How DevOps professionals are struggling with the daily troubleshooting grind

If your organisation is either focusing on DevOps or employs plenty of developers, make sure you keep an eye on their workloads – or face an exodus.

That’s the primary finding from IT management software provider SolarWinds. In its latest report, which polled 336 DevOps, developer and web product manager professionals (WPMs) in the US and Canada, many workers across sectors are fed up with troubleshooting being the mainstay of their daily work.

Troubleshooting remained the most disliked component of their roles, and respondents warned that if they had to continue doing it without any signs of job advancement, they would leave their current jobs. Almost half (48%) of those polled said troubleshooting app issues was one of their three most regular tasks, while this number went up (53%) for DevOps respondents who cited it as the most frequent task.

On average, DevOps and WPMs spend less than a quarter of their time proactively optimising performance of their environments. This may be bad enough, but less urgent, more long-term tasks are being put aside. Without troubleshooting, the research argues, professionals would be able to prioritise building product roadmaps, or managing and deploying apps.

“Today’s technology professionals play an unquestioned role in driving innovation for their businesses. Application development and the end user’s experience are inextricable from business growth,” said Joe Kim, SolarWinds EVP and global chief technology officer. “Yet this survey shows this push towards innovation is minimised in favour of reactive troubleshooting tasks, which are growing due to the need for comprehensive monitoring and visibility into these applications.

“Tech professionals need to be armed with comprehensive tools that enhance visibility into cloud applications and enable them to spend less time monitoring and troubleshooting, and more time creating opportunities to move their businesses and careers forward,” added Kim. “Otherwise, businesses run the risk of a demotivated DevOps team.”

As regular readers of this publication will recognise, a cultural change is necessary in order to get DevOps initiatives off the ground. Writing for CloudTech in December, Annie Andrews, head of technology at Curo Talent, noted the disparity. “The goal of DevOps is to help deliver software quickly, robustly and efficiently. However, it is often misinterpreted as simply a need to deploy new technological tools to meet this goal,” wrote Andrews. “In practice, DevOps relies more on cultural acceptance than the integration of new tools.

“Of course, the organisation change can be supported by a collection of improved software development practices, but organisations cannot rely only on these tools,” Andrews added. “Ultimately, it starts with a change to people’s mindsets.”

You can read the full report here (email required).

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