Blog DevOps Platform Developing a successful DevOps strategy
Published on March 9, 2022
5 min read

Developing a successful DevOps strategy

Here's what it takes to build a DevOps practice that works for everyone on the team.


Some 60% of developers are releasing code 2x faster than before, thanks to DevOps, and a majority of respondents to our 2021 Global DevSecOps Survey said their teams develop software using DevOps or DevSecOps.

DevOps has had a direct impact on many businesses. Here’s what it takes to develop a successful DevOps strategy.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a set of practices that combines dev and ops to create safer software faster.

The main DevOps principles are automation, continuous integration and delivery and responding quickly to feedback. Others are agile planning, infrastructure as code (IaC), containerization and microservices. Also, building in quality assurance and security with development and operations through the application lifecycle is important. Incorporating security into a DevOps team is referred to as DevSecOps.

Enabling the speed of delivery while maintaining high software quality requires an organizational culture shift that automates and integrates the efforts of the development and ops teams – two groups that traditionally practiced separately from each other, or in silos. But the best DevOps processes and cultures extend beyond development and operations to incorporate input from all application stakeholders – including platform and infrastructure engineering, security, compliance, governance, risk management, line-of-business, end users and customers – into the software development lifecycle.

What are the benefits of a successful DevOps strategy?

A successful DevOps strategy puts the focus on the customer. It’s not enough to focus on developing good software because this approach justifies prolonged development and release deadlines. It also overlooks the most critical factor: the consumer of the software. Your customer doesn’t care much about the process – they just want a quality product that will address their problem. A successful DevOps strategy puts the team in the consumer’s shoes.

Another benefit of DevOps is that it allows a variety of teams, such as operations, security or project management, to work in an Agile setting. While development teams have become more Agile over the years, this occurred in isolation; operations teams have found it challenging to keep up and cannot release software at the same rate. DevOps brings these teams together and accelerates the delivery of software, while keeping the quality high.

Shorter development cycles with DevOps produce more frequent code releases, which in turn, makes it easier to spot code defects.

What key elements make DevOps successful?

Like in most situations, communication is key to making a DevOps strategy successful. No business team can function without it, and that goes for a DevOps team. A good DevOps strategy incorporates feedback from developers, co-workers, and key stakeholders when building new systems. IT roles used to be more structured and defined, and as mentioned, professionals became used to working in silos. But DevOps has changed that model and work has become more collaborative. Teams now need to clearly communicate expectations, requirements and deadlines.

DevOps is about a willingness to change. Teams must let go of some of their traditional practices and be open-minded to shifting their focus away from one deliverable and onto the next as business needs and capabilities evolve and change.

Teams must also accept failure but not get discouraged by it. Some failure is to be expected, and the concept of “fail fast” (so you know there’s a problem soon enough to fix it easily) is at the heart of DevOps. They should embrace the possibilities that come from trying new techniques, and not be afraid to get creative. The top teams are those that work together, exchange ideas and push the boundaries of how they work and write more creative code.

Tips for creating a DevOps roadmap

Having a standard roadmap provides a DevOps team with a high-level, strategic blueprint of what the company envisions for the product. It’s a valuable reference point for any stakeholder during the software lifecycle. A roadmap also lets ops know when the development team will have a piece of code ready for testing.

When creating a DevOps roadmap, make sure to clearly define the objectives and goals. Ask the team what the collective purpose is for the roadmap. Objectives might include:

  • Improving engineering and ops teams coordination
  • Creating a single source of truth
  • Building an archive of development and release practices that people can refer to over time that are based on the most effective processes. This will help improve DevOps efforts going forward.

Focused, short-term goals and plans should be established. Organizations typically plan their product roadmaps between 2 and 6 months out.

A common mistake businesses make when building roadmaps is to use text only. By just using word processing documents or spreadsheets, stakeholders won’t get a clear understanding of what’s a high priority, which initiatives are dependent on others and who’s responsible for what.

Visual roadmaps, complete with color-coding and bars, helps stakeholders more easily understand product plans. Roadmaps should also be kept current to reflect changes within the company’s culture and business model.

What are some common challenges associated with DevOps?

Change isn’t easy and the merging of development and operations may cause a few clashes, but those involved must keep in mind that building a successful DevOps team requires this integration and collaboration between both sides. Make a gradual move into DevOps by starting with a small product or component and build from there.

There can also be challenges with deciding what tools to use, since there are so many available. This makes selecting a tool hard, especially if there’s a lack of knowledge about the technology behind it. Using a DevOps platform can streamline all these choices as all of the moving parts of DevOps will be available and integrated in one single offering.

Momentum for DevOps is clearly growing because organizations are eager to take advantage of delivering software in shorter development cycles, while enhancing innovation in more stable operating environments and with performance-driven employee teams.

We want to hear from you

Enjoyed reading this blog post or have questions or feedback? Share your thoughts by creating a new topic in the GitLab community forum. Share your feedback

Ready to get started?

See what your team could do with a unified DevSecOps Platform.

Get free trial

New to GitLab and not sure where to start?

Get started guide

Learn about what GitLab can do for your team

Talk to an expert