What boggles the mind is that opponents of DevOps use risk as an excuse why DevOps would not work in their environments and why using the “traditional ITSM” approach is better and safer.
When I start asking them about their transition practices, specifically the alignment between transition, change, test and release models, I soon find that these models are either very skimpy or, most of the time, non-existent.
So here are the facts: You don’t want to do DevOps because you don’t want to do what ITSM best practice dictates!
ITSM best practice recommends building and aligning change, test, release, deployment and transition models that clearly define transition/change boundaries, practices, artifacts, acceptance criteria, roles, responsibilities and authorities, making transition practices repeatable, less risky and more reliable.
Is this not exactly what you need to do in DevOps automation? If you have not built the models and made sure they are tried and tested, you can’t automate them—and if you have built these models and made sure they are tried and tested (repeatable), then why not automate them? It’s a no-brainer.
The reality is that by using DevOps practices, organizations have far better control and manage risk far better than what opponents and detractors of DevOps have in their non-DevOps environments.
This may not be best practice, but we have for years recommended that during a post-incident review the following questions should be added to the agenda:
- Will we do this again? If so,
- Will we do it in the same way?
- Can we define an implementation approach based on the change just completed and the lessons learned, and can we reuse this approach safely in future (build change, release and test models)?
- If we can,
- Build the models
- Define this type of change as a standard change
Some say that this is not best practice, as “standard changes” are low risk. This, in fact, is not true!
ITIL® defines a standard change as follows (ST 188.8.131.52): “A standard change is a change to a service or other CI for which the approach is pre-authorized by change management, and this approach follows an accepted and established procedure … Every standard change should have a change model that defines the steps to follow … Authorization for each occurrence will be granted by a delegated authority … The crucial elements of a standard change are defined triggers, tasks are well-known, documented and proven, authority is given in advance … The risk is usually low and always well-understood.”
We have for years argued that standard changes are ideal candidates for automation. By extending the post implementation reviews, you identified safe candidates for DevOps automation!
About the Author/ Johann Botha
Johann Botha is the CEO of getITright, a DevOps Institute Registered Education Provider that will run its first African DevOps course May 23 in Johannesburg. Visit www.get-it-right.com for more info.