Trouble Understanding DevOps? Imagine It as a Canadian Freeze-Dried Poutine Factory

Here’s how DevOps can help you succeed in the eCommerce market.

Anyone who’s in the eCommerce industry knows that to keep a foot in the game, you must always stay on your toes. The market is at the whims of constantly changing technology and consumer demands. To meet or even anticipate these requirements, eCommerce companies must make software changes and innovate at a rapid pace.

Many eCommerce teams use the Agile methodology to streamline product development, but you can go one step further and merge it with the power of DevOps.

Let’s zoom out of the technicalities and paint a more basic picture. Conventional explanations for Agile and DevOps use a lot of industry jargon. We get that’s not your area of expertise if you run an eCommerce business. So, let’s simplify it using a concept that’s easier to understand: making food for a lot of hungry people.

Imagine DevOps as a Freeze-Dried Poutine Factory

Imagine a small Canadian town. Every town has needs, right? Well, this Canadian town needs poutine—specifically, poutine that’s shelf stable and comes in different flavors.

The people living in this town fulfill this need by building a freeze-dried poutine factory. The factory functions well enough, but the townsfolk want a truly excellent, state-of-the-art factory that can produce lots of delicious, freeze-dried poutine quickly (because these people want their poutine now!). So, they give the factory workers a set of principles to operate by. This set of principles is Agile.

Agile Helps Optimize Development Workflow…

  • Customer satisfaction: the poutine has to taste good.
  • Changing requirements: the factory must accommodate seasonal flavors.
  • Ships frequently: in this town, poutine is eaten at every meal, 3 times a day. Since the product demand is high and you’re shipping what’s been produced, a bi-weekly shipping deadline is optimal.
  • Sustainable: the factory should have consistent, steady output.
  • Retrospectives: the factory team should regularly review its effectiveness and adjust their workflow accordingly

Using these Agile guidelines, the factory operators reconstruct their workflows. The first thing they do is use a system to manage the deployment of any new poutine requirements from the townsfolk. This system is important because it helps the operators achieve townsfolk satisfaction and manage production sustainability. It’s always referenced in the factory team’s retrospectives so the team can optimize their workflow at any time.

… While DevOps Enables You to Create Something Completely New at a High Quality

The Agile guidelines work well to keep the factory running. But with a completely new product like freeze-dried poutine, there’s always room for improvement, and the townsfolk are sure to have their own feedback for how they’d like the poutine to be better. How can the factory operators get these improvements to production in the minimal amount of time possible? They implement DevOps.

One day, as they review their workflows, they decide that the existing division of people who handle the poutine-making machinery (Operations) and division of people who craft the fries, cheese, gravy, and toppings (Product Development) aren’t collaborating as fluidly as they could be. The factory operators redesign these two workflows into one (DevOps) to create a seamless flow of information between all workers.

The factory operators aren’t done yet! They’ve spotted areas in the process for further improvement. First, they start automating processes wherever possible. Then, they integrate recipe changes and test new poutine flavours every day and ensure these changes make it into production (Continuous Integration). Last, they implement necessary machinery changes safely, quickly, and sustainably (Continuous Deployment).

The result? A freeze-dried poutine factory that is constantly improving, proactive with change, and highly efficient in making delicious poutine for the hungry townsfolk.

DevOps Benefits for eCommerce

Now let’s move away from this poutine-loving Canadian town and return to the world of eCommerce.

As you can see from the poutine factory metaphor, the Development and IT Operations teams ~work together~ become one under the DevOps methodology. This increases productivity, collaboration, and enables your business to deliver high-quality products through constant and frequent updates.

The DevOps methodology encourages teams to increase the frequency of changes to deliver faster software improvements more reliably and securely—but making these frequent changes is notably expensive. DevOps solves this problem by building automation to reduce IT costs. Just like how the assembly line changed the face of (freeze-dried poutine) manufacturing by automating and compartmentalizing tasks, DevOps gives developers a solution to make more complex yet cost-effective code.

Adopting DevOps practices brings a whole host of benefits for eCommerce companies. From streamlining product development, reducing costs, and ensuring product reliability to meet customer requirements, DevOps offers end-to-end business solutions and fast delivery—perfect for meeting the unpredictable demands of the eCommerce market.

If you want to implement DevOps to give your eCommerce operations a boost but don’t know where to start, Particle41 can help. We have teams experienced in both Agile and DevOps who are ready to help you get your project off the ground. Schedule a call with us to learn more.

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