Dear DevOps “enthusiast”,
You are confused. But I am confused as well. For approximately two years now this DevOps thing has been both exciting and frustrating. And in ways that are totally different for each of us. At the intersection of all the disparate confusion is the “perfect storm”. What that means for now is that we are all hunkered down in the basement, reading books on “DevOps” to pass the time, and better understand the thing that is attempting to destroy us.
To start, you are never talking about the same thing. Is it the movement or the function? The function is tactical, and usually defines those who script infrastructure, which is a service too, but still separate from, the rest of the delivery processes. The movement is a mindset, which adds one more layer to the function, people, which some call it by the dreaded name “culture”. All that means is you take control of the culture, and not the other way around. So the movement stack is People, Process, and Tools. In that order, and all together. And it is not a thing, it is a framework. One that focuses you on results. Always improve the pipeline to produce more releases faster, and at a higher quality. But also get to new functionality, not spending time chasing bugs.
Let me count the ways you are confused:
Software Vendors: No, not everyone is already doing DevOps. And certainly not everyone is doing continuous delivery. By the nature of being around the conversation so much you might disagree, but your messaging when only targeted at CI/CD is putting off many of your very relevant prospects.
Developers: Ok I agree IT is annoying. But DevOps does not make them go away. Actually in many ways because you are now more accountable for everything in your code including security, and quality you have more work in addition to your already aggressive backlog. IT can be your friends.
IT: Your job is more than production, it is to keep things moving as well. It is your fault developers are so pissed. You have not already been doing this, DevOps is not ITIL, and you don’t own it, the team does. Really you should think of yourself as a services organization. One which is doing its best to use shadow IT as a roadmap of what to provide. Vet the products, and make them available. Use automation to do the heavy lifting during the day. And find a way to participate in the shared goal of more releases.
QA: The world is changing. And turning a blind eye is not going to work. You actually have many opportunities to push modern development forward with your unique holistic perspective. You see the application and pipeline in it’s entirety. And thus have a lot of insight to offer. But it won’t happen on it’s own. Deliver metrics, and show improvement of the pipeline over time. Move to strategy, and help the developers find bugs before they make it to testing.
But that is not all, your role above is tainted by your organization type Enterprise or Startup.
Enterprises: The sooner you stop fighting modern development, call it DevOps or not, the less painful it will be. And i’m talking serious pain. The kind of pain where you realize that a below average startup, even in a regulated industry, just published an app that is going to change the behavior of your market, and potentially leapfrog you overnight. You could just buy them, because you have the money. But that only further delays the fact that your development team needs to catch up.
Hipster Startups: It is a big world out there. Much bigger than you realize, with a lot of grown up companies, and a lot of rules they have to follow. I know for your environment which is built bottom up DevOps, it is easy to adopt new tools, and use them. Does not mean you should. The “because I can” mentality will not help you grow. Plan ahead, spend some time realizing the challenges of what happens at scale. Focus a little bit on sustainability, not the immediate release. It could just be what keeps you alive.
It would not be fair of me to dish this out, and not talk about my myself and my persona as well. Which I would say contains the DevOps visionaries ( which I am not ), the outside observer (which I am), and the system integrators (who might just save us all). Don’t foster bad market education, and be encouraging. There is a lot of noise out there, that at times can turn people away, especially the enterprise. You dont need to talk about the hype, you need to talk about the results. Be strategi-tactical, teach the why of culture and process, and help organizations use people to execute those processes using great tools. Do not be a process pimp, if you are then remove the word DevOps from your site. Cookie cutter does not work. Help the market in a DevOps kind of way.
Four years from now this letter will be irrelevant. And the modern delivery chain will, just be. But my charter and challenge for you is to make it happen faster, and do not make it a members only club.