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Effective DevOps goes beyond tech folks, including HR and legal

To achieve continuous delivery, organizations must embrace a truly holistic approach to software. Legal, PR, finance and HR all have a part to play in effective DevOps.

DevOps is a technical term used by technical people. That doesn't mean, however, that only technical folks matter when it comes to doing effective DevOps and achieving continuous delivery. To make the very most of DevOps, you have to think more holistically and integrate all parts of your organization into the continuous delivery process.

If you're familiar with DevOps, you probably already realize that the term DevOps is misleading. It alludes to only developers and IT ops. Other IT professionals, such as software testers in the quality assurance department, also play an important role in working alongside developers and IT ops admins to deliver software.

But you've probably spent less time thinking about how other divisions within your organization affect software production and your ability to achieve continuous delivery. When trying to achieve effective DevOps, consider the following ways in which groups that traditionally have nothing to do with IT matters can contribute to your organization.

Keep the law on your side

Creating or modifying an app or software service may require changes to an End-User License Agreement, service-level agreement or other legal document. There may also be compliance issues to factor in. This is why your legal department needs to be plugged into the continuous delivery chain. While lawyers may not need to review every code commit, it's important not to leave them in siloes. Instead, make sure they are in communication with the people developing, testing and deploying your code.

Effective DevOps counts on HR

We tend to talk about continuous delivery as if the developers and admins who power continuous delivery chains are automatons who are always available and never take vacations or move onto other jobs. In reality, of course, they're human beings whose roles change and who are not always available.

In order to keep continuous delivery chains operating smoothly as employees come and go, get promoted, go on vacation and so on, your HR staff should collaborate with the professionals responsible for continuous delivery. HR can help ensure that new employees are on-boarded smoothly and vacant positions are filled quickly in order to minimize disruptions to the continuous delivery chain.

Promoting software on the fly

Your organization's sales team needs to be able to promote new software features and anticipate upcoming changes so that they can coordinate their marketing strategies accordingly. To do this, they must have visibility into your continuous delivery chain.

Microsoft and DORA preach
the gospel of DevOps

As DevOps Research and Assessment CEO Nicole Forsgren emphasized in her Microsoft Inspire talk, there are more DevOps opportunities than ever, because more enterprises are seeing the benefit of bringing together people, process, technology and culture to ensure continuous delivery.

The presses stay hot

Whether you do your public relations (PR) in-house or hire it out, you want to make sure that you have press releases ready to go to promote major software updates. You also want to be able to handle PR incidents that could occur in the event of a software problem. To do these things, your PR department or agency needs to have a line of communication with the groups that deliver software.

Always keep finance in the loop

Developers, admins and the other professionals who deliver software don't work for free (well, at least not if they are writing commercial software rather than open source code). The tools and infrastructure that they need to do their jobs also cost money. In order to make the most of the continuous delivery process and remain as agile as possible, it's important for the people in your organization who handle finance to have more than a superficial understanding of the continuous delivery chain. You don't want your team to be unable to adopt a new tool or hire key new staff in between budget cycles because the finance department doesn't understand its needs.

The bottom line: Bust silos

Effective DevOps requires thinking beyond just development, IT and software testing. Continuous delivery is a truly holistic process. While the nontechnical parts of your organization don't need to be as closely plugged into the continuous delivery chain as the people who fuel it directly, the lines of communication should at least be open.

After all, siloes are the greatest enemy of DevOps. That's true whether they cordon off people with engineering degrees or those who play other types of roles within your organization.

This was last published in August 2017

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