Published on December 6th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi0
Best Practices for Integrating Change Management and DevOps
Speed means everything when looking to make major changes to your IT system, more specifically if the changes are time sensitive. Well, this is one area where DevOps teams tend to thrive, especially if they choose the agile path to improve application performance. However, speed without enough oversight is a recipe for disaster, and might easily lead to some downtime.
As much as your IT team would like to launch an application patch within the shortest time possible, it is vital to understand that even a single hour of downtime could set you back many months in terms of profit maximization. For instance, Amazon’s one hour of downtime during Prime Day led to a loss of $100 million, according to the Business Insider. As such, you need to combine your DevOps efforts with change management to excel in IT transformations.
Here are some DevOps and change management best practices to follow:
Documenting change is one of the most vital parts of change management. In case you want to launch an application patch or even make vital changes to your network, documentation will help in times of audits. A document trail will be beneficial whenever you make mistakes to help you determine the phase in which you made a mistake.
However, it takes longer to identify such errors and commit to making adjustments in case the documents are stored in different areas within the organization. To streamline the DevOps process, ensure that you centralize the change information in a single platform. In most cases, working with change management software will suffice. Furthermore, a central storage location for this information can be beneficial in cases where the change advisory board might want to revert to previous versions of the infrastructure.
Establish High Transparency Standards
It is one thing to have the change information centralized and another to have it in an understandable manner. Your IT staff needs to completely grasp what is expected of them whenever they access the central platform to increase the success rates of DevOps. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use tickets that are not only comprehensive but also use end to end visualizations to deliver the information about the different aspects of change.
This will help improve internal communication among the IT team. Additionally, it will also simplify the process of compliance reporting.
Have Strong Change Policies in Place
For changes in your IT assets to be effective enough, they need to follow specific protocols. For instance, low tier changes might only need to be automatically made while high tier changes will need the intervention of the C-suite executive or the CIOs. All this can be developed through a well-outlined policy.
Additionally, you will also need to have a person who will ensure that any configured change remains that way and that no one defies the set policies. This will also help to improve the lead time of the DevOps project since the involved teams understand exactly what to do.
Automate As Much As You Can
Man is to err, and the same applies to the world of DevOps. Whenever a patch is launched, or a change is made to the network, audits need to be done to ensure that the new changes will not lead to downtimes. More often than not, when the changes are launched manually, they will have some few inconsistencies that can cost your organization.
Embrace automating the change management process as much as you can. If possible, embrace automated regression testing to double check the impact of changes in a test environment to ensure that there will be no adverse effects.
Speed and stability need to coexist in the world of DevOps. Teams need to ensure that any change they make to the system will be beneficial with no side effects. Consider using the tips above to integrate change management in your DevOps work.