As the cycle of DevOps is repeated in a growing list of organizations, I feel compelled to reiterate the warning that this is not the pinnacle. Anyone who has been around for a while knows that the current fad is not the last fad.[[Cue DevOps people screaming at my choice of the word “fad”]]
Of course it’s a fad. DevOps (and to a much lesser extent, agile) is the cool toy in the midst of Gartners’ (in)famous hype cycle. That doesn’t mean nothing will come of it; it means that people freak out when you tell them it doesn’t solve every problem.
All of the process/solution fads that have come along have offered some benefit to IT. DevOps promises to offer more, and in many environments it does. But grabbing your broadest brush and screaming, “DEEEEVVVVVOOOOOPPPPPSSSS!” while painting everything in sight is not problem-solving; it is thinking there is only one path to quality and it flows through the Chosen Process.
The reason DevOps is different from previous hype cycles is obvious: It has the built-in assumption that this is not the end state. It assumes you will keep moving forward and things will change. Previous “new way of doing things” ideas have assumed that there was some nirvana you would get to and everyone would relax there, sipping ambrosia and enjoying immortality. DevOps makes no such claim. About as close to a final state as it gets is increased communications between the various parts of the DevOps life cycle. And that is because there is only so far you can go with increased communications before you’re flooded. And even that leaves room for new tools such as Slack to augment communications.
But don’t look at every problem with DevOps blinders. This is the real world, and while some will (possibly correctly) claim that every software dev/deploy cycle can benefit from DevOps, the real question is not “Can it benefit?” but rather, “Is the cost/investment/risk less than those benefits?” And to the chagrin of those who live and breathe DevOps/agile, I’m afraid the answer to that question isn’t always a resounding “Yes.”
I’m undeniably a fan of both agile and DevOps. What I’m not a fan of is finding the nearest round hole and cramming everything—including square pegs—into it. Look at each project/process objectively. As a simple and blog-length example, let’s examine standalone app that does some important back-end process and is only updated once or twice a year: Why ever would you rip the process for that apart, invest man-hours to bring it into the DevOps and agile folds, then … only update it once or twice a year?
If you are building a new project, and you have DevOps processes in the building, it would take a convincing argument to not use them. The same should be true the opposite direction. If there is an existing project that doesn’t have delivery delays, it should take a convincing argument to move it to a whole new development/deployment methodology. Choose wisely. Invest resources where they’re required, not where ever the broad brush falls. IT has enough work to do, don’t add to it, just so you can say “We’re a DevOps shop.” Better to say “We’re a right tool for the job shop.”
And keep kicking it. Business doesn’t run itself, IT runs business. Keep making it work.