Getting Started With DevOps Governance

There’s no doubt that DevOps can make your team more efficient and your enterprise more competitive. But that efficiency doesn’t come without risk. Without controls, continuous integration quickly turns into continuous mistakes. That’s where DevOps governance comes in. Effective governance is about the awareness you need to move quickly without too much risk. Let’s talk about how to start with DevOps governance.

What Is Governance?

If you’re like some technologists, the word “governance” evokes images of rules, obstacles, and meetings. Management often turns governance into compliance. So, sometimes that suspicion is justified. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you look at governance as a form of risk management instead of process management, it’s easy to see how you can add it to your pipeline without too many restrictions. Think about taking active steps toward understanding and managing risks. Then take the steps required to protect your enterprise.

What Is DevOps?

Take a look around and you’ll find a wide variety of definitions for DevOps. For some organizations, it’s a way to add development responsibility to systems engineers. For others, it’s just a fancy title to slap on those same engineers. Wikipedia cites Len Bass, Ingo Weber, and Liming Zhu’s definition that describes what DevOps is for, rather than what it is:

    [DevOps is] a set of practices intended to reduce the time between committing a change to a system and the change being placed into normal production, while ensuring high quality.

This definition helpfully frames DevOps in terms of results instead of processes and tools. Ensuring high quality while delivering code to production faster sounds great. But can DevOps really do that? Tools like Jenkins, Chef, Puppet, Ansible, and Salt deliver code more quickly and save you a lot of time and effort. So the speed is there, but where does the quality come from? It comes from taking a methodical, organized, and orderly approach to managing risk when you use these tools. Does that sound like our definition of governance to you? It should.

Getting Started With DevOps Governance

There’s no reason not to start using DevOps governance today. And you don’t need to bring things to a halt or hire a platoon of expensive consultants. Take a look at your current efforts and find places to improve quality and add automated checks and balances that work with your DevOps pipeline.

Shift Left

Where are you performing the bulk of your integration testing? Move it as close to the beginning of your development cycle as you can. Tools like Jenkins and Docker make it easy to integrate code outside of production or expensive testing environments. Don’t confine shift left to testing. Apply it to your designs and your deployments, too. Here again, you don’t have to point your DevOps pipeline only at production. Set up smaller pipelines for designing new systems and deployments.

Small Batches and Frequent Releases

Agile encourages you to release early and often. Apply this to your DevOps pipeline, and you’ve taken a giant step toward effective governance. Managing your deliveries as a stream of small batches that are released at regular intervals improves your ability to measure and manage your software delivery.

Automate for Compliance

Governance isn’t only about compliance, but it helps to have controls around critical processes. The good news is you can automate these processes. You can use your source control tools to make branching and tagging automatic. Then use Jenkins, Travis, or another build server to automate builds and deploys around those tags. Set up your configurations like code so you automate the change process. Get started with DevOps governance by setting up your tools so you can forget about it.

Get Started Today

Governance doesn’t have to slow your pipeline down. Instead, it should help you improve quality and efficiency. Governance is as simple as planning and tracking your actions so you track their impact. DevOps is about tools that making those functions easier. You can start organizing your DevOps activities and creating proper governance procedures with training from Cprime. Sign up for the DevOps Implementation Boot Camp today!

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Eric Goebelbecker
Eric Goebelbecker