The Main Obstacles to Implementing Database DevOps

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Today we have a guest editorial from Kendra Little as Steve is away on his sabbatical.

One question we ask on the State of Database DevOps Survey is, “What was, or what would be, the main obstacle to implementing a DevOps approach in your organization?”

In the 2020 survey, the top two obstacles across all survey responses were broadly similar to previous years:

  • 23% overall selected “Disruption to existing workflows/business.” This squeezed into the #1 spot, up from 21% in the 2019 study.
  • 22% overall selected “Lack of appropriate skills in the team.” This was 22% the prior year as well. I’ll call this concern “upskilling” for brevity.

I was interested to dig into the details and see how the top obstacle changes between responders in different phase of adoption.

The early anticipators: those who haven’t adopted DevOps but are planning to adopt across some or all projects within two years were the most “across the board” with their answers. This group was the most likely to answer that they see the biggest obstacle as being support from executive leadership, but that was still only 12% of this group (compared to 6% citing executive support as their top concern across all responders). Overall this group is nearly equally concerned with upskilling (21%) and disruption of workflows (22%) as their top two obstacles.

Those proving the concept: Our survey respondents who said they are currently experimenting with DevOps or working through proof of concept exercises were the most likely to be concerned with upskilling, with 30% of this population citing upskilling as their top concern.

Those who have adopted across some or all projects: For respondents who have adopted DevOps across some projects concerns about upskilling have dropped a bit: 26% cite it as their top concern. When we look at the respondents who have adopted DevOps across all projects, the number citing upskilling as a top concern goes down further to 23%.

The picture that emerges: When creating a business case for Database DevOps, it can be helpful to anticipate the concerns of your audience. Create a proposal that addresses concerns, and spend time focusing on how to overcome obstacles related both to training/upskilling and to the disruption to workflows. It is most critical to help with upskilling just before and during a proof of concept, when concerns in this area are the strongest.

For more insights, download the 2020 State of Database DevOps Report.

 

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