DevOps Failure. Why DevOps Fails? Here Are Some Key Reasons To Consider


March 19, 2019


June 21st, 2023

Category Blog, DevOps

A good start is half the battle.

We can’t agree more. But considering DevOps, good start remains a myth for most of the organizations.

This saying applies everywhere including software development methodologies. While everyone is seeking the perfect way to deliver software faster, Agile and DevOps models are somewhat failing to meet the expected picture of delivery and software quality.

And statistics can prove that.

Through 2023, 90% of DevOps initiatives will fail to fully meet expectations due to the limitations of leadership approaches, not technical reasons. (According to one article from Gartner)

On the other side, the DevOps market size is estimated to grow from 2.90 billion USD to 10.31 billion USD by 2023 with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 24.7% during the forecast period 2018-2023. [Source]

Within a very short period of time, a huge number of articles, debates, posts, success stories, and reasons for failure made DevOps an interesting topic to explore. Due to its potential to overcome the problem of speed and quality of software, DevOps is a really a great approach, mindset, and culture.

Before we decode the reasons behind DevOps failure, the important part is to understand what actually DevOps is.
  • DevOps is more than ‘Team Collaboration
  • DevOps is more than ‘Toolchain
  • DevOps is more than ‘Software development model
  • DevOps is more than ‘Agility and quality
  • DevOps is more than a ‘Bridge between Development & Operation Team

Despite the infinite definitions and understating, DevOps fails at execution. Even, leading organizations and the best resources are failing to get DevOps implementation right.

And there are some legitimate reasons.

The purpose of this post is to discuss the failures of DevOps and their reasons.


Why DevOps Fails? Why There Is A Significantly Less Number Of Success Stories Of DevOps Despite The Hype?

We know that failure happens; it’s not a big deal and it is the first step towards success. But, there are some mindset and fundamental changes one should adopt in order to create a DevOps success story.

The Reasons For DevOps Failure Are Decoded Here:

Culture Has A Huge Impact On Success. Have You Created The ‘DevOps’ Culture?

This point is breaking the most-discussed myth of the DevOps concept.

Before we dig up little further, it is important to know why culture is important. Culture is a set of practices, standards, beliefs, and structure that reinforce the organizational structure. While DevOps is not only a set of tools, you must create a culture of DevOps in your organization to get the results.

A U.S. Government Agency who adopted DevOps for continuous deployment and configured failed to identify the importance of people and process which led to misconduct and confusion among developers and key people.

“Tools are not the solution to a cultural problem” -George Spafford, Research Director at Gartner said.

Also, Gartner carried out Enterprise DevOps survey in 2017. In that survey, 88% of respondents said ‘team culture’ was one of the major people-related attributes having the greatest impact on DevOps success.

When DevOps was at its introductory stage, the team at IBM also was unable to get the essence of DevOps and could not bridge a gap between Development and Operation team. Later on, the team identified that the environment was not suitable for faster releases and strict deadlines and therefore there was a gap between the development and operations.

So, Only Tools Can’t Help. What’s The Solution? How Can You Set The Right ‘DevOps’ Culture?
  • Observe the before-DevOps situation, tools, and behavior of the software development team
  • Identify ‘What They Do’ and ‘What Should They Do And Why
  • Train them not only with the tools, but make them understand DevOps As A Philosophy
  • Make this transformation easier by establishing habits from top management
  • Leaders need to set the standard for DevOps practices and behaviors

There are many ways and practices which can help implement DevOps with guaranteed result. Most often, organizations are running after tools and not cultural shift making it the biggest cause of DevOps failure.

Have You Defined DevOps For Your Organization? Does Your Organization Need It?

Okay, here is the truth.

In this digital era, every organization is a technology-driven organization regardless of the domains. The journey from ‘Digital Transformation’ to ‘Continuous Digital Journey’ demanded flexibility, agility, and quality as most-focused aspects.

