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Scaling DevOps? Avoid These Common Pitfalls

By Antony Edwards

Antony Edwards

Antony Edwards - 10 December 2019


In a recent InformationWeek John Edwards wrote, “Trends can be fleeting. Understanding that innovation is constant, and keeping up with emerging and evolving trends, can be greatly beneficial to one’s job performance and career.” This is certainly true, but I’d take it a step further and argue that keeping pace with current trends is essential not only for individual performance, but for overall business vitality as well.   

As part of this need to keep pace with innovation the DevOps market is burgeoning, with Morgan Stanley it will reach $50 billion by 2022. This market growth doesn’t necessarily correlate to project success, however, as Gartner expects that 75% of DevOps initiatives will fail to fully meet expectations through the same time period. As I put it in a recent piece for DevOps.com, “If organizations are to buck this trend, then they need to consider some of the common hurdles they will encounter as they embark on the path to scaling DevOps.” 

In my experience, there are five common pitfalls companies face when embracing DevOps: 

  • Unresolved Conflict Between the Business and IT 

Before companies look to scale DevOps, it’s critical that they first reach a consensus on the pace of software updates. Tech and business leaders need to meet in the middle between their competing desires for continual release and incremental change; otherwise, the traditional siloes between these groups will remain and it will be nearly impossible to scale.  

  • Unrealistic Expectations for Savings 

Scaling DevOps brings numerous benefits but immediate cost savings is not typically one of them. As I wrote in the DevOps.com article, “It’s important to remember the DevOps mission is to deliver more reliable software at speed by increasing automation. By doing this at scale, the benefits to the broader business are significant as organizations are able to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market.”  

  • Forgetting about Environment Management  

A complex IT environment with numerous customized legacy systems can present a significant challenge when trying to scale DevOps. It’s important that companies allocate enough time and resources to address environment management and are prepared to encounter some hurdles and setbacks along the way.  

  • Getting Distracted by Tools 

As mentioned above, the DevOps market is booming and there are a plethora of tools available which can easily become overwhelming for organizations looking to scale. It’s important that companies always remember the project’s goals and invest in the solutions that will help them achieve these efficiently. The latest product to hit the market might sound appealing, but if it’s not closely aligned with your DevOps strategy then it won’t be much use as you scale.  

  • Underestimating the Cultural Change  

It’s typically easy enough to achieve success on an individual DevOps project as companies generally start with an area where the teams are more willing to collaborate. Truly scaling, however, requires a significant cultural shift that takes time and organizations that underestimate this step set themselves up for numerous challenges.  

By being cognizant of these considerations prior to attempting to scale DevOps, organizations can eliminate many painful challenges and significantly increase the likelihood of overall project success. 

Learn more about Eggplant and our role in helping companies achieve DevOps at scale.