The Challenges of adopting DevOps

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: In traditional Software Development Life Cycle, medium and large organizations tend to divide the activities of Operations and Development into separate departments. These groups often have a troublesome relationship because of different incentives during the software delivery process. As a result, conflicts occur between development and operations personnel as they blame each other to be the cause of long lead times and inefficient software delivery processes. The concept of DevOps emerged trying to resolve the problem that arises when separating the work of Development and Operations into organizational silos. The term DevOps is a combination of the abbreviations of Development (Dev) and Operations (Ops). DevOps aim to create a coalition that spans between Development (software developers and quality assurance) and Operation (experts responsible to roll out software to production and managing the infrastructure, e.g. system, network and database administrators and technicians). The idea is to increase the speed of the software delivery process and to quickly solve critical issues, enable organizations to better serve their customers. DevOps means that development teams who previously were solely responsible for the development of their applications now have to manage and govern both development and operational responsibilities. Thus, the adoption of DevOps might introduce new type of challenges and implications for the traditional development teams. Current literature and research about DevOps focus mainly on the challenges that DevOps attempts to overcome. There is a lack of literature on the challenges that practitioners encounter during the adoption of DevOps. As more organizations and companies tend to adopt the concept of DevOps, it increases the need to understand potential challenges and effects of adopting DevOps. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the challenges that development teams encounter during the adoption of DevOps. This research was conducted by an inductive research approach through a single qualitative case study, with the use of semi-structured interviews. In total, four main challenges and fourteen sub-challenges were identified in this study. The four main challenges identified was, lack of awareness, lack of support for DevOps, implementing DevOps technology and adapting organizational processes to DevOps. This study concludes that the adoption of DevOps has a profound impact on the role of a software developer, and that the traditional role of a software developer needs to be evolved. The research provides four recommendations and means to overcome the challenges identified in this research, establishing common ways of working and spreading the knowledge, building commitment and trust by smarter seating, allocate time and resources to transition and trying out with one team and one application.

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