The DevOps Journey

A DevOps Institute SKILbook

In this SKILbook, discover how DevOps helps organizations. For a limited time, all DevOps Institute Members have access to The DevOps Journey SKILbook. Future SKILbooks are a benefit exclusively for Premium Members.

The DevOps Journey SKILbook

Executive Overview

Discover How DevOps Helps Organizations

Digital transformations, and the resulting business demand to accelerate employee and customer experience improvements, have forced organizations to re-evaluate how software functions are delivered. DevOps is now in its 11th year with global adoption across almost all vertical industries. While some organizations are just starting to break down the silos between Development and Operations, others have already achieved significant milestones of improved quality, velocity and are continuing their evolution. DevOps Institute offers the DevOps Journey SKILbook to practitioners, leaders, and coaches who want to understand why, how, and what needs to be done to initiate and drive a DevOps journey. This SKILbook offers vision, skills, metrics, and other best practices and knowledge to start adopting DevOps.

Key Takeaways

The next normal is forcing business leaders to have a laser-sharp focus towards the speed and flexibility required by sales, marketing, and other customer-facing groups to continuously enhance the experience and value delivered to its customers. Technology and service innovations cannot wait. IT organizations need to transition to a delivery engine that supports these objectives.

The Next Normal Requires a Key Focus on Delivering Software with Quality, Velocity, and Value

What’s inside


Explore and Discover

Vision, Success, and Landscapes


Understand and Learn

Frameworks, Principles, and Core Practices


Plan, Practice, Do

Culture, Process and Functions, Automation


Optimize and Improve

Performance, Ask Quesitons, Virtual Gallery

More Key Takeaways

DevOps is a Serious Play for Supporting Your Company’s Digital Strategy

Regardless of country or industry, the transformation towards a digital business is happening everywhere. DevOps is foundational for any digital transformation strategy. You must understand the who, what, when, and why of DevOps.

Transformation Happens Through Changes in Attitude, Behavior, and Culture

While technology plays a large role in both the digital strategy and within DevOps, the attitude, behavior, and culture of an organization require adjustment as well.

Leverage the DevOps Journey SKILbook to Learn about the DevOps Journey

The culture of an organization is the most difficult thing to change. A successful culture shift of any team starts with attitudes resulting from personal beliefs and experiences. These personal beliefs and experiences in turn influence individual behavior and can influence group behavior. However, changes in culture and behavior alone will not cut it. To achieve initial success and successfully drive a DevOps journey, you must attend to a few key items to start.

Four Challenges that Hamper DevOps Evolution

Many leaders want to improve the outcome and value of software development and deployment in their companies. Research indicates that the transformation towards DevOps is difficult. Challenges are in equal parts spread across the people and the organization, processes, and technology topics. The obstacles come in the following four ways:

  • An organization’s structural barrier keeps DevOps teams from thriving.

Formal, rigid barriers encourage the belief that introducing change is someone else’s job. These organizational structural barriers include the following: a) the excessive layers of anxious middle management which stand between ideas and their execution, b) pathologically siloed organizational structures with no history of or incentives to engage in collaboration, and c) senior-level executives who are not able, willing or skilled to lead digital disruption in the company. Organizational structure barriers are easy to spot but difficult to change.

  • Cultural inhibitors prevent individuals and teams from innovating.

Culture refers to the organization’s informal patterns that signal to people which behaviors are appropriate and which behaviors define someone as difficult. The challenges can be summarized as a) not bringing the right people into the organization or not retaining and developing them once there, b) aversion to risk-taking and proposing new ideas and c) existing habits of seeing past failures and successes inhibit change. Unfortunately, culture is the most challenging obstacle to identify and alter.

Existing Processes, Bureaucracy and Procedural Hurdles Challenge Even Motivated Disruptors and Teams.

Existing complex processes hamper the ability to make changes as there are too many dependencies and constituencies to connect. The lack of management support makes the possibility for changes around processes extremely tough. Formal or informal procedures are found and described in policies or patterns and provide steps to individuals for accomplishing tasks. Existing processes and procedures are important as they are useful in getting things done, but they also cause issues if they prevail over the focus on outcomes. Slow budget and approval processes and additional bureaucracy lead to stalling efforts. Additionally, metrics that are internally focused instead of promoting the customer value do not accelerate transformation.

  • Technology trends will continue to drive challenges.

While there are a variety of technology topics that are interesting, exciting, and might provide a variety of benefits, the current trends of IT automation, Gigabit Wi-Fi networking, Internet of Things, converged/hyper-converged infrastructure and container orchestration are those which are being implemented or planned by organizations within two years. Technology challenges are unavoidable, but topics like tool proliferation, tooling support, and not having the right tools should be yesterday’s problems.

