How to Select a Best DevOps Service Provider
At the turn of the previous century, General Motors and other automakers constructed enormous plants equipped with the machinery and forges necessary to melt the steel. Everything required to manufacture a vehicle and get it out the door was on-site.
While you may have an innovative product similar to that of General Motors in the past, times have changed, and you no longer need to do everything yourself. DevOps as a service enables your engineers to concentrate on the essential aspect, your product, rather than the infrastructure.
Implementing the DevOps process remains a challenge for many firms worldwide attempting to leverage corporate DevOps as a means of providing software and critical upgrades to their consumers. You must choose a top-tier supplier with tested CI/CD methods and a high level of automation, allowing you to focus completely on building and growing your product.
DevOps as a service is offered by many businesses and organizations in the current dynamic IT environment. Therefore, how can you determine which works for you and differentiate the excellent ones from the rest? Is it simply an issue of technical expertise and familiarity with DevOps best practices? It is a blend of technical talents, DevOps expertise, and basic consulting skills. Here are a few considerations to consider while searching for a DevOps service provider.
Read more: Top 10 DevOps Trends to Watch 2022
They Must Display Empathy
When meeting with a possible provider for the first time, ensure that they are attentively listening to what you have to say. They must obtain the problem statement.
A reputable DevOps service will request your input on whether or not they have appropriately identified all the issues. The keyword in this instance is empathy. They must be able to place themselves in your position. If they were the client, they would want their service provider to reiterate the issue description before discussing the DevOps metrics.
Many DevOps service providers will act intuitively, particularly the more seasoned ones. They have been there and will be eager to provide potential solutions and DevOps KPIs to watch to achieve the goals. Therefore, if the possible service provider interjects his opinion about release and deployment management or any other topic while you are presenting the problem, this should serve as an early red signal.
In addition, if you invited them on-site and requested them to find inefficient processes, they should spend a minimum of one week at your business to uncover wasteful processes. If users spend too little time on the website, they will immediately adopt a solution to enjoy all of the benefits of continuous integration. For instance, they will discover a difficulty midway through implementing this method that might have been identified and avoided from the beginning.
In addition to asking about their technical capabilities, experience, and general DevOps intelligence, you should ensure that they have empathy for you and approach the work systematically.
They Must Have an Open Mind
DevOps is sometimes referred to as “Agile Delivery” because of the tight relationship between DevOps and Agile. Extrapolating from this, many people believe that DevOps implementation is something that Agile teams can only perform.
While most experts agree that you can fully leverage the DevOps technique inside Agile teams, your organization may be utilizing the Waterfall paradigm for valid reasons. If this is the case, then DevOps consultants must be able to provide solutions that can be executed immediately to provide quick wins. For instance, this may involve decreasing the build and deployment time from many hours to minutes. Such a target might be considered weak by the DevOps support service provider, but it could relieve a great deal of pressure off your team and give them the time they need to hunt for more areas to optimize. If you discover that you are mirroring certain fundamental Agile practices throughout the process of such improvements, you should consider committing to this change.
However, the DevOps provider should not make Agile processes a prerequisite for deploying DevOps processes.
They Must Possess the Required Experience
You should engage a DevOps service provider with at least five years of expertise with automation technologies such as Puppet, Ansible, Chef, and SaltStack, as well as a high degree of skill with Python, Ruby, PHP, and Java. Additionally, they should be acquainted with continuous integration platforms such as Jenkins, CruiseControl, and CruiseCrontrol.NET, to mention a few. Additionally, it will be of great assistance if they have expertise in delivering code, database administration, system design, and software architecture.
When interviewing applicants, ask whether they have credentials in project management, risk management, or Scrum Master, or at least expertise in these domains. It is irrelevant where the DevOps support service provider is situated, as the one who best meets your demands may not be in the same city, state, or nation.
It will be necessary for the DevOps consultant to travel to your site location to observe and analyze processes and provide a recommendation on how to fix them. In today’s world, it is possible to travel from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time and without exceeding your budget.
The DevOps service provider is not required to have experience in your specific industry, but they should realize that the commercial requirements of your firm and technical advancements must go hand in hand. All of their actions must adhere to strong business standards. Be careful to address all desired business results from the DevOps deployment before considering any procedural modifications.
While the requirements for a DevOps consultant are high, the requirements for your engineers are not any less stringent. They must have significant automation skills, be able to design the construction and operation of a software stack, and have project-specific competence in Docker, Chef, Puppet, Jenkins, and MongoDB. Similar to DevOps consultants, engineers must also possess soft skills. This involves empathy, communication skills, honesty, and the drive to continually learn and enhance their talents.
Read more: Top 10 Essential Skills for DevOps Engineer
Encourage a Warm Atmosphere
There is so much material available about Agile and its approach that the human aspect becomes forgotten. If team members do not get along, difficulties will arise regardless of the methods employed. The DevOps service provider must be capable of assembling a team that understands and is ready to assist one another.
The service provider must set the appropriate example to construct such a team.
