The role of DevOps in modern software development

May 8, 2023
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Tech Insights
Elvire Jaspers
The role of DevOps in modern software development

While the agile methodology has grown in popularity in recent years, development and operations teams still largely remain siloed in most organisations – for now. 

The introduction of a new approach to project management that relies on and, in some cases, improves upon the agile method has become increasingly popular in modern organisations

DevOps is considered to be the next evolutionary leap of collaboration among cross-functioning teams and encourages a culture shift that aims to release higher-quality software, much faster.

Let’s take a deep dive into DevOps to understand why it is crucial for modern software development and how its cultural principles can benefit entire organisations.


  1. What is DevOps?
  2. Why is DevOps crucial for modern organisations?
  3. DevOps culture and principles
  4. DevOps core practices
  5. Benefits of DevOps
  6. DevOps implementation best practices
  7. Summary

What is DevOps?

DevOps is an evolving philosophy and continuous set of practices that combine the processes of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) into a single, cohesive framework. The primary goal of DevOps is to improve and speed up the software development process by encouraging collaboration between development and operations teams. 

DevOps spans all stages of the development and operations lifecycle, from planning, building and deployment to testing, monitoring and iterating. Successful DevOps relies on cross-team collaboration, communication, transparency, flexibility, and automation. 

A DevOps team is comprised of developers and IT operations individuals working closely together throughout the entire product lifecycle. A fundamental principle of technology is speed, both in delivery and performance. The DevOps framework is designed to support faster application development and quicker deployment of new features/products.

Why is DevOps crucial for modern organisations?

While DevOps is a project management framework, it also applies to overall business processes. DevOps serves as a driving force for modern organisations to improve their internal communications and collaborations among teams to improve overall efficiency and quality.

This new way of cross-organisational working based on accountability, transparency, and unified goals has a profound impact on business operations. 

Its foundations are based on breaking down barriers between teams to form tactile and cohesive units that propel business innovation and improvement. Ultimately, this translates into quicker, more effective and secure delivery of value to customers.

DevOps culture and principles

While the practical benefits of DevOps are achieved by tools and agile engineering processes, the success of complete DevOps hinges on the right culture and mindset within an organisation.

DevOps is a culture of shared responsibility and transparency and aims to solve a recurring problem that has plagued the IT industry for years – cross-team collaboration.

In traditional companies, development and operations teams often operate in isolation from each other as they are deemed separate disciplines. Despite the different skills required for each, modern software development requires a collaborative approach to be successful. Siloed development and operations teams often experience conflict due to the nature of their sometimes competing responsibilities. 

Developers are required to build and release more and more code, while operations engineers are responsible for identifying and eliminating errors in the software before deployment. With the demand for rapid software releases, operations teams must commonly serve as gatekeepers which ultimately slows down the deployment process, leading to friction between teams. DevOps remedies this through cross-team collaboration.

The DevOps framework goes against the silo model. Instead, it merges the multidisciplinary skills of development and IT operations teams into a single unit which works collaboratively across the entire product lifecycle.

By improving collaboration and encouraging a culture of teamwork between teams, friction is eliminated as transparency and ownership are shared. This allows teams to work faster and smarter to plan, build, deploy, and monitor, improving time-to-market and ultimately, customer satisfaction.

DevOps core practices

Commonly, DevOps teams use particular tools to accelerate and automate processes. A DevOps toolchain helps them handle vital DevOps fundamentals, such as continuous development, testing, integration, delivery, deployment, and monitoring. 

  • Continuous development: Covers the entire duration of the planning and coding phases of the DevOps project lifecycle.
  • Continuous testing: Includes prescheduled, automated, and continuous code testing when application code is written/ updated.
  • Continuous integration (CI): Combines configuration management tools with various testing tools to identify the parts of developed code that are ready for production. It relies on fast feedback between testing and development to discover and resolve any issues found in the code.
  • Continuous delivery: The process of automating the delivery of after-test code changes to a staging or preproduction environment. Once the code changes are viable they are included in production.
  • Continuous deployment (CD): Automates the delivery of new or improved code into production. Tools such as Docker enable continuous deployment by maintaining code consistency across different environments and deployment platforms.
  • Continuous monitoring: Involves ongoing observation of the code in operation and the supporting infrastructure. When issues are found, a report is sent back to development via a feedback loop.

Benefits of DevOps

There are many ways DevOps benefits both teams and organisations as a whole. They can be categorised into 3 areas: technical, cultural, and business.

Technical benefits include simpler processes, faster and continuous delivery, improved problem resolution, and higher quality products. 

Cultural benefits include improved collaboration and trust between teams and more satisfied employees.

