Ensure Smooth DevOps Outsourcing for Your Startup


Since the prevalence of the Agile development methodology, the practice of continuous workflow has taken over the Waterfall development approach, meaning development and operations teams need to gel in more frequently than ever before.

Software teams develop in sprints and handle frequent releases, achieving continuous delivery and continuous integration with DevOps. Even though DevOps is now a mainstream capability for agility, organizations struggle to scale and optimize their practice.

The foremost reason behind that is the shortage of talent, the cost of hiring DevOps specialists, training expenses and managing skill gaps. 

DevOps outsourcing can fix the issue of skill availability and management for startups looking to leverage this Agile methodology for quick & secure development.

What exactly do you outsource in outsourcing DevOps?

DevOps outsourcing and consultation spans across several areas, including:

  • End-to-end DevOps implementation
  • CI-CD pipeline
  • Infrastructure as a Code
  • Application Release Automation
  • Microservices Architecture
  • Containerization
  • Managed Services
  • Cloud Migration

Outsourcing DevOps to a reliable partner can bring significant benefits for startups and enterprises alike. But, where do you begin?

How to start outsourcing DevOps?

Outsourcing IT functions, in general, is an effective way to reduce costs and get specialists on the board. Intuitively, you may believe that DevOps is best handled in-house since it’s so integrated with other processes and operations. 

However, you will find soon that handing off DevOps to a third party means access to expert DevOps practitioners at reduced costs, besides all the benefits of utilizing DevOps.

Let’s see a step-by-step approach to outsourcing DevOps for a startup. This list is based on our own experience working with startups and helping them realize the fruits of DevOps implementation.

Define your culture and how you can extend it

Typically, the pros and cons of outsourcing DevOps resemble those of outsourcing any IT function. However, DevOps differs in that an organization wanting to outsource it is looking for more than cutting or reducing costs- they’re looking for business benefit through agility and improved productivity.

That’s why DevOps outsourcing starts with a cultural shift. DevOps changes how things get done in an organization, starting with changing the mindset and working discipline. DevOps breaks down traditional silos and bureaucratic hurdles that slow things down. 

It’s important before outsourcing DevOps to consider the fact that your company will undergo a cultural shift internally, driven by an external team. Therefore, it’s so critical to choose the right outsourcing partner.

Build a governance framework

No matter the size of your company, since outsourcing DevOps is an extensive collaboration, a governance framework can help outline important people, processes and technologies. A governance framework can also help set healthy expectations around the results and outcomes of the arrangement.

An outsourced DevOps partner knows more about the business needs and brings in external perspective and expertise. On the other hand, you know the customer persona, the application and the end objectives.

Successful collaboration through an on-paper governance framework can help mitigate differences and bring out a single-team mindset in your in-house teams and your outsourced DevOps function.

Carefully vet outsourced DevOps Partner

The next step is to assess the proficiency of your prospective outsourced partner in similar projects, CI-CD tools, delivery methodologies and technical areas. Evaluate using the following factors to ensure the success of your DevOps implementation:

  • T-shaped skillsets – For maximum throughput with minimal talent, you need resources on your team with T-shaped skillsets. This implies that your resources are well-versed in distinct functions with deep expertise in one core area.
  • Case studies and testimonials – Vet your outsourced DevOps service providers for their areas of expertise, industrial know-how, past clients, success stories and testimonials. Ask them about specific challenges they handled on particular projects and how they impacted businesses they partnered with in the past.
  • Tech stack – Your chosen outsourced DevOps company must come with resources with experience of diverse technologies to augment critical processes such as Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Innovation. Also, look for their determination and inclination on improving their know-how consistently.

Create a contract

A closed-scope contracting method works when you partner with a company over static working methodologies and fixed returns. However, open-scope contracting contains space for value generation, management and delivery as per changing dynamic business requirements.

Any DevOps service provider that refrains from an in-depth discussion followed by a contract that lays down everything in detail is not the right partner for you.

Both you and your DevOps outsourcing company must come together to frame a working method that outlines the DevOps roadmap with the necessary room for modifications and dynamicity in the long run.

DevOps performance tracking

No startup wishes to partner with the second-best firm. However, even if you’ve found the best DevOps outsourcing company, let’s help you understand the key performance metrics and how to measure and adhere to them.

Instead of measuring meaningless metrics such as hours of training for developers, the number of bug bounties or automated test cases, measure metrics that matter. Some of these include change volume, mean time to recover, application usage, traffic & performance, deployment frequency and more. 

Based on these numbers, it will be easier for you to quantify the success of your DevOps arrangement and benchmark against competitors and the industry.

DevOps is a vast and often ambiguous territory. So you need to identify your goals with it and what you want in your outsourced DevOps partner. Defining the problems you wish to solve or the goals you want to achieve can help you set realistic expectations from the get-go.

KiwiTech offers DevOps services for startups looking to create a distinguished advantage through added agility and productivity.

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