DevOps has taken root in Australia, where its practitioners are showing a high level of sophistication.
According to Paul Muller, vice president of Strategic Marketing, Software, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Asia Pacific and Japan, interest in DevOps at Australian organizations rose, fell back and then rose again—a pattern that reminds us of Gartner’s Hype Cycle.
DevOps has progressed from the stage where its devotees were seen as a ‘radical fringe’ fighting against the organizations where they work, and is quickly becoming part of mainstream IT, he said, observing he has even heard the CEO of a bank talking about DevOps. (The banking sector in Australia is highly concentrated, with the ‘Big Four’ collectively accounting for around 80 percent of the market, with the customer-owned, regional and foreign-owned banks taking the rest.)
More generally, executives increasingly realize “their business is only as good as their software,” he said.
He sees innovation occurring in what are sometimes regarded as very traditional sectors (automotive, banking and finance, to name two) as companies realize that they face—or soon will face—competition from “software-savvy startups.”
The success of DevOps shows “Adam Smith was wrong”—that is, overspecialization is bad, he observed.
“The sophistication here is higher than I would have expected,” and higher than in most places outside Silicon Valley, said Muller.
The Australian DevOps community benefits from the huge amount of volunteer effort that goes into organizing events such as meetups. HPE is helping with its ‘DevOps Days’ that expose the company’s customers to HPE’s DevOps culture and practice, allowing them to “live a day in the life of this modern process” and take a better understanding back to their own organization.
One DevOps mistake he has seen made that generally results in failure is what he calls “processes of fetish,” where people simply try to copy another organization’s practices instead of developing a true understanding of DevOps.
He also drew attention to the shortcomings of measuring productivity in terms of lines of code or function points delivered. That overlooks, for example, the contribution of a person who does a lot of coaching.
Muller drew particular attention to the importance of scaled agile to larger organizations with multiple internal and/or external teams that need to work together to successfully complete projects. In such environments, problems arise if it is not used.
To be successful, DevOps requires the right collection of people, the right measurement and reward system, and the right tools (such as HPE ALM Octane, which can among many other things handle the synchronization of data across multiple teams), he said.
But it’s not just about implementation: organizations and teams still need to generate ideas that can be put into production. There are tools to help that process, Muller said, and HPE is teaching its innovation methodology to other organizations.
Many businesses spruik their innovation credentials and want their developers to focus on innovation. Agile and DevOps help free up developers’ minds—along with those of their colleagues in business units—to do just that, Muller said.