The business benefits include efficient and more productive teams that produce quicker delivery and better products, creating create happier customers. 

According to Atlassian’s 2020 DevOps Trends survey, 99% of respondents stated that DevOps has a positive impact on their organisation. Let’s take a look at the benefits of DevOps in more detail:

CollaborationThe DevOps approach to collaboration approach means teams combine their efforts, share responsibilities, and expose each other to different disciplines. This creates more efficient and resilient teams.
SpeedDevOps teams work faster and smarter and are able to release deliverables more frequently, with higher quality and stability.
QualityDevOps’ core practices of continuous testing, continuous integration, and continuous delivery (and others) make sure that changes work correctly, raising the quality of products. With more frequent releases and iterations, DevOps teams can rapidly improve the quality of products. 
SecurityWith DevSecOps, security is built into products through the continuous integration/delivery/deployment framework. Security audits and security testing is integrated into the development process, creating a safe product.
Quicker time-to-resolutionContinuous monitoring keeps teams informed of the real-time performance of systems, meaning any issues can be immediately resolved.
Better managementThe collaborative and transparent framework allows team leads to gain clear oversight of every aspect of a project which leads to easier management and more satisfied team members.

DevOps implementation best practices

Here’s how to successfully implement DevOps within your organisation.

1. Adopt an agile project management

Start by implementing an agile project management framework within your teams. The agile method is based on an iterative, incremental approach to a project’s lifecycle which opts for a more free and fluid process with the ability to perform changes when required. 

Here, development and operations teams are organised into cross-functional units which work together throughout the lifecycle. Projects are divided into smaller portions that make it easier to manage with speed and efficiency. Continuous deployment is key.

2. Shift left during CI/CD

To “shift left” means incorporating testing into the early stages of coding. The term refers to stepping outside of the traditional linear approach of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). It is a way to guarantee security in the early stages of development as continuous testing, integration, and delivery allow teams to detect bugs and issues early on and gives them time to resolve them before becoming bigger problems. 

3. Automate 

The best way to ensure maximum efficiency throughout the entire software development lifecycle is to rely on automation. To ensure your code is up to scratch it requires regular testing that takes up a lot of time if done manually. Testing such as integration tests, end-to-end testing, performance test, and unit tests should be automated.

Test automation is a pillar of the DevOps framework as it screams efficiency. This frees up time for developers to devise new test cases that will improve the product.

4. Monitor the right metrics

DevOps’ best practice relies on continuous performance monitoring. It gives DevOps teams ultimate transparency over each incremental step along the software development lifecycle to quickly identify performance issues. Continuous monitoring helps teams detect defects in the application as soon as they arise which allows them to isolate exactly what is causing them.

Knowing which metrics to prioritise depends on the specific goals of the project and your company objectives as a whole. 

5. Observability

Monitoring has become increasingly complex in recent years thanks to technology’s shift from monolithic, on-premise systems to cloud and microservice-based applications. Observability consists of logs (time-series data indicating system functionality), traces (logic flow tracking), and metrics (disk space, network connectivity, CPU/RAM usage, etc.). 

Simply, observability involves using these three information sources to aggregate and make predictions about the system’s rather complex functionality.

6. Gather feedback

To make any progress with DevOps it is vital to gather continuous feedback to give teams a real-time overview of the software development lifecycle. It instils ownership and accountability within team members as they are able to identify what is required of them at all times.

This hinges on transparent communication and collaboration between development and operations teams. As soon as problems arise, it is important to gather as much feedback as possible and present it to the relevant team/individual to give them sufficient time to make adjustments. Continuous feedback keeps the DevOps team unified in its approach to progress tracking.

7. Culture shift

As with any change management system or a new way of working, it is important to get the buy-in from every team member. Team leads must promote the benefits of DevOps clearly and galvanise support to create an organisational culture shift.

DevOps relies on collaboration, communication, teamwork, transparency, trust and empathy. In order for it to be successfully adopted across teams and organisations, each employee must be willing to act out these traits.


Getting your DevOps practices to a point of flawless efficiency will be a continuous journey. In order to successfully adopt DevOps into your organisation, it is important to approach it in a DevOps fashion – incrementally and continuously.

Focus on your teams and people and take considered but manageable steps with your processes as you embark on your DevOps transformation. 

Get in touch

Are you looking to implement DevOps into your organisational structure? As a leading full-service, technology-driven digital agency, we empower visionaries to create meaningful brands and products.

Contact us to discuss how we can help power your business transformation and product development. 

Elvire Jaspers

Elvire is WeAreBrain’s CEO. She has worked in the tech industry for many years, successfully running and selling her own start-up in 2017. With a big passion for sailing, she's very keen on conquering the seas (besides the tech space).

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