They should occasionally plan a team lunch, promote daily stand-up meetings, and communicate with team members to resolve their problems. You do not need a collection of unresponsive, unfeeling individuals since that is not what a team is.
In my experience, a product team leader did not attend stand-up meetings due to “higher priority” tasks. As you can guess, this generated great dissatisfaction among the other team members, as such meetings are pointless if the team leader does not attend.
Therefore, the service provider must understand how to meld and shape a genuine team that shares the same goals and values.
Watch Out for Flaunters
If you conduct a simple Google search for “DevOps continuous integration tools” or any other tool, you will get an avalanche of results. Almost every DevOps consulting firm has worked with or provides these solutions, and each DevOps solution provider has its preferred instruments.
Ultimately, they attempt to embed their preferred technologies into every client’s website in whatever manner feasible. In addition, they will attempt to impress you or bolster your ego by spewing these gadgets’ names and rambling about their features.
In most cases, the client lacks technical expertise and is seeking a solution to a business problem. If you bring someone in for an interview and they begin reciting a list of tools or using technical jargon, this is a clue that the relationship will not work out.
We recommend identifying a process you wish to optimize and discussing this with the prospective service provider. Take your business somewhere, for instance, if you are only attempting to improve a build process, and they begin discussing shifting the application to the cloud, disassembling a monolithic architecture, and using twenty tools.
This does not imply that they should not offer you knowledge on optimizing inefficient procedures; nevertheless, they should do it gradually. They should present you with a problem statement, inquire if you are prepared to consider a few steps into the future, and if the response is affirmative, proceed with some drastic alterations.
In reality, the hallmark of a successful consultant is someone who attempts to explain everything in a language that is easy to comprehend.
Patience is a Virtue
It will take time to establish an Agile attitude and embrace corporate DevOps in a team that is accustomed to doing things in a particular manner. It is unlikely to occur even two or three months later due to the necessity to alter mental processes and work routines. They shouldn’t battle through this situation since it will only build hate, hatred, and resentment against them and their frustration.
A reputable service provider will sit down with you and discuss your expectations. When creating the statement of work with the provider, they must account for the fact that patients will be required and that things will likely not go as smoothly as anticipated. In many circumstances, it might take months to embrace an open-source technology that they may consider apparent. Ask the service provider about the impact of this change on DevOps security. What will the processes for change management look like? Who will serve as the business and technical owners?
Not many DevOps consulting organizations prioritize security from the outset, even though security is an integral aspect of the DevOps process.
In the past, security was the duty of a separate team towards the end of the development process. When the development cycle extended months or even years, this was not such an issue, but those days are long gone.
A competent DevOps outsourcing provider will include security teams from the outset and develop a roadmap for security automation. This involves establishing the risk tolerance and doing a risk/benefit analysis to identify the appropriate security measures for a specific application. DevSecOps, like the standard DevOps method, necessitates the automation of repeated operations due to the time-consuming nature of performing security checks manually inside the pipeline.
Ensure They Are Current with the Most Recent Technologies
Many DevOps consultants tend to work on a project for an extended period, and as a result, they become bogged down with mundane deliverables. They will prioritize the deliverables over familiarizing themselves with new technology to maintain market relevance. They must comprehend that, despite having recently spent many years working on a single project, they must be able to switch gears and concentrate on something completely unrelated, as their previous work is meaningless.
Did they engage in self-education to become familiar with the newest technology on the market? If the response is “no,” this is a negative indicator.
Most DevOps solution providers deal with several clients. Thus it might be simple for them to comment on how poor your company’s procedures are. Typically, the more experience a service provider has, the easier it will be for them to enter this judgemental mood.
A professional DevOps service provider will do all possible to prevent this mentality and will seek out the underlying causes for why such procedures exist in the first place. Instead of telling you how bad everything is, they should ask why you engage in such practices. For instance, if your build time is two and a half hours, they should investigate the issue and find a solution instead of yelling at you about it. Perhaps you’re using an outdated ANT script.
Perhaps it is something else. The basic line is that they should not be judgemental from the beginning. They must familiarize themselves with the procedures before providing input, determining why you are utilizing them, and proposing fixes.
They Must Be Professional
Although it may seem obvious, establishing and maintaining professional ethics is crucial.
Consider that you are bringing in someone that your team members will look up to as a role model, someone in whom you will place a great deal of trust, delegate responsibility, and expect to be a leader who provides creative solutions.
Everyone will constantly be watching and will have high expectations. They must be able to transmit a sense of trust and authority by their appearance, demeanor, and conduct.
The DevOps service provider you select will need to apply DevOps best practices to give you the appropriate answers to your difficulties.
Do not employ a DevOps supplier who believes that DevOps workflows are only focused on automating routine cloud infrastructure tasks. They are capable of so much more. They must embrace the entirety of the DevOps culture.
Everyone is well-versed in the available tools and technology, so you should concentrate on their consulting abilities. This involves interpersonal skills, teaching team members, organizing teams, and seeming professional; this is what distinguishes the best consultants from the others.