Client spotlight: DevOpsGuys

The people behind DevOpsGuys – one of our clients – are exactly what they sound like: a small (but growing fast) team of DevOps experts.

The question is what does this mean in human speak? Co-Founder James talks us through it.

DevOpsGuys website project by Small Joys
The homepage of the new DevOpsGuys website that we have worked on with the DOGs

Based in South Wales but reaching worldwide with their work, DevOpsGuys provide web application management for clients, which essentially involves building, launching, maintaining & optimising applications.

To the unfamiliar ear, hearing that the company “implements industry-leading principles of continuous delivery and DevOps across clients’ digital service lifecycles”, as co-founder James describes it, may not mean much at all. Jargon aside, their technological tinkering behind the scenes brings their clients increased and improved productivity, less risks within the technical sides of things and a drive in revenue.

“We work with clients who build big online websites,” James explains. “For example, last year, the online clothing giant ASOS tried to deploy over 300 software changes to their website to improve the system and customer usability. This worked okay for them, but there were some real bottlenecks in the process.

“We came in, looked at their processes then helped them to understand how to better plan, build and test their software, and how to push those changes out in a way that wouldn’t disrupt customers.

“Now,” James says, “ASOS make over 1000 seamless software changes a year. That’s at least three software changes on average per day, largely facilitated by the continuous training we gave ASOS staff and the improvements we made to the back-end of their systems.”

That’s a great demonstration of how useful the DevOpsGuys can be to a company’s daily flow of activity, but things are still a little hazy about what they actually do. James?

“We rebuild each company’s software,” (i.e. websites, apps, all the intangible coded furniture), “so that the company’s customers quickly see improvements in online services,” he says. “Along the way and afterwards, we monitor the projects we’ve worked on to keep them running smoothly.”

They aren’t power-crazed hoarders of knowledge, though. When your company’s software goes awry, they’ll fix it and tell you what happened, why it happened and, importantly, what you can do to prevent it from happening again.

“We don’t like our customers to be dependent on us after we finish the build, so we give them the knowledge, confidence and ability to take control of their own Dev Ops, so that they are able to help themselves. It means our clients have the tools to sort the problem directly and independently, which saves them time and money.

“It’s not that we don’t want to help our customers after we finish the work; we are always reachable should they need us to explain something again or to run a problem by us. We just believe that in order for people to truly get to grips with running software and to enjoy Dev Ops tasks, we need to give them the know-how required for maintaining their platforms and programmes.”

You could use a nice analogy here.

Say a driver has a minor accident in their car due to poor car maintenance. Some mechanics would iron out the dent, top up the brake fluid and replace the brake pads.

DevOpsGuys would do something else. They’d bring the car back to working order, but they’d also show the driver how to keep the car roadworthy and prevent problems happening in the future. Plus, they’d put a little sticker with their phone number on it in the corner of the passenger window, just in case the driver ever needs a friendly voice to remind you how to check under the bonnet.

Et voilà! DevOpsGuys!