3 Reasons Why Startups and SMBs Need to Implement DevOps

Updated: Apr 24


Over the years, you may have heard DevOps thrown around (often incorrectly) and tied to some of the most admirable tech companies in the world. Netflix, Amazon, Etsy, IBM, and New Relic are only a few of the organizations that embrace the DevOps method. This method helps break down walls between developers and operations, allowing them to work more closely with one another. By pulling people out of their silos and getting them away from simply “tossing code over the wall,” R&D teams become more agile, serving their customers better and faster.


The Early Days of DevOps

I think anyone who’s part of a tech team can relate to the pain caused by miscommunication and misalignment of priorities and vision. Expectations get muddled. Fingers get pointed. And before you know it, you’re working endless days and weekends, trying to fix some elusive problem so you can get the code out the door by the promised deadline.


In 2008, a man named Patrick Debois wasn’t having it. A project manager and agile practitioner, Debois had become frustrated by the separation and lack of collaboration. As a believer in agile, working like this didn’t jive. After connecting with people like Andrew Schafer, John Allspaw, and Paul Hammond, Debois was inspired to create a new methodology to address these issues, even starting a conference called Devopsdays. Fast forward to 2013, and books like The Phoenix Project helped create more awareness and adoption of DevOps.


(Side note: I’ve been lucky enough to attend Devopsdays in Boston. Lots of great thinking there.)


A Case for DevOps

It might seem like only the biggest, sexiest, and most lucrative tech companies can implement DevOps. After all, they’re considered the best of the best. The pack leaders. The companies we all aspire to be. However, it’s the small companies that can get DevOps up and running faster and more effectively. The smaller the team is (ideally around five people), the better it goes. SMBs and startups are basically made for this, so why not take advantage? In fact, many of your people are already wearing multiple hats, making it easy for them to adopt this multifaceted structure.

By creating smaller, closed scrum teams, you’ll be able to release faster and more reliably. It also builds empathy between teams. Rather than finger-pointing, a sense of “we all own this” comes into play. There’s pride and ownership, and each individual feels like they have a stake in the success (or failure) of a product or service.

The Benefits of DevOps

According to RightScale’s 2016 State of the Cloud Report, an estimated 70% of SMBs were adopting DevOps methods. Before your company scales at breakneck speed, it’s best to incorporate this into your engineering culture. Here are three reasons why:


Faster Delivery: Automation created by the dev teams allows you to utilize better CI/CD processes, reducing the total time to resolution. When you have an incident, you’re able to act on that and resolve it much quicker because each member of the team has a deeper understanding of the product/service. Because you’re involved in each aspect, you know how it works, what alerts need to go off, how it all connects, and how to troubleshoot.


Stability and Reliability: As a smaller business without a well-known brand or reputation, your product/service needs to be top-notch. If you’re delivering an unreliable product and you’re running against competitors with stronger brand recognition, you’re fighting an uphill battle. DevOps lets you build quality products/services quickly. That’s what end users are looking for from a business. Customers might already be wary about trusting a business that they believe might not have enough experience or resources. Having a quality product/service proves you’re worth the investment. It speaks for itself.


Productive Teams: Because you’ll have stronger collaboration, team members can see each other’s blind spots. Bringing together different skill sets creates a culture of camaraderie and a “we’re in it together” mindset. It also creates transparency on what’s being worked on so the team can avoid doing double work.


Take advantage of your setup and streamline a formal DevOps process while it’s still manageable. Create a culture that embraces communication, collaboration, ownership, and quality so you can continue to scale effectively with fewer headaches.


Don’t know where to start? Let us help you. Harlow Creative Co. works with companies to implement DevOps. Learn more.

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