How automation can help business move past the walls of confusion between dev and ops
In the current state of things, businesses are leaning more than ever on the collective intelligence of their tech teams to drive innovation within their respective organizations. These teams are always comprised of developers and operations professionals. With the foray into automation and the desire for companies to do more with less, it has never been more critical that all individuals, regardless of team, come together to do amazing things. Of all of the services available, Chef is a great example of a suite of tools that want to empower teams to do just that: come together and innovate. It is all about bridging gaps, which can range from simply redefining how teams think about each other to more complex things such as knowledge gaps.
The first gap that almost always seems to come up when bringing teams together and driving business value is the duties gap. For too long we have sat on opposite sides of the coin. In operations in particular, too often we see ourselves as the ones that have to deal with the aftermath of unfortunate problems within code. But the fact is, we should all care about our systems, we should all care about our code and we should all be ensuring the longevity of both.
Once you’ve moved past the first hurdle, then comes the gap in knowledge. Scripting has become pretty common as companies press for automation, but in some instances, it becomes necessary to build up existing team members. Using enterprise automation tools such as Chef, entire teams and entire companies can begin caring about a shared thing: the configuration, health and state of their infrastructure and applications. In doing so, those same teams can begin speaking a shared language. Once this knowledge and shared language are in place, developers no longer view the ops team as an “other,” but rather as collaborators. They can each use their various areas of expertise and speak the same language without having actually having to speak the same language.
The third common gap is the process gap. Process can represent all of those past processes that a company is reluctant to let go of, which can hinder the ability of the developers and operations humans when they’re attempting to collaborate. The process gap can become particularly difficult to move past without leadership buy-in; as such, it is critical to involve business decision-makers in this transformation. While nearly the entire industry is beginning to move toward more collaborative environments, the entire leadership team must be onboard with the requirements to make changes happen. With the use of automation tools in particular, though, processes can begin to shift more toward collaboration-friendly policies and you can then make the case for further expansion with proof that it can aid in your transformation.
Empathy is the final gap that must be overcome. The great part about the other gaps is that they work hand in hand to solve each other’s problems. By promoting collaboration, resolving these gaps are also facilitating collaboration. The empathy gap is largely caused by silos of the past that have led to the commonly talked-about “wall of confusion.” Closing the knowledge and duties gap, developers and operations humans can now communicate and understand the same language and processes each is following. This allows the wall to be broken down and operations humans and developers alike can care about both code and stability.
It’s easy to start getting dev and ops teams working together and on a more even playing field once these gaps have been eradicated. This becomes a big driver for innovation and is, in many cases, a true recipe for success within the company. During my career, I’ve both watched and been involved in these transformations. Working with solutions such as Chef has allowed me to cross the bridge myself, and likewise, be able to share with others how that can be scaled out to entire organizations.