC): IaC is the practice of treating infrastructure like code instead of managing it manually, an approach that allows for the rapid and consistent deployment of infrastructure, reducing setup time and ensuring that environments for development, testing, and production are identical. 
  • Innovation and experimentation: freeing up engineers’ time to do more strategic, creative work fosters an overall culture of innovation that leads to improvements in job satisfaction, productivity, and better products.

These principles and practices make engineering teams more efficient, allowing them to deliver high-quality software on improved timescales. That allows your organization to stay competitive in the constantly shifting tech landscape.

Measuring the Impact of DevOps Automation on Sales

The ultimate goal of reorganizing your organization using DevOps principles and practices is to increase efficiency to increase revenue. While many of the measurements are more indirect, it can be done – especially if you have your baseline measurements before you begin.

What You Can Measure

To see the impact of DevOps automation on revenue, consider the following:

  • Faster time-to-market: shorter release cycles and faster deployment of bug fixes, features and products mean customers get what they want faster; measure your time-to-market before and after implementation. 
  • Reduced downtime: DevOps practices minimize the risk of service interruptions or downtime, which is crucial for customer satisfaction and instilling confidence in your products.
  • Higher product quality: Identifying and fixing issues earlier in the development process leads to a better quality product, improving customer satisfaction (and satisfied customers are more likely to remain customers and buy more).
  • Enhanced customer experience: DevOps principles are focused on providing value to the end-user, the customer; a process that continuously incorporates their feedback and addresses their pain points means their needs can be met faster, again increasing customer satisfaction.   
  • Improved customer satisfaction: higher quality, uninterrupted services, and an overall stable and reliable product mean customers are happier and more likely to stay customers, upgrade, and make referrals – all boosting sales.  
  • Improved organizational alignment: It’s a nightmare when sales make promises that DevOps can’t deliver, but increased alignment across teams solves this; with insights into upcoming features and improvements, sales can align their strategies with product roadmaps, ensuring their efforts are targeted at the right features and customer segments, increasing their effectiveness.
  • Data-driven decision-making: DevOps encourages the collection and analysis of important metrics related to software development, deployment, and user behavior, allowing informed decisions around product roadmaps, marketing strategies, and more– leading to better sales strategies and higher conversion rates.
  • Cost savings: with resources allocated as efficiently as possible and infrastructure costs reduced, your company can redirect those savings into growth initiatives in marketing and sales.

Your organization can use a combination of quantitative metrics like time-to-market, customer satisfaction scores, churn rates, revenue growth, and qualitative feedback from customer-facing teams to measure impact. 

Customer feedback on user experience and existing pain points should be regularly incorporated into product development cycles. Gather this information from regular surveys, customer interviews, and sales performance data.

Final Thoughts on DevOps Automation

DevOps automation principles and practices – implemented thoughtfully – can give engineering teams the resources they need to unleash their creativity and do their best, most efficient work. Applied across your entire organization, they can improve collaboration and alignment, resulting in improved revenue. 

It’s how you can actually do more, with less.

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