http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=320942&locale=en_US&trk=tyah&trkInfo=tas%3AYaniv%20yehuda%2Cidx%3A1-1-1I came across a great article by Chris Canciosi in Forbes where he describes DevOps not a replacement of agile or lean methodologies so much as a supplement to them. Canciosi says that it fills in the gaps to help tech companies break down functional stovepipes, automate as much as possible in the spirit of speed and quality, and refine operational process to allow for velocity that was unheard of ten years ago.
The thought of a tech company deploying ten updates to an app in a day was preposterous just a few years ago. Now, those who have made the shift to a DevOps environment are doing this on a regular basis.
Canciosi goes on to make six really good points about DevOps
DevOps is less about what we do and more about how we do it. Technology infrastructure and evolving processes are critical in successfully transforming an organization to DevOps principles. But, at the end of the day, DevOps is about how work gets done, and how people interact with each other and with technology to drive performance.
DevOps is not an off-the-shelf solution that can just be implemented. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for how DevOps should be implemented. Again, since DevOps is fundamentally a cultural shift in the way work gets done, it will take slightly different forms based on the organization.
The people side is critical to the equation. While most of the DevOps articles do make passing mention of the people side of the DevOps equation, very few go beyond a brief affirmation that it’s essential before moving on to the process and technology/infrastructure components of the transformation. If we truly want to change the way people work to drive velocity in the tech world, then we must take a deeper look at this human side of DevOps, and the ways it can support or derail a sustainable DevOps transformation.
DevOps is not a job, it’s everyone’s job. A quick job search on Indeed.com contained only to the Seattle, WA area found over 500 job openings with the term DevOps in the title. Klint Finley’s Wired article illustrates this trend of tech companies changing job titles to include DevOps. But, according to Finley, DevOps is not a job. It’s a critical way of working together to drive performance.
The people component of the model seems to be the part that is least defined. Several DevOps models in my research, but none have quite hit home with me. Most make mention of the people or culture aspect of a DevOps transformation, but they tend to do so in name only, focusing more heavily on the infrastructure components. It’s important to realize that more “stuff” is not the solution to a successful DevOps transition, or any cultural transition for that matter.
A DevOps transition can be likened to any organizational change in the way work gets done, whether that be organizations moving toward a client-focused culture, those desiring a culture that excels at quality and consistency, or those that are working toward operating at higher velocity. If this is true, then focusing on the fundamental aspects of organizational culture that drive the behaviors one needs to execute on their business strategy becomes the coatrack from which all of the other systems, process and people changes hang.
There is clear evidence to suggest that a DevOps approach to tech development can have significant impact on the velocity of an IT organization. This is supported in the State of DevOps Report produced by PuppetLabs on an annual basis.
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That said, there is also data that suggests that most DevOps transformation efforts fail to deliver on expectations. The existing culture of the IT organization does not allow for people to behave in the ways necessary to make the leap to DevOps. Based on this, it’s time that we reexamine our approach to sustainable DevOps transformation. We must begin to design a more comprehensive methodology that takes into account the various people and cultural factors that help reinforce new ways of working.