Software problems? This study points toward the C-suite

You know the old adage about pointing fingers: For every one you point, three point back at you. That’s right, Mr. Executive. Next time you want to dress down your IT leaders, you might give some thought to the example you set.

Today’s best practices for DevOps and continuous delivery are entirely centered around the idea of culture change and breaking down silos between organizational units, with a goal of increasing collaboration and deploying apps to users ASAP.

Well, if you believe a DZone survey that’s part of its 2016 Guide to Continuous Delivery, too many corporate executives are still standing in the way.

The survey group was made up of nearly 600 IT pros (developers and development leads in the U.S. and Europe), about two-thirds of whom work at large organizations. The topics ranged from the confidence they had in pushing out new software to how they’re using container technology in spinning up new apps.

The answers paint a somewhat pessimistic picture for enterprise technology. For example:

Quality: Nearly a third of respondents couldn’t say their software is “confirmed to be in a shippable state every time a new feature or patch is added.”

Efficiency: Nearly two-thirds said their teams couldn’t “perform push-button deployments of any desired version of software to any environment on-demand.”

Visibility: Nearly two-thirds couldn’t claim that “all stakeholders have immediate visibility into the production readiness” of systems.

Collaboration: Only 37 percent of respondents said their development and operations teams deployed code at the same time, indicating a continuing problem with breaking down silo barriers.

What’s the matter here?

Why are so many companies continuing to struggle toward continuous delivery processes? It’d be easy to point toward a lack of proper continuous delivery tooling, including Service Virtualization, and certainly that plays a role. Even the finest craftsman needs the right tools to do his job well. If your company is still developing the old, slow, expensive way, you should ask your direct reports about methodology and tools.

However, if you read a little deeper in the study, you find an answer that points toward the C-suite.

A majority of respondents cited “lack of a collaborative corporate culture” as a key barrier to adopting continuous delivery. And, the larger a company they work for, the more likely they were to cite it.

“From there, a clear trend is present that indicates that more respondents recognized the lack of a supportive culture as a barrier if they worked at larger companies,” the authors said.

Where to go from here?

Corporate politics, backstabbing and fiefdoms are some of the reasons information technology executives shudder at the thought of trying to implement DevOps and continuous delivery.

Leading your team toward a better path means a couple of things. First, you must support IT chiefs who are working to acquire the right toolkits for continuous delivery. Second, insist that they are operating in a DevOps mode that eliminates old silos.

Third, and most importantly, you must be patient. You must set realistic expectations and avoid expecting that any magic elixir will turn around a moribund business in 12 or 24 months. DevOps is a process, not a miracle. That means the good effects of DevOps happen at a measured pace rather than overnight, especially at larger companies. Results will come over time.