Last Updated: January 19, 2024
DevOps Project Management
Published On: September 27, 2023

Blog Summary: This blog will give you insights on planning your organizational projects by implementing the agile approach of DevOps project management. The decision-makers will gain hands-on knowledge about applying the best tools and practices and the benefits of switching to DevOps over traditional project management culture.

The annual growth rate of the project management software market is expected to witness a CAGR of 10.68% till 2030. In 2023 and beyond, more than 30% of revenue in the entire business process will come from project management software.

However, there are some highly concerning numbers regarding the success and failure of IT projects. Wellingtone reports that at least 57% of companies surpass their estimated project budgets, and 56% find investing in new software an expensive investment.

These numbers can worry decision-makers when planning to start their projects because of the following reasons:

  1. Will deliverables be produced within time and budget?
  2. Does the project define its scope and objectives clearly?
  3. Have we used and integrated the right technology?
  4. Is our project management robust, effective, and cost-efficient?

In this blog, we’ll answer the above questions for the tech decision-makers and how they can utilize the methodology of DevOps for project management to streamline and complete their projects.

What is DevOps Project Management?

DevOps project management takes the focus away from the final product and restructures the timeline to deliver a product with incremental changes in each phase. In 2022, 44% of organizations in the technology sector preferred implementing DevOps for managing their projects either through outsourcing a DevOps team or recruiting their in-house team.

DevOps outsourcing

Let’s look at the case of Etsy, a leading name in the retail market, which soared its website deployment by implementing the DevOps lifecycle, which suffered earlier.

For years, the Etsy website struggled with slow updates that caused it to crash frequently. It frustrated visitors, and downtime impacted their sales. When they switched to an agile approach for team management, their deployments shot up to at least 50 per day with a fully automated CD pipeline.

CI/CD automated pipelines can save at least 5+ hours per day for 54% of organizations with automated tools like calendars, dashboards, and data entry for managing projects. Yet, 25% of them don’t have access to the right collaboration tools.

Importance of DevOps Project Management

Importance of DevOps Project Management

The traditional waterfall approach doesn’t focus on implementing incremental changes in each project phase as and when required to improve the deliveries. A recent report by RGPM states that for most project managers, lack of resources (44%), unrealistic deadlines (31%), and improper scheduling (11%) are the three biggest challenges for adopting project management software.

In the IT sector, this could create a low blow for the project managers because at least 17% of IT projects fail so significantly that they could threaten the existence of an organization. Things could soon take a wrong turn if they don’t understand the reasons behind the project going off-track:

  • Tech-oriented instead of people-oriented
  • No organizational alignment
  • No proper KPIs to measure performance
  • Improper risk management

However, DevOps project managers work on the technical side for a more detail-oriented process instead of focusing only on the numbers. DevOps principles take an in-depth process of a project’s progress. All the tasks are predefined before the launch with a set scope, objectives, timeframe, and budget.

When combined, DevOps and project management can streamline an organization’s workflows. They improve the team visibility, give a competitive advantage, reduce downtime, and recover fast from security breaches.

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DevOps Project Management vs Traditional Project Management

DevOps Project Management vs Traditional Project Management

Let us explain the difference between both approaches through the following example of the leading luxury department chain, Nordstrom. Here’s how they realized the importance of implementing DevOps and switched from the traditional waterfall approach.

Nordstrom’s famous luxury department store chain in the US still used the waterfall methodology to launch its app in 2011. When they launched, they became irrelevant and realized they had to change their processes.

Switching to DevOps culture, they found reasons behind delayed lead time and migrated to continuous planning. The integrated collaboration between the Dev and Ops teams brought down their app bugs, increased throughput, and skyrocketed their releases from yearly to bi-monthly.

The above example explains the effectiveness of adopting the DevOps agile approach to manage projects as compared to the traditional waterfall approach.

Let’s take a comparative look at both the approaches:

1. Silo Mentality vs Integrated Approach

The traditional approach creates a lot of issues in scheduling and planning. Since this approach has a lot of moving parts, scheduling them is a challenging task. In DevOps automation, scheduling is easier because it’s built on continuous, more minor releases and automation from a dedicated team.

Instead of planning a few months in the traditional method, organizations can plan for a few weeks ahead. This approach provides better visibility of your team and makes coordination easier.

2. Linear Approach vs CI/CD Approach

The traditional approach generally involves a lot of work to launch a project. It signifies that projects managed with the traditional approach have much higher stakes and risks. The project team works for months before pushing the launch button or addressing last-minute changes.

In the development process of DevOps, teams have frequent cycles of shorter launches. Hence, these projects also have lower risks and stakes. Each succeeding cycle doesn’t require much work because the previous cycle had a more minor update or version release.

With automated testing, teams can rest assured that there is synchronization among the team members. DevOps only promote from one cycle to another if they are confident that the release version is ready.