DevOps has become a need for organizations that are associated with software delivery or often releasing an update or new features in order to serve their customers with quality and superiority.

No doubt, DevOps can make software development faster but every organization has a different set of requirements.

But do you lack DevOps vision?

DevOps should be defined in line with business goals in order to make it successful approach to software development.

Identifying what DevOps means for your business can make you think into broader perspectives like:

  • What is the existing software development process and what are the loopholes?
  • What are the pain points that need your attention?
  • How will you create ‘DevOps roadmap’?
  • How will you train your team to get started with DevOps?
  • What is your ultimate goal and expectations by implementing DevOps in your organization?

Try to answer all these abovementioned questions and it would be easy for your organization to recognize overall DevOps picture.

Automation And Speed: It’s Not What You Think

Okay, let us explain with an example.

According to this article that talks about DevOps failure stories,

Knight Capital, a real-time stock trading company used automation to make transactions faster and easier for its users. What happened is, when writing new code for the app, the new code accidentally called old feature which was inactive but not removed from the internal application.

As a result, Knight’s app made buying orders worth billions of orders within minutes and the company had to pay $640M fine resulting in bankrupt.

There is a lesson for all of us.

Often, organizations misinterpreted the aspect of automation. DevOps automates the software development process with the help of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) principles. There are a huge number of tools available for code repository, testing, maintenance, and storage.

Here are some points to consider:

Automation is powerful but one should not forget the power of machine-man combination for greater accuracy.
  • Change doesn’t happen overnight; give your team sufficient time to work in a DevOps environment
  • Measure progresses, fix constraints, and realize benefits of using DevOps toolchain
  • Make collaboration a necessary practice among the team
  • Don’t expect great result too sooner; it may take a lot more time to scale DevOps than you imagine

Until this point, we discussed organizational change, now we are moving ahead with the people.

DevOps Is Empowering Everyone In The Team; Leaders Should Take Notice

DevOps can’t be implemented with the help of only tools.

People are one of the main reasons for DevOps failure. It can’t be revolved around only development and operation teams.

DevOps requires the involvement of all the people in the team who consider collaboration as an essential trait. To make DevOps successful, you need to identify the right people, train them, give them time to experience DevOps culture, and let them learn while working with utmost attention on the consequences of their actions.

That’s same happened with SlideShare, a professional content sharing platform from LinkedIn Corporation.

One of the software engineers from SlideShare was reorganizing the columns of the database in one database-related tool in order to sharpen his own understanding. At the same time, he wasn’t aware that he was also changing the orders of the columns in the actual database. This overall act resulted in the unavailability of the server for many users.

Also, define accessibility and usability for all the team members of your organization. It should not be the case where unauthorized people are given accessibility or incorrect accessibilities are given to the authorized people.

DevOps focuses on people and culture more than the tools for rapid delivery of software with maximum efficiency. Shift your perspective towards people as they are one of the fundamental drivers of DevOps.

Think Of Powerful Infrastructure With DevOps Toolchain Or Fail Often

DevOps automates development, delivery, and deployment.

It is of utmost importance that the infrastructure set up needs a faultless strategy to plan, verify, sync, and monitor DevOps toolchain to avoid bigger loss.

What’s more important is continuous inspection and measurement to take necessary actions to get the expected outcome from DevOps efforts. DevOps requires faultless set up of tools and their links in order to plan, manage, configure, manage, and verify all the processes.

We hope that these points decoded the reasons behind DevOps failure.

Is Your Organization Still Relying On Waterfall Model?

Are you using the traditional software development model such as waterfall, iterative, or v-model?

Do you want to use DevOps for upcoming projects or implement DevOps for existing ones?

We’ve got you covered. We are one of the leading DevOps consulting company offering an end-to-end solution for DevOps services to help you achieve rapidity and superior quality of software.

Also, if you have adopted DevOps and have a failed attempt, you can share your story with us. That will help you understand DevOps more precisely.

Stay tuned for more insights on DevOps!

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