Adopting DevOps as an Operating Model to Accelerate Digital Transformation

Modern software delivery to support the digital transformation within organizations requires a strong partnership between IT operations and application development teams to continually improve an organization’s employees, clients, customers, or patient experience. The ongoing improvements which are done within the application team are, of course important; however, they do not guarantee employee and customer experience improvements. Both IT application delivery and IT operations teams must significantly change the processes and technologies that support the life cycle of applications to fulfill the promise of rapid development and release cycles while retaining and improving the employee and customer experience. In short, we must focus on speed, flexibility, and quality of services that the business relies on to delight employees and customers and to achieve value. The purpose of DevOps is to adopt a modern operating model working with the business, application development, and delivery (AD&D) teams to:

  • Adopt agility, collaboration by breaking down silos.

The DevOps (development + operations) phenomenon has introduced different behaviors and organizational models to the application design, delivery, deployment, and operation side. Collaboration, communication, and a rethinking (reengineering) of key processes are needed to design and deliver applications and services. DevOps requires that the entire organization acquire new habits to be successful. Silos must be removed so that smoother and faster solution rollouts and higher quality releases can occur.

  • New App Dev Models force IT Operations teams to change.

Many IT organizations feel that the pressure on their old IT Operations operating model keeps rising due to more App Dev Model focus. New forms of hybrid computing, including the adoption of microservices, serverless computing frameworks, and the need for applications to run on smartphones and IoT devices liberates developers from the rigidity of old architectures and frees application developer’s usage of tools and languages. This puts pressure on IT operations teams not yet practicing DevOps and accelerates adoption.

  • Improved value streams due to end-to-end visibility.

While the software is a key part of every organization’s interaction inwards and outwards, today’s leadership teams across the business and IT must ensure that value is delivered through the software development process. DevOps and Agile practices have been adopted to innovate and create more iterative approaches for software development and delivery. However, value is perceived through the customer lens. This is where VSM comes in. In simple terms, understanding and examining value streams of software being delivered end-to-end enables teams to make complex processes visible and provides the ability to pivot towards further value improvement.

  • A plethora of cloud models requires automation.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) (e.g., AWS, Google LLC) is expected to grow with a CAGR of 26% to a US $12 billion market by 2022. Similar growth is expected in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) markets. This requires mature cost and resource management, plus automation configuration management and change management.

Stay Relevant by Adopting DevOps

Still not convinced that DevOps is for your organization or your team? We suggest using this DevOps Journey SKILbook as a navigational guide and as a reference for when (not if) and how to proceed with a DevOps journey. We have organized our SKILbook into a variety of macro topics:

  • Explore and Discover:

To adopt DevOps, involved teams must have a shared vision. One common vision, of course, is achieving the right balance between your applications and services velocity, quality, and security delivered. While the business is striving for digital functionality and digital capabilities to add value to their customers, DevOps teams must support this with the right underlying applications, technology components (such as infrastructure) and, agile processes. Learn how you can align your company’s overall vision with your plans.

Understand and Learn:

Before starting a DevOps journey, a foundational understanding of which capabilities must be improved, becoming familiar with key DevOps principles, core practices, and learning about the different methodologies and frameworks.

Plan, Practice, and Do:

How will you execute, integrate, and automate your processes to improve the business demand successfully and visibly? How will you need to modify your staffing to be successful? Learn what processes, alignments, automation, and integrations you need to form and build to fulfill your business demands.

Optimize and Improve:

Speed, quality, and performance of an application or service are not only aspects of a good customer experience but also aspects of good collaboration between the different teams. Key aspects around performance management throughout the lifecycle of a service will provide you with the input to continuously improve the processes, collaboration and therefore ultimately improve the delivery of the service.



Discover how the next normal is forcing business leaders to have a laser-sharp focus towards the speed and flexibility required by sales, marketing, and other customer-facing groups to continuously enhance the experience and value delivered to its customers.

DevOps is a Serious Play for Supporting Your Company’s Digital Strategy

Transformation Happens through Changes in Attitude, Behavior, and Culture

Leverage the DevOps Journey SKILbook to Learn about The DevOps Journey

Existing processes, bureaucracy and procedural hurdles challenge even motivated disruptors and teams.

About the Director of Content Strategy

Eveline Oehrlich is Chief Research Officer at DevOps Institute. As former VP and Research Director at Forrester Research, Eveline led and conducted research around a variety of topics including DevOps, Digital Operational Excellence, Cognitive Intelligence, and Application Performance Management for 12 years. She is the author of many research papers and thought leadership pieces and a well-known presenter and speaker. She has more than 25 years of experience in IT.

Her passion is to help companies transform their IT organization, processes, and tools towards high-performing teams enabling their business partners to achieve better business results. She has helped some of the largest enterprises across the world to adopt new strategies, workflows, and automation within their journey towards a digital business.

Eveline Oerliche

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