3. Agile Methodology vs Waterfall Methodology

Under traditional project management, organizations take a waterfall approach, creating silos in the project lifecycles. The work involved in the traditional waterfall approach makes it difficult to focus on planning big releases. Longer development cycles can often lead to infrequent release of the versions with new features, making it hard to stick to the deadlines.

In DevOps solutions, there are more minor releases than the bigger ones. It focuses on making the testing more accessible and prioritizes deeply understanding the releases. When the newer version releases are more minor, it makes it easier to add changes and fix the issues because errors would be less.

Benefits of DevOps Project Management

Advantages of DevOps Project Management

DevOps culture fundamentally changes how IT teams approach their projects. It helps them shift away from the legacy approach that goes on for months and even years. While DevOps aims to bring agility and better speed, it’s not enough to know only the tools.

DevOps project management requires the teams involved in it to know how they will implement and use those tools. To keep the projects moving with the schedules, they need to understand the details of the progress of the development and release process.

Here’s how they can drop the old habits of traditional project management to adapt better to DevOps:

1. Microservices Approach to Projects

The microservices approach of DevOps breaks a monolithic architecture into smaller pieces. The same approach can be applied to project management, where instead of working on an entire project, teams can split it into smaller parts and work more efficiently.

Interdependent pieces of a project win over the traditional approach, where agile replaces the waterfall methodology. This approach to project management enables organizations to divide their workload instead of reducing the timeline of a project. It also allows updating it as needed while maintaining the scope and objectives. 

2. Expertise in Dependencies

Another benefit of DevOps automation for managing projects is it allows gaining expertise in working with interdependent pieces of the project. Even though different project pieces can work in isolation, DevOps makes the teams understand how well they work together.

Since DevOps focuses on increasing the velocity of a project, it puts even more emphasis on the collaboration between each dependency.

Even when organizations have less time to integrate the deployments, DevOps lets them understand the briefs clearly before moving on to the next phase. It pushes on the philosophy that rushing the phases won’t give a proper direction.

3. Alignment Between the Tools Used by Team

Integration between tools and practices is essential for completing a project and managing all the individual tasks. This has been a ritual in earlier methodologies, too, especially Scrum. However, the biggest challenge in tracking the progress of a project is tracking the performance of individual tasks.

However, the services of DevOps work on standardizing a toolchain across all teams. It lets organizations understand that tracking the metrics is more important than knowing if a project is on schedule. DevOps agile process works on using a burndown chart.

The advantage of using a burndown chart is that it helps track the predicted tasks. Hence, it enables them to track metrics like velocity and sprint burn-down – the most insightful trackers for DevOps success.

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Best Practices for Effective DevOps Project Management

DevOps Project Management Best Practices

DevOps is an agile approach with methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, Iterative, and Hybrid. As per a report done by Allied Market Research, agile software development is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.50% by the end of 2026. Besides, 42% of enterprises found increased software quality and 47% increased team productivity.

These numbers set the road ahead for organizations using DevOps project management best practices for the successful fruition of projects.

Here are some practices:

1. Knowledge of DevOps Principles

DevOps principles work on increasing flexibility and efficiency by implementing fundamental principles. Hence, the teams working on DevOps projects need to understand the cultural shift in management processes. The basic principle of DevOps is continuous integration and continuous delivery.

CI works on integrating code updates from multiple sources into a central repository. It enables the teams to achieve the highest accuracy by integrating code changes and using automated tools. The basis of CI is that it is easier to find errors in smaller parts of the code than finding quality issues in the vast codebase.

As the CI reaches the end, CD takes over. CD keeps the cycle running by delivering improved versions of a project to further stages. It eliminates the high risks of quality issues and simplifies deployment. In on-demand processes and even complex projects, this approach makes predictions easier.

2. Tracking the Right Metrics

While developing a software project, the goals and standards of your organization need to align with the metrics. DevOps solutions allow constant performance tracking with project management tools. These tools enable organizations to track essential metrics like lead time, mean time to detect, unit costs, and issue severity.

With built-in analytics reports, they enable teams to gain valuable insights into the performance of a project’s progress. These tools have dashboards for everyone to see key indicators and individual task progress. It is an essential practice to adopt because it identifies problems early on, takes corrective actions swiftly, plans initiatives, and takes a proactive approach.

3. Adopting the CI/CD Automation Testing

A software project is incomplete without the critical role of automation tests in the CI/CD and other DevOps techniques. Automation goes beyond presenting and knowing how to use it. It should assist the teams by helping them know the techniques and solutions to tackle the following essential aspects:

  • Managing the data for tests
  • Utilizing shared open-sourced libraries
  • Structuring the end-to-end testing for the codebase

DevOps project management uses automation powerfully to reduce workload and errors, speed up the process, and allocate better resources. Automation helps in optimizing the entire process by focusing on delivering high-quality results. Organizations witness a steep reduction in project timeframes and a rise in software quality.

