CALMS is a popular framework for assessing an organization’s implementation of DevOps-based practices. The model was first published indoors The Devops Handbook.
Applying the CALMS mindset to your work can set you up for DevOps success. You can use it to assess performance, establish identity improvement opportunities, and benchmark against neighboring teams and the wider industry. In this article you will learn what the CALMS principles are and how they can improve your DevOps strategy.
What is Calm?
CALMS leaves five focus areas What high-performing DevOps teams excel at:
- Culture – DevOps should be deeply rooted in your organization with strong support at all levels, from individual developers to business leaders. Non-technical teams need to understand the benefits of rapid iteration and continuous delivery before engineers can build optimal workflows.
- Automation – Manual processes are labour-intensive, costly and prone to error. Using automation to manage infrastructure and create deployments gives teams more time to make more meaningful improvements to your products.
- Slim – DevOps and Lean methodologies go well together. Eliminating bottlenecks, embracing rapid outages, and relying on iteration rather than prescribed release schedules increases throughput while maintaining quality.
- Measurement – Improvements do not come out of the blue. The best teams are constantly measuring and analyzing data to monitor what works and identify new opportunities. Applying the DevOps philosophy within existing teams often takes several tries to get it right. Regular performance reviews ensure that ineffective practices can be terminated before they deplete resources.
- Parts – DevOps stimulates collaboration between teams and disciplines. Engineers and operators need to share insights from their operations, including successes like new automation tools and failures like moving too fast and destroying an environment. Proactive sharing reduces the risks of groupthink, compartmentalized information and persistent inefficiencies.
These five principles promote strong DevOps practices within your team. They guide you to embrace the DevOps methodology by identifying specific features that characterize good implementations.
CALMS provides a helpful reminder of areas where DevOps improvements can be made. If your process isn’t quite right, keep calm and start automating, iterating, and measuring.
Calm down your processes
To SOOTH your processes, first address any roadblocks preventing people from embracing the DevOps culture. Then identify opportunities to upgrade inefficient workflows by removing them altogether, breaking steps into streamlined iterations, or building in automated tools that perform repetitive tasks for you.
After applying your improvements, measure their effects to understand if they work. Use the insights from your data to make further adjustments that target specific issues. Continue repeating cycles of adjusting, measuring, and improving until your data confirms that the intended effect has been achieved.
Share what you’ve learned with those around you as your process evolves. This may be during a retrospective, but it is often more useful to disseminate information as it is collected. This keeps everyone up to date on what’s happening, where you’re going, and the reasons why certain approaches are preferred.
What should you measure?
Making the right measurements is an essential part of DevOps success. Without data you don’t know how well you are performing. You may feel that you are succeeding or falling behind, but this may be an exaggeration or a complete reversal of what is actually happening.
The four DORA metrics are a good starting point for measuring DevOps performance. These track deployment frequency, change turnaround time, number of failed changes, and time to recover the service after an incident. Combining DORA analysis with the CALMS framework gives you tangible data and a framework to improve your results.
For example, you may find that your deployment frequency tends to decrease over time. This is a bad sign: code is taking longer to reach customers, but you may not know why. The CALMS framework provides suggestions for resolving the issue. There may be too many steps to release new changes, something that can be solved by automation. Alternatively, revisions can be blocked as they move between teams, indicating a loosening of lean principles and a demeaning DevOps culture. This may require more interdisciplinary discussion to resolve.
How CALMS enables DevOps success
CALMS is not an empty buzzword. It helps to consolidate and consolidate DevOps best practices, making the sometimes vague concept more accessible. There is more than one way to do DevOps, but the best implementations are based on the five CALMS principles.
You can use CALMS to identify both problems and opportunities. There may be principles that you miss or that are underused. It often happens that organizations automate parts of processes, but lack a cohesive DevOps culture, for example. Other companies may enthusiastically advocate for the DevOps mindset, but lack the data points to measure their success. In any case, referring to CALMS reveals the missing pillar.
CALMS shows how well DevOps combines efficient engineering with the mindset and team culture that supports it. You need to implement practical steps – primarily automation and analytics – while adopting a work ethic that promotes iterative collaboration. Regularly reviewing the scope of each CALM principle and then making small changes to improve will gradually increase your DevOps maturity and help you achieve the overarching goal of sending quality code more quickly.
DevOps is more than tools and technology. The The CALMS model recognizes this by also emphasizing cooperation and culture. These can be seen as the human side of DevOps. Evaluating your organization’s adoption of the CALMS principles indicates whether culture and technology are optimally balanced to produce DevOps success.
While CALMS is a useful framework for detecting your strengths and weaknesses, it does not guarantee that you will become a DevOps performer. DevOps is inherently subjective and adaptable: the CALMS principles apply to most teams, but you can adapt them to your environment. Sticking to the framework shouldn’t overtake your idea of the ideal DevOps implementation for your situation.
For example, some large organizations may find it impractical to roll out one set of DevOps practices across all of their cohorts. Minor variations in workflow between teams are not necessarily a problem, especially when supported by sharing mechanisms – the “s” in CALMS – that allow teams to learn from each other and gradually unify their methods.