Companies have found DevOps to be a revolutionary way of releasing software quickly and efficiently while maintaining a high level of security.

Not all DevOps implementations are created equally, however, and according to the Puppet Labs’ State of DevOps Report, there are clear differences in the methods of the highest performing DevOps practitioners and the rest of the pack.

Key Findings

The report has confirmed what every DevOps expert already knows, “that there’s a lot more to IT performance than technical practices; organizations need to invest just as much in their people as they do in their technology.”


It is of the utmost importance to hire and place the right people in the best position to succeed. Per the report, high performing companies that do so will significantly outperform the competition:

  • High-performing companies have greater throughput than low-performing companies
  • High-performing companies have greater employee loyalty than low-performing companies
  • High-performing companies spend 22% less time on unplanned work than low-performing companies
  • High-performing companies spend 29% more time on new work than low-performing companies
  • High-performing companies spend 50% less time fixing security issues than low-performing companies

The Three Defining Skills of A DevOps Expert

So how can your company become a high performer? According to Puppet Labs, here are 3 practices that need to be implemented in the DevOps tool chain in order to become a high-performing company.

1.  Agile Deployment

According to the report, Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods, deploys up to 80 times per day. Larger companies like Amazon deploy thousands of times per day. They do this by using agile deployment practices. Agile enables developers to ship frequently – 200x more frequently, by practicing early delivery and continuous deployment.

The time that it takes for code to be deployed at either company is less than an hour, and lead times are up to 2,555x faster than companies not using agile deployment, keeping them on the cutting edge of their respective industries.

The secret to their agility is attributed to:

  • Breaking up major releases into small releases that are more frequent through lean product management
  • Using trunk based development instead of the branching model so that all developers can commit to one shared branch under source control
  • Moving from a time-consuming waterfall model to maximized agile software development

The Three Defining Skills of A DevOps Expert

2.  Team Integration

In the pre-DevOps period,  teams divided work on a departmental basis. The creation of DevOps has broken down those barriers. Teams from IT, cyber security, development, and operations now work together in a transparent way in order to have a common work flow.

This kind of interaction and teamwork does not come easily, and needs to be kept together by the leadership of DevOps experts.  Team integration is a slow, but important process. Here are some tips to to build camaraderie:

  • Include all teams in daily reporting and demos. This keeps everyone apprised of all activity, even if it’s seemingly less relevant to certain employees
  • Obtain requirements from all departments and incorporate them within automated testing
  • Have all departments share a common set of tools. Aside from being a helpful tool for software development, JIRA can also serve to get all workers on the same page

3. Ownership


Employees at high performing companies feel a sense of ownership over their work. DevOps experts know how to create an environment that allows for teams to take initiative and be creative, in addition to promoting camaraderie.

I think that developing the value of collective ownership within projects is the biggest challenge for DevOps experts, both within and between teams.

Once the “virtual wall” between the different teams is removed, they become more sensitive to one another. The development teams becomes more “operation sensitive,” the cyber security becomes more “development sensitive.”, etcetera.

As the report states, “there’s a lot more to IT performance than technical practices; organizations need to invest just as much in their people as they do in their technology.”

The DevOps Era

The DevOps revolution has advanced beyond technology alone. On top of facilitating intelligent automation, which allows for the rapid release of applications, the culture of DevOps has ushered in a new age of organizational behavior.

DevOps experts, with their finger on the pulse of all aspects within their respective organization, are responsible for creating an environment that maximizes the performance of individual employees, teams, and ultimately, the company.

How does your company rate, based on the studies published in the State of DevOps Report? Let us know in the comments below.