In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, where agility and innovation reign supreme, the adoption of DevOps has emerged as a pivotal paradigm shift.

DevOps, short for Development and Operations, is not just a set of practices but a cultural transformation that bridges the gap between software development and IT operations, enabling organizations to deliver high-quality software at unparalleled speed. To embark on this transformative journey, one must first grasp the intricacies of its various phases.

In this blog post, we delve deep into the fascinating world of DevOps, dissecting its stages, and uncovering the secrets to successful implementation.

Join us as we unravel the phases of DevOps, from its inception to continuous refinement, in a quest to empower you with the knowledge and tools needed to thrive in today's competitive tech ecosystem. Whether you're a seasoned DevOps practitioner or just beginning your journey, this exploration promises to shed light on the path ahead, illuminating the key milestones and practices that will guide you towards DevOps excellence.

So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a journey through the phases of DevOps that promise to revolutionize the way you build, deploy, and manage software.

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What are the Phases of DevOps?

Below is an illustration of how DevOps build flow through a continuously iterative process.

DevOps Process Flow

The DevOps phases create an infinite loop of small change sets which continue to progress technology forward at a rapid rate. The idea is to get rid of Big Bang style launches and replace them with a constant flow of delivery.

Below, I have broken down each phase into more detailed descriptions.


The Start of Planning

At every stage of a project, planning is performed to understand the work that needs to be accomplished to keep a project or product moving forward. Planning is frequently re-reviewed and measured against current market demands, customer interest, and business objectives. This is what allows frequent pivots to be performed as new information is discovered during the delivery process.

Planning is also important to break work down into smaller chunks of deliverables. In a more traditional SDLC model, Waterfall is used to sum up a series of milestones into a singular big bang release. Big bang releases are fraught with issues around risks and delays all of which are mitigated and avoided when teams adopt DevOps. Through the principle of "always be ready for production" no change can be introduced which will have a negative impact on the teams ability to ship changes to production. This also means that planning must be performed to de-risk all changes before starting to engage in development of those changes.

The Continuous Cycle of Planning

As projects are developed and changes pushed, new information is always being gathered from all parties about the success or interest in development efforts. While you may have laid out a multi-year product plan, you may find that consumer interest is starting wane and it is time for a pivot or adjustment.

Planning efforts are on-going throughout delivery to keep parties aligned through communication. Because of this constant alignment, we no longer need to delivery large projects through the sheer force of will, but we are able to deliver projects which exceed customer demands because we are constantly reflecting their feedback in the work being delivered.

▶ Key Insight

The idea behind continuous planning is to root out knee jerk reactions from the delivery cycle. While presenting your organization as a Super Hero may seem rewarding, it is usually done at the cost of employee moral and employee job satisfaction.

Developing a continuous planning strategy ensures that all parties remain well informed about timelines, milestones, expectations, and most importantly; tradeoffs to persistent change.


Building is the phase that everyone tries to get to as quickly as possible. Building is where you finally get to see, touch, and feel the efforts that you have put into planning.

In a mature DevOps practice, building takes on much more than simply producing a feature and sending it off to production.

Gating Code

Obviously building something involved writing the code necessary to develop a feature. Where things get a little bit more complicated is with feature gates. Feature gates in code allow you to continuously ship your code out to production in an essentially non-functional state. When it is time for testing of those features, they can be turned on via a flag in lower environments or turned on for select audiences in production.

This allows for code to be turned on when ready for consumption but continuously shipped to production for additional scrutiny before it is ready for prime time.

Data Migrations and One Time Scripts

The goal of the DevOps pipeline is to automagically deploy all changes which make builds themselves idempotent. As part of the development process, any and all changes must be committed to the code base for automated deployment down stream.

The concepts of manual data migrations don't exist, except in extreme circumstances, in any of the DevOps phases.

Infrastructure as Code

The Build phase in DevOps is no longer confined to writing and testing application code. It now encompasses the creation and management of infrastructure resources, including servers, databases, load balancers, and networking components. This holistic approach ensures that both the application and its supporting infrastructure are treated as a unified entity, leading to more robust and streamlined development and deployment processes.

