While most organisations are committed to the full adoption of both Agile and DevOps, many are struggling with key challenges and missing out on the extensive benefits these practices can have on their bottom line.
A global study from CA Technologies, “How Agile and DevOps Enable Digital Readiness and Transformation” found that, while 75% of respondents recognize that agile and DevOps approaches drive significant business success when implemented together, only a relatively small proportion consider the consistency, depth and breadth of usage of these practices to be high.

The study showcases characteristics of Agility Masters (the top 18%), which are organisations that are farthest along in the full adoption and doing most or nearly all of the right things to make agile and DevOps an essential part of how they function day by day.

These Agility Masters are also more likely to use agile practices across other company functions, so it is unlikely a coincidence that these organisations are seeing a 60 p% cent higher rate of revenue and profit growth, and are 2,4-times more likely than their mainstream counterparts to be growing their businesses at a rate of over 20%.

“The pressure is on to make all parts of an organisation as flexible as possible when responding to changing customer demands, user expectations, regulatory changes and – most important of all – market opportunities,” says Jaco Greyling, chief technology officer: enterprise DevOps at CA Southern Africa. “Business leaders need to be aggressive and intentional about driving adoption of agile and DevOps within their organisations. The success of their business depends on it.”

The study also found that organisations are plagued by similar challenges: culture, skills, program investment and leadership alignment.

It highlights a widespread recognition that implementing agile and DevOps practices across the software lifecycle is not just a matter of new skills and working patterns.

For some, it also requires a significant shift in mindset and behaviour and making those changes is very much a people issue – even at the executive level.

Top priorities to improve effectiveness identified by respondents include:

* Improve the culture of the organisation so it encourages and rewards collaboration (84%);

* More support and commitment from management at all levels (82%);

* Training for IT teams on how to collaborate and incorporate best practices into their day-to-day jobs (78%), and additional resources to help implement agile and DevOps practices (75%); and

* Relieve time pressures so teams can implement effective agile and DevOps practices (74%).

Respondents also found it very difficult or challenging to find professionals that were familiar with agile methods (68%), had experience with DevOps (77%) and/or had collaborative cross-team working experience (67%).

This clearly indicates a skills gap for the majority of organisations, which requires resources, especially training, to be made available.

“Raising the capability of the engineering team through a well-crafted careers development program will allow us to continue to recruit and retain high calibre individuals,” said a chief architect/chief technology officer of a retail business interviewed for the study.