How to Outsource DevOps the Right Way

Before we start discussing how to go about outsourcing DevOps and upgrade your organizational practices, I want to make sure that we are all on the same footing and understand DevOps in the same way. DevOps relates to the practices and approaches of organizing software development and operational processes to work in unison that, respectively, results in streamlining the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and continuous delivery. Being a cross-functional mode of working, DevOps allows for amending the relationship and establishing tight collaboration between the Research & Development and Information Technology departments.

There are a lot of misconceptions around this term, so let’s take a look at the thesis what DevOps is not:

  • DevOps is not a merger of the Development and Operations teams into one;

  • DevOps is not an another, separate team;

  • DevOps is not a tool itself;

  • DevOps is not a simple automation of processes;

  • DevOps is not a universal strategy.

So, in other words, DevOps is about the practices that can be applied to the operational framework of a company to allows for more productive and stable software development and launch, as well as more fruitful cross-functional collaborations.

The Benefits of Implementing DevOps Practices

Now that we’ve stressed what exactly DevOps is, let’s discuss how different teams and businesses can benefit from employing DevOps engineers and introducing DevOps practices into their workflows.

There are a plethora of advantages that DevOps brings with the biggest ones being:

  1. Collaboration. Several software development methodologies, such as Lean and Agile, have already highlighted the importance of well-established collaborations for SDLC. However, DevOps inherits and enriches the previous methodologies. DevOps practices emphasize the cross-functional collaboration of the business as a whole rather than focusing only on the collaborations within specific departments.

  2. Efficacy. DevOps speeds up the production of your business tremendously. The software release and the following iterative evolution happens much faster without any sacrifice of the software quality.

  3. Innovation and Experimentation. As a result of accelerated software delivery, developers have more time for creating innovations and coming up with various app ideas and upgrades. It leads to even more qualitative amendments to the software.

  4. Customer Orientation. Acquiring new customers is much more expensive and time-consuming than retaining existing ones. DevOps puts feedback loops upon a pedestal. It involves the end-user in the development process, removing the aspect of guessing what your clients want from the software your company creates.

  5. Flexibility. DevOps changes management processes, improving the adaptability of the business and business’ products to customer demands. DevOps eradicates the stiffness and rigidity of typical management chains.

  6. Quality. DevOps aids companies in maximizing the quality of the software. New approaches to software testing get spread throughout the SDLC, as DevOps emphasizes the importance of testing over the whole development course. The end-product quality skyrockets as a result of the exploratory testing with all engineers involved in the testing process.

In-House Vs. Outsourcing: The Popular Choice

When it comes to implementing DevOps, a company can either have an in-house team or outsource tasks to a reliable provider. The biggest, multi-million-dollar companies, including Slack, Github, Basecamp, Skype, turned to DevOps outsourcing in their times, and no wonder that this year, 52% of small businesses outsource software development.

Outsourcing DevOps becomes more and more popular among different businesses. This trend is not a surprise to anyone involved in the field, as remote professional DevOps teams offer a lot of advantages and convenience for companies.

Pros and Possible Pitfalls of Outsourcing DevOps

Remote DevOps teams usually have extensive experience with a variety of projects, which they employ in handling organizational activities, software development management, and resolving issues. The software deployment speed can get incredibly fast due to the already well-established operational methodology.

A clear organizational structure of a remote DevOps team can utilize the task-based relationship of the company/contractor very well because each assignment is sensibly distributed, making the work efficient and result-oriented. Another plus of outsourcing DevOps is the price tag: the average hourly rate of a middle DevOps engineer from the US is $62, while the hourly rate for a senior engineer from a Slavic country won’t go over $30. Lastly, remote teams are interested in delivering the best services to the client to continue cooperation.

However, outsourcing is not all positives and a no-risk solution. As you will be not fully in control of all of the development and organizational processes, some scenarios may go wrong if you don’t take care of some things. Here are the main points to consider when outsourcing DevOps:

  1. Software Development Complexity. It should go without saying, but I’ll reiterate the point: DevOps is an incredibly complex field and should be treated attentively. You should never outsource DevOps without having a solid software development team by your side.

  2. Team Effort. No quality end-product is possible without a tight collaboration between the customer and the provider. For everyone to get a pleasurable experience from this cooperation, it is important to allow each specialist to utilize the maximum of his or her skills and support the processes by establishing excellent communication.

  3. Company Culture. Before making a final agreement with DevOps outsourcing services, a company should always investigate the software development culture of the provider. When you hand off a project to a third party, you are also sharing your corporate philosophy and culture. And just like with people, sometimes there isn’t a match in approaches to software development between the employing and executing organizations.

  4. Establishing Lasting Relationships. A great relationship between your business and the outsourcing company can’t be created in the span of one night. Some misunderstandings may happen at the start of your business partnership, but it is worth investing a certain amount of dedication into establishing stable relations.

  5. Tools of the Trade. Because DevOps focuses on streamlining processes, and outsourcing can complicate the communication a bit, it is important to integrate some helpful tools into the work for the company/provider relationship to succeed. Currently, the most popular tools that optimize DevOps outsourcing are QuerySurge, Buddy, Basis Technologies, Kamatera, and Jenkins.

As we have taken a look at the nuances of outsourcing DevOps, the next question arises, where to look for that best cost/effectiveness ratio and scout for the best talent? The most popular countries for software development outsourcing are India, China, and Ukraine. Although India and China top charts due to the sizes of the workforce, Ukraine is a promising and reliable option for DevOps outsourcing.

Ukraine has incredible amounts of bright talents with outstanding software engineering expertise. The low rates and lack of a major cultural difference between the US and Ukraine make this country the most attractive option for outsourcing projects.

Outsourcing DevOps is the Best Decision to Make

DevOps outsourcing empowers companies to deliver high-quality software solutions swiftly without the steep price of hosting and managing in-house engineers. If efficient communication is established, remote DevOps engineers can provide continuous delivery with at least the same level of software quality that in-house engineers would provide. Considering the average hourly rate of software developers outside the US, DevOps outsourcing comes an incredibly cost-effective solution for businesses.

The article was originally published at DZone.

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