Gone are the days when setting up servers, configuring networks, and deploying applications involved manual, error-prone processes. With the rise of Infrastructure as Code (IaC), these tasks are now automated, enabling greater efficiency, scalability, and reliability throughout the software development lifecycle.

As new infrastructure needs to be provisioned or changed over time, IaC code is introduced into the codebase and pipelines to make those modifications as part of the Deploy phase.


Another facet of the build phase is automated testing. As developers are building out features, they are also responsible for writing automated testing for those features. This testing could range from unit testing to integration testing through functional testing or anywhere in between.

As new systems, functionality, features, and interfaces are developed, automated testing is put in place in real time to ensure that validations are run on every commit of new code. Additionally, as bugs are discovered, they are remediated and additional tests are built to ensure that the bugs do not resurface.

This form of testing allows for code bases to become infinitely complex without that complexity weighing down the productivity of the developers working on new features.


Documentation is often regarded as the unsung hero in the realm of software development, and its importance cannot be overstated. As your projects or products continue to move forward, the documentation for that project should seamlessly evolve in tandem. In the world of DevOps, this dynamic documentation is not an afterthought or a separate entity but an integral part of the entire software development and deployment process. Let's explore how documentation is intricately woven into the DevOps fabric.

In a DevOps deployment process, the conventional notion of documentation being a static, stand-alone entity is challenged and transformed. Instead, it becomes a living, breathing entity that evolves alongside the codebase and the project itself. This shift in perspective is nothing short of revolutionary, as it brings numerous benefits to the table.

First and foremost, documentation in DevOps is no longer an arduous, post-development task that developers and operations teams reluctantly undertake once the code is complete. Instead, it is an ongoing, collaborative effort that begins at the very inception of a project. From the initial design phase through coding, testing, and deployment, documentation is an active participant in the entire development lifecycle.

Furthermore, documentation is no longer confined to lengthy, static manuals that gather dust on a shelf. It is now an integral part of the deployment pipeline. As code is written and changes are made, documentation is automatically updated, ensuring that it always reflects the current state of the project. This real-time documentation not only helps developers and operations teams but also benefits other stakeholders, such as quality assurance teams, product managers, and even end-users, who can access up-to-date information at any time.

Incorporating documentation into the DevOps pipeline also fosters collaboration and communication among cross-functional teams. When documentation is built directly into the development process, it becomes a shared resource that everyone can contribute to and benefit from. This collaborative approach breaks down silos and promotes a culture of transparency, where information flows freely across teams, resulting in faster issue resolution and improved decision-making.

▶ Key Insight

Build activities transition from being a bump in the road to the central hub of technical activity on a project. When more time and care is put into the build out of features and functionality dividends are paid into the future because those changes are robust and ready to stand the test of time.

Automated Testing

Automated testing stands as a crucial sentinel guarding the integrity and stability of a bustling and expansive codebase. In the dynamic world of DevOps, where work is meticulously dissected into smaller, manageable units and continuously shipped to production, the potential for conflicts and unexpected issues to arise is a very real challenge. It's akin to orchestrating a symphony with countless instruments, each playing its part, but occasionally, harmonious melodies can clash.

This is where the automated testing phase of the DevOps cycle takes center stage, serving as the vigilant conductor of this symphony of code changes. Its primary mission is to ensure that the seemingly disparate changes made by multiple teams or individuals do not collide and create a cacophony of problems within the codebase.

In this intricate dance of code evolution, every single commit is meticulously scrutinized through end-to-end testing. This process leaves no stone unturned, no line of code uninspected. It ensures that each change, no matter how seemingly innocuous, is thoroughly examined for any potential conflicts, regressions, or deviations from expected behavior. By doing so, automated testing ensures that these conflicts do not lurk in isolation, waiting to disrupt the harmony of the entire system.

But the story doesn't end there. DevOps, with its emphasis on collaboration and continuous integration, allows various code changes to coalesce and intermingle during the integration phase. This integration can be likened to assembling a grand mosaic, where pieces from different contributors come together to form the complete picture.

However, this combination carries its own set of risks. The merging of diverse code streams can introduce unforeseen anomalies, akin to the unexpected results that might arise when different artistic styles blend in a mosaic. Here, the automated testing phase steps in once more, serving as the vigilant curator of the merged codebase.

