Tip #5: Effective Change management in DevOps

TalkIn order to reduce operational risks, organizations put in CONTROLS, typically via Change Management processes. To minimize the frictions in your DevOps journey, and building on my previous Tip#4, let us look below for the Tip#5 for effective change management.

TIP #5 – Automate, Automate, and AGAIN Automate !

Change management typically includes a CAB (Change Advisory Board) meeting. This CAB meeting reviews the list of change sets, which the operations team filters and can either accept or reject,  to move the change-set into production.

The "Advisory" Board just became the "Gate Keeper", if you noticed!

Large enterprises will work with a traditional mindset. This traditional mindset assumes a Large Batch of changes, which may have been suited in the past for a BIG CAB meeting. But now with smaller change-sets (read as micro services) becoming the norm, imagine going through the rigor of a 2 hour CAB meeting. It will not be a very pleasant experience !!

Therefore we need to re-imagine the CAB meeting and ask the simple but difficult question - WHY DO I NEED A CAB ? 
Purpose of the CAB

Typically the purpose of the CAB meeting is to verify all the artifacts, as below-

  • Have you tested your changes?
  • Have you integrated the security practices?
  • Have you tested the migration, rollback and can provide evidence?
  • Is the change-set linked to the business need and do you have approvals?
  • and the list can go on and on…..
Good news?

But there is good news now !  All these questions can be answered easily by automating your change management workflows. This is now supported by the convergence of the tooling across the application development life cycle and all the evidence required along with the artifacts can be easily built into your automated build and deployment pipelines and integrating with the change management workflows.

Thus the elimination of CAB is done by Automation of our workflows!

These automated workflow makes it possible for the Operations teams to trace the requirements as they become implemented, and improves the ability to see changes, the effects of changes, approvals, and gather the evidence in a self service model using telemetry.

Many teams start with an intermediate manual approval step, till they start to trust the teams, and their change sets. But this manual approval step also goes away, over a period of time depending on the maturity of your teams.

As the teams look to implement pre-approved change strategy, and look for future opportunities to keep on continuously improving and widening this definition, it is a win-win for both sides.

So if you still doing manual reviews in your change management teams, STOP ! Start to automate your workflows, start to automate your build process, start to add automated tests for security into your coding, start to automate your deployments to production, start to add Telemetry and automate the production reports, start to complete the feedback loop, and in the end increase the Transparency across the team.

So go ahead – Automate, Automate and again Automate !

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