Top Benefits of DevOps Integrated with Design

Dan Vos | July 17th, 2019

In the first blog of our “DevignOps” series last week, we went over what design entailed, how DevOps works, and the importance of embedding design and DevOps to quickly deliver updates and fixes to existing systems that are not only functional and high-quality, but also user-friendly. To sum up, designers provide the blueprint to inform DevOps engineers on the necessity of considering the user experience when making a change to a system and pushing it to production, enhancing the benefits of DevOps.

The blueprint guides DevOps teams at several stages, not just one stage of the different DevOps processes. As a result of having design integrated throughout various DevOps processes, a company can expect increased and broader communication, an enhanced user-interface design, and a more functional cloud infrastructure. We continue our thorough “DevignOps” series with an overview of how design enhances the benefits of DevOps.

Design-DevOps Communication Diagram
Design fills in gaps in communication

Bridging Users, Developers, and Stakeholders

While DevOps traditionally fosters a high-level of communication between developer teams and stakeholders through IT operations teams, design can take that communication to the next level. Design teams can apply several tools used in the discovery phase during the software development life cycle (SDLC) to the DevOps processes to increase the communication between developers, stakeholders, AND users.

For example, designers can update mind maps throughout the stages of DevOps when considering changes to a system rather than only once before development begins. This design tool decreases the miscommunication of the stakeholder’s goals in an update or fix and creates a high-quality feature. However, by incorporating in multiple DevOps stage, the user experience is assured to stay front-of-mind.

Another design tool to apply to DevOps to obtain a higher level of communication among key stakeholders is journey mapping. Using a journey map in DevOps is a good practice to see the difficulty users may face when using a proposed update or fix. The design tools informs the stakeholders and developers about the pain points that must be resolved for future update releases.

With a forward-thinking approach and vast amount of knowledge pertaining to user experiences, design teams bridge various stakeholders during DevOps.

Usability Benefits of Design in DevOps

DevOps engineers may be eager to deploy or deliver functional updates and fixes quickly; as a result, they may not be able to foresee the unintended consequences a feature may have on the user interface. Embedding design throughout DevOps ensures the usability of a system stays consistent with any updates or fixes rolling out in the future.

When a new feature is created through DevOps, it is worth the extra time to reintroduce the design team throughout processes so they may update the information architecture of the system. By updating the info architecture, designers notify the DevOps engineers about any predictable disruptions to the system’s information flow caused by updates or fixes.

Design systems are primarily used to create templates or guides when making updates to a system to ensure the consistency of the user interface. In addition, design systems can solve usability challenges by guiding the DevOps team during the implementation of new user-interface features to a system. Similarly, if there are several changes being continuously deployed to a system (as is common in DevOps), the design team can use design systems to give DevOps engineers insight on how the user-interface design will be affected, increasing the usability of new releases.

Overall, ensuring an operational user-interface design exists throughout DevOps decreases the usability disruption rate in a system.

Functional Cloud Infrastructure for DevOps

While design improves the usability of an updated or fixed system’s front-end during DevOps, design similarly helps define the required cloud infrastructure and management system of an application or software being updated.

Incorporating discovery-phase methods each time there is a new feature being developed for an application or software through DevOps helps define the required system’s cloud infrastructure and the end user experience. By having the design team’s research on user personas and the types of information those personas need to access, the dev team is able to better understand the proper architecture, cloud services, and security roles it needs to implement so the user experience stays consistent during and after a deployment.

In addition, the discovery phase will help DevOps teams map out their stakeholder’s goals for the future. For example, understanding anticipated usage allow dev teams to scale cloud infrastructure along with new updates or fixes being deployed.

When the user experience isn’t prioritized in DevOps, there’s no purpose in a faster speed-to-market or shortened lead times if there’s an increased need for more updates or fixes. Design teams ensure changes to a system are consistent with the system’s overall user-experience goals when pushing changes to production, ensuring continued functionality of the system.

Design-enhanced Benefits of DevOps

The pros of embedding design in DevOps far outweigh the cons. Excluding design may be more efficient in the short term, but may subsequently lead to higher failure rates relative to user experience and an increased number of deliveries due to rework for design consistency. However, if the time is taken to thoughtfully sprinkle in design throughout DevOps, consistency in user experience increases and rework to improve user experience significantly decreases. This extra time also results in a happy stakeholder, satisfied user, less-stressed developer, and a fully utilized designer. Break down the third silo to increase the benefits of DevOps and watch the sparks of innovation fly when design meets DevOps!

Stay tuned for our next article in the “DevignOps” series: 4 design variants to integrate in DevOps.


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Dan Vos

Dan is the CEO at Palador. He has been helping companies solve complex technological problems for over 12 years.