It conducts comprehensive end-to-end testing, meticulously examining the merged solution to ensure that the harmonious blend of code changes has not inadvertently introduced any dissonance. Just as a master mosaic artist inspects the final masterpiece for any visual inconsistencies, automated testing meticulously assesses the integrated codebase for any anomalies or inconsistencies in behavior.

In essence, automated testing in the DevOps cycle plays a dual role: as the guardian of individual code changes and as the curator of the integrated solution. It ensures that conflicts are detected and resolved early, before they can propagate further down the development pipeline, thereby upholding the reliability and stability of the codebase. Through this meticulous process, DevOps teams can confidently deliver software that not only embraces change but does so without compromising on quality and reliability, ensuring that the symphony of code continues to play harmoniously in the ever-evolving landscape of software development.


Deploy is conceptually the simplest phase of DevOps but is usually the most functionally complex phase.

At its core, the deploy phase embodies the essence of simplicity within the DevOps framework. Its fundamental objective is clear: to efficiently and reliably transport the meticulously crafted code from development environments to the production environment. Yet, despite this apparent simplicity in its concept, deployment is often the nexus of intricate and multifaceted functionalities that underpin the success of the entire DevOps lifecycle.

One of the foundational principles driving the deployment phase is the pursuit of automation to its utmost potential. The goal here is not just to automate repetitive tasks but to eliminate any manual intervention entirely. Why? Because every manual step introduces an element of human error into the process. Even the most skilled and vigilant human operators can make mistakes, and in the context of deployment, a small error can have far-reaching consequences.

In this context, automation becomes the foundation for ensuring consistency, repeatability, and accuracy in deploying code. Automated deployment scripts and tools are meticulously crafted to handle every facet of the deployment process, from packaging and versioning to environment configuration and rollbacks. This automation ensures that the deployment process is not reliant on human memory or judgment, significantly reducing the potential for errors and deviations from the expected state of the system.

Moreover, a key tenet of the deployment phase is its readiness to respond swiftly in case of emergencies. Even with rigorous testing and careful development practices, there is always a risk that a "bad change" might slip through the cracks and make its way into the production environment. When such a situation arises, the deployment process should be capable of an immediate and seamless rollback.

Rollback mechanisms are the safety nets of the deployment phase. They enable the rapid reversion to a previous, stable version of the system in the event of unforeseen issues or critical errors post-deployment. This ability to backtrack effectively mitigates the potential impact of problems, providing a fail-safe mechanism that helps maintain the system's integrity and availability.

In essence, while the deploy phase of DevOps might seem conceptually simple, its functional complexity is the embodiment of meticulous planning, automation, and foresight. By reducing manual intervention to zero and incorporating robust rollback mechanisms, this phase not only ensures the reliability of the deployment process but also safeguards the overall stability and resilience of the entire system in the ever-evolving landscape of software development.

▶ Personal Insight

I get it, automated deployments are scary.

I have built a lot of systems across a lot of different ecosystems utilizing automated deployment mechanisms. What I have found to be the cornerstone for success in this space is trust. I have learned to trust my automated deployment systems because they can both get me into trouble quickly, but they can also get me back out of trouble quickly.

While automagically releasing to production can seem like a scary endeavour, I would rather take the time I saved by building automated deployments and use it to make sure my automated deployments are bullet proof.


The operate phase can be likened to the moment when the rubber meets the road. After meticulous planning, development, testing, and deployment, your software is finally in the production environment, ready to serve its intended purpose. End users, who have eagerly awaited the benefits promised by the system, are now poised to utilize it to its fullest potential. It's the moment of truth, where the value and efficiency of your work are put to the test in a real-world context.

However, the operate phase is not merely the culmination of the DevOps journey; it is also a critical juncture in the continuous improvement cycle of DevOps. This phase represents the start of a two-way flow of information that feeds back into the development process. Here's how it works:

  • Feedback Gathering: As end users begin to interact with the system, they provide valuable feedback based on their experiences. This feedback can encompass a wide range of insights, from identifying usability issues and uncovering bugs to suggesting enhancements or new features.

  • Incident Response: Sometimes, unforeseen issues may arise in production. These incidents are promptly addressed through incident response procedures. The response to incidents may involve immediate fixes, temporary workarounds, or, in more severe cases, rollbacks to previous stable versions of the system.

