DevOps Maturity Model: Trends and Best Practices

Innovation is critical to driving an organization’s growth. Once leaders in their industries, companies like Nokia, Kodak, and Blockbuster failed to innovate and soon lost most market share.

Consumers want quicker, better, and more affordable solutions to their problems. You should have systems in place to launch your products in the market as soon as possible — without compromising the quality.

DevOps is one such process for innovation in the IT industry. It is a methodology that stresses communication, collaboration, and integration between the originally siloed development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams. Implementing DevOps can reduce friction between groups and empower businesses to launch software products faster.

But many businesses are still in the nascent stage of implementing it effectively.

Achieving DevOps maturity is a journey, not a destination. And organizations need to identify where they are in this expedition.

Let’s discuss how DevOps Maturity Model can help organizations evaluate their software delivery processes and implement DevOps practices faster.

What Is the DevOps Maturity Model?

The DevOps maturity model provides a scale for evaluating and measuring the maturity level of an organization’s DevOps capabilities. It focuses on the challenges of implementing technology and cultural changes and the opportunities provided by new approaches.

It helps organizations become more effective at bringing software to market on schedule, within budget, and of course, with high quality. The more capabilities and skills an organization has, the better it can handle issues of scale and complications.

The model is useful when working with an entire organization but can also apply to specific technical teams. Companies use it to map their current DevOps state and document the route to the desired state.

Phases of DevOps Maturity

The DevOps approach provides development teams with the tools and processes they need to deploy new features in production quickly, reliably, and repeatedly. It has been around for several years but has been gaining more and more attention lately.

There are no standard phases of DevOps maturity, but most variations stem from the same core principles. Each stage represents a progressive increase in maturity.

The first stage is a traditionally siloed organizational structure with outdated processes, extensive manual work, and high outages. It reaches the final phase when an organization successfully optimizes its DevOps capabilities across the culture, processes, and tools.

One way of looking at DevOps maturity is by categorizing your processes within the stages given below.

  • Phase 0: Disorganized — No DevOps process is in place, or the management has no idea how beneficial automation and integration are. Development and operations teams work independently, and the software is tested manually. Desired changes take a long time to go into production.
  • Phase 1: Structured — Some processes are put in place, but they are very loosely defined, and there is little or no automation. Companies in this phase experiment with DevOps practices on small teams before scaling it to larger IT projects.
  • Phase 2: Managed — A more mature process is defined, including automation for some essential tasks. Agile practices are widely adopted in the development and operations sectors.
  • Phase 3: Measured — Teams have a strong understanding of DevOps practices, and automation replaces most manual processes. Agile performance metrics are defined and incorporated into the process. Performance information is gathered via automation and fed back into the process to drive improvements.
  • Phase 4: Optimized — The focus in this phase is continuous improvement, and DevOps processes are entrenched across teams. You are running experiments across different parts of your architecture and using insights gained from your data to make changes and improve performance.

After identifying your organization’s maturity phase, you can create a road map for the future.

DevOps Maturity Assessment Models

Many DevOps maturity models are available in the market, each defining slightly different maturity levels or progress. These models can help organizations self-assess their current state of DevOps maturity and benchmark against industry standards.

Some models also provide actionable steps that organizations can use, no matter their size or the complexity of their environment. Maturity models also may include continuous improvement processes that any organization can apply.

Where Does Your Organization Stand?

If you’ve been practicing DevOps for a while, it might be time to assess your maturity level.

Mature DevOps environments have efficient teams, which can deliver high-quality software products at a rapid pace. Many DevOps teams are working hard to improve their processes, but how can they know if they are doing well?

How mature are you in the DevOps value stream? Asking this question will help you identify weaknesses and determine areas where you need to focus your efforts.

But not everyone has to struggle with self-assessment of their DevOps maturity. Many DevOps maturity assessment tools can take this burden off your shoulders.

Here are some DevOps maturity assessment models:

  1. Atlassian
  2. Atos
  3. Infostretch

Trends in DevOps Maturity

Whether you’re just beginning down the DevOps path or have hit a plateau in your development process, let’s look at how things change nowadays.

The IT world is changing at a breakneck pace. The old way of doing things won’t cut it for long. The days where you could get away with putting yourself in a corner and coming out to update the servers weekly are over. The adoption rate of DevOps is accelerating.

As per GitLab’s 2021 DevSecOps survey, there has been a sharp increase in release cadences, continuous deployments, automation, and security postures. The dependence on cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning has also grown.

Here are some more statistics from the study to ponder:

  • More than half of the total developers in the survey are releasing code 2x faster than earlier.
  • The percentage of security pros who rated their organizations’ security efforts as “good” or “strong” in 2020 is up from 13% to 72%.
  • The percentage of ops team members who said they are “fully” or mostly automated is up by 10% from 2020.
  • Almost a quarter of respondents have full test automation — up 13% from 2020.
  • Use of or plans for using AI/ML or bots for test/code review saw a massive increase of 41% from 2020.

Some companies implement DevOps far more effectively than others. Some don’t even know they should be doing it at all! We all face the same question: How can we learn to “do DevOps better?” That’s where the DevOps maturity model comes into play. It gives you direction by identifying the maturity stage you fall in and what the next steps are.

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