4. Project Managers Need to Embrace MVP Approach

The simplest version release with minimum required features is a minimum viable product (MVP). Development teams must embrace the MVP approach as it keeps them in the direction of consistently delivering a deliverable at the end of a sprint.

Compared to the traditional methodology, which focuses on the final monolithic product, this approach focuses on having start and end dates with continuous improvement.

The MVP mindset enables organizations to deliver a product to the customers faster because they receive feedback comparatively faster. It puts the team in the right direction early in the development cycle. Otherwise, the team will discover that they have delivered a product that hasn’t fully satisfied the users’ needs.

5. Integrate the Cloud Migration DevOps Tools

DevOps projects work on automation, giving organizations convenience in automating their software development, release processes, and agile testing. They are easy to integrate and self-contained across major platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to simplify the cloud migration process.

These are also extensible through plugins and easy to distribute across different machines to accelerate the builds, deployments, and tests. Organizations can add new features, perform fixes, automate the updating process, and fix errors as and when they arise.

Best DevOps Project Management Tools for Seamless Workflows

Best Tools for DevOps Project Management

Adopting a toolset for DevOps project management requires organizations to look for tools that improve team collaboration, leverage team performance and visibility, software velocity, and monitoring to release the software faster.

They have two options in front of them to choose from:

  • All-in-one software that doesn’t require integration with third-party software.
  • An open toolset that can be integrated with different tools and be customized as per the team’s needs.

Here are the top tools that they can integrate:

JIRA

JIRA software can be applied in multiple stages of a DevOps lifecycle. It’s an issue-tracking platform that can be customized per the needs of teams. It enables the managers and team members to plan, track, and release the software versions by collaborating on the results from each sprint.

JIRA can be integrated with other Atlassian tools, like Miro and Mural, that help gather data regarding ideas and research. It enables teams to organize the researched information into actionable items and helps them prioritize their tasks. It can also be applied in other stages, from planning, deploying, operating, and continuous feedback.

AWS DevOps

AWS DevOps solutions is a toolset under Infrastructure as a Code (IaC) for cloud computing. Organizational teams utilize it to manage the software delivery pipelines with its built-in plugins. These include CodePipeline, CodeDeploy, CodeStar, and CodeBuild. It supports the entire lifecycle and can be deployed on cloud or local machines.

With AWS, organizations can reprovision the infrastructure with similar configurations for tools and code to spin up the development variations consistently. With CI as its fundamental, it enables automatic detection of errors and fixing them on time. Ultimately, it helps roll out new features without compromising speed and testing processes.

Azure Boards

Azure Boards helps teams in planning, tracking, and managing their tasks. Azure Boards enables integration with the entire Azure DevOps project management suite for end-to-end software development. It includes Azure Pipelines, Test Plans and Repositories, item tracking, sprint planning, and customizable Kanban and Scrum boards.

Teams can create and prioritize tasks, assign them to team members, set due dates, and track progress. It also offers advanced analytics to always be on track with the project’s status with real-time insights into project status, fostering collaboration, transparency, and efficiency in software projects.

GitLab

GitLab is designed for managing team assignments and organizing projects. It uses issues to track tasks and labels, milestones, and iterations for better coordination. Organizations can also visualize the progress toward project goals and integration with code merge requests.

Accelerate Your DevOps Projects with Moon Technolabs

The transition to DevOps is not an overnight task; organizations need a steady, progressive, and smooth approach to implement it. Team members might find it unsettling to switch to a new methodology. However, they can start with baby steps by replicating a small portion of existing software and see the difference.

As everyone gets accustomed to better communication, visibility, and tracking, they will have less aversion to trying themselves. With Moon Technolabs, you will streamline your software development process with our DevOps consulting services with AWS DevOps and Microsoft Azure.

Our services can be easily integrated with tools like Terraform, Kubernetes, Grafana, and Prometheus. If your organization is willing to make sure every team member from the Dev and Ops teams is on the same page, the overall goals are much easier to accomplish.

FAQs

The popular DevOps project management tools include JIRA, a full suite of Microsoft Azure Boards, AWS DevOps, Asana, GitLab, Basecamp, Trello, and Zoho Projects. These tools streamline the team workflows with agile methodologies and speed up the release cycles.

DevOps project management tools integrate an atmosphere of collaboration between the development and operations teams to speed up software development with CI/CD pipelines, allowing teams to make fewer mistakes and release smaller software versions.

AWS DevOps combines AWS cloud services with DevOps principles to streamline and automate software development. Organizations can manage their tasks efficiently and scale applications with continuous integration and delivery when applied in project management.

DevOps project management follows the agile methodology, combining Scrum, Kanban, and Hybrid dashboards. It fosters agility and collaboration within teams with a detail-oriented approach instead of the traditional waterfall approach focusing on the product.
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Jayanti Katariya

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.

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