  • Feedback Loop: All the feedback gathered from end users, monitoring, and incident responses forms a crucial part of the feedback loop. This information is relayed back to the development teams. It provides invaluable insights that inform the team's next priorities, helping them understand what needs improvement, what requires immediate attention, and what opportunities for enhancement exist.

  • Continuous Improvement: Armed with this feedback, development teams can iterate and enhance the system. They can prioritize bug fixes, address usability concerns, and implement new features or improvements based on the real-world usage and the evolving needs of end users.

The operate phase is not just about keeping the lights on; it's about actively listening to your system's users and its performance in the wild. It's a continuous feedback loop that informs and guides the development process, ensuring that your software remains agile, responsive, and aligned with the evolving needs of your organization and its users. This phase, therefore, serves as a critical bridge between the operational reality of your software and the ongoing evolution of your DevOps practices.

Observe and Iterate

In the Observe and Iterate phase, the focus shifts from the initial deployment to the ongoing operation of the system. It's here that data-driven insights are born, transforming raw information into actionable intelligence. This process begins with meticulous observations of the system as a whole, encompassing a wide array of critical factors, including speed, stability, cost, and much more.


During this phase, the system is subjected to comprehensive scrutiny. Key performance metrics are collected, and the system's behavior is carefully monitored. Is it delivering responses at the desired speed? Is it maintaining the expected level of stability? Are there any unexpected cost overruns or inefficiencies? These observations help paint a detailed picture of how the system is performing in its operational environment.

Monitoring and Analytics

A robust suite of monitoring tools and analytics platforms is deployed to gather data continuously. These tools cast a wide net, collecting information on resource utilization, application performance, user interactions, and more. This ongoing monitoring serves as a watchful guardian, detecting performance bottlenecks, system failures, or any unexpected behaviors in real time.

Informed Decision-Making

Armed with the insights garnered from the Observe and Iterate phase, your teams can make informed decisions about the direction of the system. Perhaps you identify a recurring performance issue that needs attention, or you uncover opportunities to optimize resource utilization and reduce costs. Maybe you discover that certain features are underutilized or require enhancement. Whatever the insights, they become the foundation upon which future planning and development efforts are built.

▶ Key Insight

The Observe and Iterate phase is where the art of data-driven decision-making truly comes to life. It transforms raw data into actionable intelligence, guiding your DevOps journey with precision. By closely monitoring your system's performance and continuously analyzing the data it generates, you not only maintain the health and stability of your software but also ensure that your development efforts are aligned with the evolving needs of your organization and its users. This phase embodies the essence of agility and adaptability, empowering you to iterate, enhance, and optimize your software with each passing cycle.


In the world of software development, where agility, reliability, and innovation reign supreme, the DevOps methodology stands as a beacon of transformative power. Through its various phases, DevOps orchestrates a symphony of continuous delivery, ensuring that valuable software flows seamlessly into the market. As we've journeyed through the different facets of DevOps, from Planning and Development to Deployment, Operation, and Observation, it's become abundantly clear that this methodology is more than just a set of practices—it's a cultural shift that redefines how software is conceived, crafted, and delivered.

The beauty of DevOps lies in its holistic approach, where each phase is not a silo but an integral part of a continuous cycle. Consider it a well-oiled machine, where the gears of each phase mesh perfectly with the next, ensuring a constant flow of valuable delivery.

Throughout this journey, we've uncovered how DevOps isn't just a one-time process but a continuous loop of improvement. It's a methodology where feedback from one phase informs the next, and the cycle perpetuates itself, constantly refining and optimizing the software delivery process.

The benefits of this continuous cycle are numerous: faster time to market, reduced errors, increased reliability, and the agility to adapt to changing market conditions. DevOps empowers organizations to deliver not just software but value to their customers at a pace and quality that was once unimaginable.

So, whether you're just embarking on your DevOps journey or fine-tuning your existing practices, remember that each phase is a vital note in the symphony of continuous delivery. DevOps isn't a destination; it's a voyage of perpetual improvement, a commitment to excellence in software development. By embracing this holistic approach, you can not only meet the demands of today's fast-paced tech landscape but also thrive in it, delivering innovation and value with each passing cycle.