It’s easy to get tired of buzzwords, especially in the software development and testing world where they’re so prevalent. But while it’s easy to blame the thought leaders and evangelists for creating them, and publishers and powerful marketing teams for inserting them into every content channel imaginable, the buzzwords that truly stick around do so on their own merit.
Agile, big data, and cloud have been written about and philosophized for years—and I hate to break it to you, but they’re not going anywhere. While they may not be the panacea that some make them out to be, their impact on the way we develop, test, deploy, and release software has been documented in every market and industry around the globe. This gives the words their staying power. Not relentless press coverage that’s been covertly sponsored by marketing and PR dollars.
Members of the academy and esteemed buzzwords in the software hall of fame: join me in welcoming our newest member: DevOps.
You may say it’s too early, and that DevOps hasn’t been around long enough to earn such universal acceptance. Many quickly cite John Allspaw and Paul Hammond’s 2009 presentation, “10+ Deploys Per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr” as the real inspiration behind Patrick Debois’ coining of the term, and if you’ve never viewed the session, I can’t recommend it enough.
Skip ahead to today and we’ve got multiple conferences that focus on DevOps exclusively. Devops Days, DevOps Summit, DevOps Connect and DevOps Enterprise feature some the most respected speakers and writers alive today.
But they’re not the only ones speaking there. CTOs, CIOs, chief architects, IT heads, and QA directors from every bank, retailer, hospitality group, government agency, and software development shop are there, too, and with a captivatingly similar story behind their employer’s decision to “do” DevOps.
They were stuck. Their software was late. It didn’t address their customers’ real needs, and it didn’t address their own company’s needs. Their application stacks were growing increasingly complex, the bottlenecks in their SDLC were increasing, and their ability to innovate, accelerate, and stay ahead of their competition was slipping further away from them.
What I find especially interesting in re-watching many of these conference sessions is that a lot of them were also leveraging the other buzzwords mentioned above. They’d been practicing agile for years, and they’d started to look to the cloud to lighten their hardware dependence and provisioning headaches.
What they all needed, and thankfully found, was a disruptor. And no matter what definition you attribute to DevOps (and good grief, there are so many) there’s no denying its disruptive nature.
It disrupts the culture of your dev, QA, and ops teams. It requires constant communication, more deploys, earlier testing, shifting left, an embracing of “failing fast and failing often” and what’s often described as “relentless automation.” Some would even argue that the hardest part of DevOps is getting executive buy-in and sponsorship so that you can even begin your initiative. Though to be fair, your ground level troops should be just as on-board as your commanding officers in order to have the best chance for success.
Joachim Bauernberger at InfoQ recently looked into whether DevOps can work in Telecoms, and it turns out, like in any industry looking to resolve the constraints and bottlenecks listed above, it most certainly can—however, it requires support and commitment from “all links in the delivery chain.”
And this is the only reason you should be asking, “Can DevOps work here?” Do you have the right people, and are you the right person to increase the likelihood of this disruptive shift within your company? Stop wondering if (or worse, doubting) your industry will support DevOps, because each year and each conference that passes proves that it can.
And soon enough, if the people at your organization are exposed as the real constraints and bottlenecks, they’ll be removed. Don’t be one of them. Be disruptive.
About the Author/Noel Wurst
Noel Wurst, Managing Editor at Skytap, Noel is responsible for setting and executing Skytap’s content marketing strategy. That includes overseeing the creation and distribution of high-quality, targeted content, and managing the team and external resources associated with those efforts. By leveraging deep online marketing, project management, and editorial experience, Noel plays a crucial role in helping generate and nurture leads with compelling content. You can follow Noel and Skytap at @NoelWurst and LinkedIn and @Skytap, Skytap’s LinkedIn