The DevOps IT culture has been game-changing in how it both enhances customer service responsiveness while simultaneously allowing for greater management of core system configuration for greater security. According to the 2016 Puppet Labs State of DevOps Report, the highest-performing IT organizations deploy an average of 2,555 times faster than their low-performing counterparts.But while a gap that wide obviously speaks to the success of DevOps to a certain degree, IT professionals know speed without oversight can be destructive, especially for businesses new to DevOps or advanced change management processes.
But why pick just one? If your enterprise IT demands both speed and stability, we've put together this simple how-to for seamlessly merging change management processes into the DevOps toolchain:
Step 1: Centralize change into a single platform
When all changes funnel through the same channel, nothing gets lost and everything gets considered by the change advisory board (CAB). Start your new change management process on the right foot by consolidating change, problem and incident management into a modular platform capable of streamlining all three or more into one pipeline.
Step 2: Establish high transparency standards
Businesses that select advanced change management suites such as ChangeGear for their ITSM help IT professionals organize tickets with comprehensive, end-to-end visibility via visualizations and documentation. Don't underestimate the power of configurable dashboards and ad-hoc exportable reports on any ticket - these features not only augment communication internally, but they also simplify compliance reporting and boost its accuracy.
Step 3: Stratify proposed changes
Every proposed change may not need an army of IT workers behind it. That said, some proposed changes often do. Businesses should search past IT work orders or collaborate cross-functionally to get a sense of all the different change ticket profiles relevant to their organizations, from small patches for software bugs to security upgrades necessary for appeasing industry regulators.
Step 4: Develop robust policies for handling all
Once businesses compartmentalize all possible changes, they must now develop chains of command for processing each. Which low-tier changes necessitate an automated release? Which high-tier changes require approval from the CIO, CTO or other C-suite executive? Who will act as a resident compliance expert to ensure changes that secure configurations stay that way? Businesses risk slowing down their change lead times if they don't properly flesh out their policies before switching completely over to DevOps.
Step 5: Automate! Automate! Automate!
Expanding on that last point, DevOps owes much of its success to innovations in automation and machine learning. In the ITSM space, these technologies reduce the incidence of low-value, low-risk duties splitting IT professionals' attentions from tasks requiring more technical skill sets.
Furthermore, advancements like CMDB and automated regression testing improve the quality of change resolutions by double-checking their validity against applications or configurations in a risk-free virtual environment. Sure, DevOps teams could perform these tasks manually, but that would be both time- and labor-intensive, not to mention make audited systems prone to human error.
Step 6: Follow through with DevOps integration
With all these things in place, it's time to integrate with the DevOps software. Again, you'll need to select an ITSM platform compatible with the third-party applications your DevOps team uses on a daily basis. ChangeGear, for example, works well with Microsoft, Puppet Labs, and Docker, as well as many others. Visit our change management page for more details.