Tips to change culture (at least in your team).

DevOps is all about automation, enhancing the Application Lifecycle Management and culture change. In the last few years there have been tons of conferences and articles about the benefits of a cultural change on a project, but I have yet to read a paper about how to actually change culture. How do you manage to get people to change the way they think and act towards each other and professionally? This is a huge challenge that most DevOps leads will have to overcome. Here are some of my ideas. Create cohesion. The first thing to keep in mind when trying to implement DevOps (or on any other kind of project for that matter) is that people who don’t have fun at work will not perform as good as they could. How to make people happy to go to work is up to you, but I find that simple activities such ...

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You Might Already be Doing DevOps in the Software-Defined Data Center

I was out reading the Internet and came across a report from EMA (Enterprise Management Associates) regarding the state of the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) in 2014. After perusing the data and highlights, I was surprised (and yet should not have been) to find so much DevOps-related content and concepts within. Neither should I have been surprised to find significant mention of software-defined networking (SDN). It makes sense, in a puzzle-fitting-together kind of way, that SDDC comprises software-defined operations and software-defined networks (and probably software-defined storage but it’s too early in the day for me to contemplate that). In any case, a significant percentage of organizations take advantage (today) of software-defined operations and networking, based on the report: Which of the following technologies, structures or processes does your organization take advantage of? 4. Cross-functional processes to orchestrate provisioning and management of storage, network and server resources (57%) 5. Solution for ...

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DevOps Sometimes Means Kill It Before Fixing It

The public attention for DevOps is having a very positive effect on many areas of IT with regard to improving their ability to deliver for the business. Yet, I see little attention being paid to an integral part of this desire to change, which is to assess and baseline the current approach and then strategically select those areas where attention needs to be paid. Alternatively stated, many DevOps efforts are focused on improving current approaches without even determining if the current approach is appropriate for the business. In their book, “The Lean Mindset: Ask the Right Questions,” the authors question the focus on productivity as an aspect of implementing lean or agile methods. This comes up quite often in discussion with customers regarding DevOps adoption. There’s a misconception that becoming more productive is the way to fulfill demand from the business. But productivity is not the right question or answer. ...

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DevOps: What It is and How to Cook It

What is DevOps? DevOps is a funny concept.I have spent the last few months trying to find an accurate explanation of what it is, reading books, articles and participating in discussions which led me to the following personal definition: DevOps is a set of processes which aims to enhance the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) of an Agile project by creating tighter links between the different actors (Developers, Operations and testers) through the use of automation and communication. Wow! Why DevOps? The traditional development cycle of an Agile project usually leads to two to four major releases a year which means the delivery of a lot of new functionalities, tons of bugs fixes and therefore a lot of testing pre and post production. Such releases can prevent the good visibility of specific problems in the application itself; create a huge stress on the people involved as it is not conceivable to ...

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SQL vs. NoSQL – Unsettled Debate & DevOps Pitfalls

Big Data, a relatively new phenomenon driving the industry hype-cycle is a mainstay in the database business. IT companies are convinced over the endless value proposition of the operational insight that comes with leveraging Big Data ( or Big Small Data ), so much so that it’s easy to overlook its impact on traditional database technologies and practices. ...

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The Conundrum of Adopting DevOps within Organizational Constraints

I wish I had a dollar for each time I’ve now heard, “we’re adopting DevOps, but we have to operate within the constraints of what the business is ready to accept.” Basically, this is becoming the battle cry of many enterprise IT professionals that are DevOps believers, but are stuck with the limitations of operating within a complex, political and immovable business structure. One on hand, it is very pragmatic to approach adoption of new methods, techniques, technologies, etc. on a small scale and then expand based upon success. However, what is the result of a DevOps initiative in which existing organizational constraints and bottlenecks continue to remain in place? If you’ve been in the business world for more than a few years you’ve probably already had the experience of having a really good idea only to come to the realization that implementation of that idea requires cooperation of another ...

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Detours Ahead: Overcoming DevOps Challenges

Saying that you’re interested in DevOps is another way of saying you’re interested in change. That’s what DevOps promises any organization. No matter the problems a company is trying to solve or the goals it’s trying to reach, DevOps depends on a willingness to embrace some big changes. Sure, it can help you streamline software deployments, but it requires shaking up a company’s usual processes and routines. As we all know, change can be complicated, so before your organization transitions to an agile culture, it’s best to prepare for the likely challenges ahead. Breaking Old Habits for Continuous Delivery Many of the procedures we follow at work each day are second nature, and what’s familiar carries a certain comfort with it. Even when we realize a more efficient process is within reach, old habits are tough to break. For an organization that employs hundreds, any change can be a challenge. ...

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Nationwide banks on DevOps to drive towards Continuous Delivery

The Financial Services industry is fast moving, highly regulated and customer-centric. The general perception in our industry is that any change in processes implies risk and delay, neither of which we can afford. But at the same time, we are faced by the mammoth task of needing to continually introduce new products and services to stay competitive and cater to the growing needs of our customers. This is unthinkable without a fast software delivery lifecycle, as our business is highly dependent on technology. The best way to accelerate software delivery in a complex, fast moving environment like ours is to adopt a DevOps approach. As a speaker at a number of events, I have discussed the ongoing transformational journey at Nationwide and shared our approach with other enterprises who want to understand how they can follow suit. I recently had the opportunity to co-present with Hayden Lindsey from IBM at ...

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Time-Sharing to Unicorns: The DevOps Problem Facing Enterprise IT

How did we in Enterprise IT get to this point? There’s a lot of talking and writing about the value of adopting DevOps but very little analyzing the problem domain we’re trying to correct. There are some schools that will say we can move forward without looking back, but I believe a key element of the dysfunction that faces many enterprise IT organizations can directly be attributed to their history and how they were formed. One of the clear lessons we can learn from businesses that we call “unicorns”–termed this because of their mythical capabilities as an IT organization that can deliver high quality software very quickly–is that they have very little friction in the process from ideation to operation. Startups and greenfield initiatives are practically operating in a vacuum relative to the amount of friction they encounter compared to operations around entrenched decade-old legacy mission-critical applications. In retrospect, this ...

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Waterfall to Agile to DevOps: The State of Stagnant Evolution

DevOps is all the rage. The hot IT buzzword intended to heal the expanding divide between development and IT operations is being used to sell a range of services and solutions to struggling development shops and enterprises, even though DevOps can’t be sold – it’s a cultural shift that nurtures under a strong leadership. Prior to DevOps, Agile methodology generated a similar hype that forced businesses to spend millions of dollars in revamping organizational hierarchy, deploying new solutions and hiring self-proclaimed expert consultants. The original values and principles of Agile development to deliver working solutions in small and iterative chunks were quickly forgotten. The methodology was only implemented during development phase and created backlogs for operation teams that failed to push product releases fast enough. ...

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