As the New Year kicks off, it is a time for reflection and a chance to look ahead and plan for what is to come. While many are making personal resolutions pertaining to their physique, job performance or travel plans, there is a lot of chatter in the software delivery space around what DevOps will look like these next 12 months.
Looking back on 2016, suffice to say it was a big year for DevOps. There was no lack of resources for those in any phase of a transformation, with global conferences touting its name to weekly (if not daily) podcasts and webinars designed to share the latest expertise with the community. However, as DevOps moves from buzzword to phenomenon, it will be held to even higher standards and scrutiny, becoming ever-more polished and perfected as challenges are faced and overcome. But don’t just take my word for it.
Electric Cloud recently hosted a live, online video podcast featuring notable DevOps luminaries discussing their own reflections and conjectures. The panel included Nicole Forsgren, CEO and chief scientist at DORA; Robert Stroud, principal analyst at Forrester; Chris Riley, analyst at fixate.io; Manuel Pais, author at InfoQ and SkeltonThatcher; Alan Shimel, editor in chief at DevOps.com; Sam Fell, VP of Marketing at Electric Cloud; and yours truly. This article highlights 16 different insights from our discussion with these great minds in DevOps. Here’s to what has been, and what is to come!
- Expect to see a trend toward strategic DevOps transformations in 2017, according to Forsgren: “I think there’s going to be a huge trend moving forward to do really careful and strategic assessments about where you are, intentional prioritization and strategy about understanding what your constraints are, so that you can do strategic capabilities development moving forward.”
- Riley hopes 2017 will be the year we stop talking about DevOps and start doing it: “In 2017, we’re going to stop defining DevOps, and we’re going to hopefully use the word a lot less. We’re going to be real about what it is and getting it done. It’s going to be a lot less talk and more doing.”
- I emphasized that having good architecture in place is crucial to successful DevOps: “What’s starting to happen is that you’re going to have a really hard time doing DevOps well with a crappy architecture, whether that be a crappy architecture for your pipeline or crappy architecture for your application. Application architecture matters in your ability to do DevOps well.”
- Stroud emphasizes the importance of experimentation in DevOps: “Organizations [will] look to drive mainframe R&D in a DevOps methodology—not just mainframe development, but also supporting velocity in rolling it out to production, with organizations moving from one or two major releases a year, to now experimenting with both quarterly and monthly releases using DevOps practices and experimentation and techniques.”
- While tools and processes play a major role in a DevOps transformation, we must not forget to maintain a culture of empathy, emphasizes Shimel: “Have empathy for your fellow workers, empathy for your fellow humans. Don’t think because you’re the dev, that what you’re doing is more important than what the ops guy is doing.”
- DevOps certifications are the future, according to Pais: “I think we’re seeing more and more DevOps education and certifications. I know, for example, there’s an IEEE standard for DevOps being worked on.”
- Sweat the small stuff, advises Fell: “It’s never been truer than in this accelerated cycle that we’re seeing with productivity and all this awesome value being created from relatively minor, incremental improvements in process, in tooling, and all the stuff that we do, and the feedback that we’re getting.”
- I believe 2017 will bring major disruption in the FinServ community: “We will see some, hopefully, interesting disruption in the financial technology area, because the financial institutions have always treated technology as a key differentiator. Now, the problem they have is that their culture, by and large, sucks.”
- Some wise words from Stroud: “Strategy without execution is wasted time. We have to execute. We have to be prepared to fail. We have to be prepared to come and share our experiences.”
- Measure, measure, measure is Forsgren’s DevOps focus in 2017: “What’s going to be my goal is having all of us think about measuring in smart ways, so that we can actually do these experiments that are small, that allow us to fail, because big massive failures are scary, but those are the ones that are easy to measure with crap measurements. Because when you fail big, you know you failed big.”
- In 2017, we will see a breakdown of DevOps tools’ silos, per Shimel: “It’s really ironic that in something like DevOps, where the idea was to break down silos between dev and ops, dev and QA, and QA and security, but what we’ve done is we’ve built new silos of DevOps tools.”
- Pais on the trends he sees in early adopters of DevOps: “For the majority of organizations that have already been doing DevOps for a while, they’re now focusing on what’s the best way to organize teams. Moving, often, from having just specific people who know about continuous delivery, DevOps and so on, to actually getting platform teams that embed all the services that they want the development teams to use.”
- Oddly enough, development teams are still more likely to adopt DevOps than operations teams, explains Stroud: “One of the data stats we pulled has to do with DevOps adoption in development versus operations. Isn’t that ironic? Because the name DevOps is dev and ops. We still see significantly more DevOps adoption in development than operations, but the good news is the gap is closing, based on the Forrester data.”
- Containers will continue to be a major player in 2017, says Riley: “Where I believe there will continue to be growth is container-native tooling, container-native security and container-native release automation.”
- The reality is, there are still a lot of organizations not doing DevOps, remarks Fell: “We are living in this bubble, happy bubble, of everybody gets DevOps and we’re all Agile. But we talk with folks that we talk to who are just like, ‘Yeah, we do nightly builds, and we’re really looking forward to doing continuous integration.’ Your jaw drops, like, ‘Wow. Yeah, that’s a good idea. You should do that.’”
- And, finally, I share some sage wisdom to keep in the back of our minds: “If what you’re doing on any given day isn’t moving that ball forward, what is the point? I think we need to focus a little more on that.”
Bonus 17th quote for 2017, from Shimel: “I think the story of 2016 is DevOps has gone mainstream. We’re seeing pockets of DevOps come together as bubbles, but we still have the majorities in front of us, going forward.”
For more reflections and predictions, watch the full episode:
About the Author/Anders Wallgren
Anders Wallgren is Chief Technology Officer of Electric Cloud. Anders brings with him more than 15 years of in-depth experience designing and building commercial software. Prior to joining Electric Cloud, Anders held executive positions at Aceva, Archistra, and Impresse. Anders also held management positions at Macromedia (MACR), Common Ground Software and Verity (VRTY), where he played critical technical leadership roles in delivering award winning technologies such as Macromedia’s Director 7 and various Shockwave products. Anders holds a B.SC from MIT. Connect with Anders on LinkedIn or Twitter.