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New Research from GitLab Shines Light on the Value and Challenges of DevOps

| by Helen Beal Follow 6 Followers on Mar 21, 2018. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

The 2018 global developer report from GitLab shows that software professionals collectively recognise the value of working in highly collaborative DevOps-style environments and have experienced the benefits of doing so. 65% of respondents say that DevOps is a tremendous time saver, a figure which rises to 81% when focusing solely on managers. Whilst developers and managers may be culturally aligned, workflow and tooling roadblocks are delaying delivery and preventing teams from reaching their full potential.

Organisations that have adopted DevOps are more likely to deploy on demand and prioritise automation than those practicing agile alone. IT leaders plan to invest the most in continuous integration, delivery, and deployment in 2018 whilst the selection of the right technologies is seen as the greatest inhibitor to success. 29% plan to invest in DevOps for 2018. Adoption, however, is still in early stages, with just 23% identifying DevOps as their development methodology.

Key findings also include that managers have a more optimistic perspective on their team's overall satisfaction, productivity, and the benefits of open source tools; whilst 81% of managers say that DevOps saves time in the development process, only 65% of developers agree. 47% of managers report that they deploy code on demand or multiple times a day, compared to only 39% of developers. Both management and developers are positive about the value and benefits of collaborating, however, visibility and transparency remain challenges with nearly half of developers (42%) reporting unclear direction as their top challenge to getting work done.

High-performing teams have access to better tools, spend less time context-switching and are more likely to work remotely than their lower-performing counterparts. Remote teams report higher levels of satisfaction than those working in-office, including higher levels of visibility and better insight into the deployment process. 41% agree they have a well-established DevOps culture compared to 34% of in-office teams.

The top three areas identified by respondents for technology investment in 2018 were: continuous delivery, automation/containers, and DevOps. The biggest challenges for success were seen as: selecting the right technology, having clarity over direction, and the replacement of ingrained practices. The five most important tools categories were reported to be: version control system, IDE, chat/collaboration tools, bug/issue tracker and continuous integration and delivery.

A preference for open source tools unified all segments regardless of level, culture, or workflow with 92% of all respondents agreeing that open source tools are important to software innovation. 84% of respondents said they have a preference for using open source over proprietary tools and 60% of respondents claimed that open source tools are more secure, can improve overall software quality, and streamline the development process.

Continuous integration emerged as a key theme for 2018, with managers expecting to invest the most in CI/CD technology, and nearly half of all respondents (47%) strongly agreeing that practicing continuous integration eliminates constraints in the development process. As well as deploying on-demand, high performers that practice continuous integration also report feeling set up to succeed, being given realistic deadlines, and are less likely to feel the need to sacrifice quality to meet a go-live date. Likewise, respondents who reported using a DevOps workflow believe they are the leaders in deploying on demand, and are more likely to automate more of their software development lifecycle. The top challenges identified to delivering on the continuous integration promise were: selecting the right technology for the job, integration with other tools, and insufficient/poor internal processes.

GitLab surveyed 5,296 software professionals of varying backgrounds and industries around the world. The full survey including access to the raw data can be found here.

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