Understanding DevOps: From its enablers to impact on IT performance
Cogo, Gabriel Silva
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Previous research has addressed the importance of the process of delivering software as vital for the survival of Information Technology (IT) organizations. Yet, despite this valuable work, academia has struggled to keep track of constant and profound changes in the way in which software is developed and delivered to the customers. DevOps has arisen as an evolution of decades of work and improvement of software delivering processes, methodologies, and mostly philosophies, and has fundamentally changed the way IT organizations are supposed to function. While it has led to significant improvements in overall the performance outcomes of IT companies, both organizations and academia lack deeper knowledge of what it is, how it works, and if it can actually lead to improved IT performance. This research’s model draws on previous research on Technological and Management capabilities, and research on IT Culture, to draw on the enabling factors of DevOps, as it proposes the factor of Delivery Approach to link the gap between these overarching factors and IT department’s actual outcomes. This research also proposes an ideal DevOps organization’s values, which when aligned with their Delivery Approach, has shown a significant effect on IT Outcomes. Survey data was collected using IT professionals, mostly in managerial positions, with previous DevOps knowledge. 176 data responses were collected in the U.S. The model shows a significant positive enabling correlation between Culture and Management in an organization’s Delivery Approach, and that Delivery Approach, mediated by an alignment with DevOps, has a strong effect on IT Outcomes. This research makes contributions both to factor and measure items in this domain, it also contributes to theory base by helping build a still young literature in DevOps and in Software Delivery in general, which has long been recognized as a vital process of any IT organization’s goals.