It's the Ranger4 #DevOpsFriday5 series - today's contributor is Matthew Skelton. He's DevOpstastic!
1) What’s your preferred definition of DevOps?
The real focus of DevOps is surely increased operability of the software systems we work with. As the rate of change to these systems is so high (and the changes so valuable), also because these systems are becoming more distributed and complex, the scope for operational faults is significantly higher than with the more static systems of the past. Therefore highly effective collaboration between Dev teams, Ops teams, and other teams helps to ensure that the new end-user features operate well when deployed, reducing the impact and extent of transitory failures.
2) When people ‘do’ DevOps, what’s the most common mistake you see them make?
Many people have come to understand 'DevOps' as mostly just infrastructure automation or release management. They might start a 'DevOps Team' whose responsibility is to "automate stuff", but if that team remains isolated from other teams, it will become a new silo, pushing Dev and Ops even further apart. So beware of the permanent 'DevOps Team'; instead, use a short-lived team to reach a better place and then dissolve the team into product-aligned teams.
3) How do you recommend an organisation new to DevOps start?
Give space for - and encourage - daily collaboration between Ops people and Dev people: arrange joint pizza sessions, hold a joint social, collaborate on incident triage, organise metrics-focused 'hack days', fund a decent project/programme to make logging a first-class concern. All these things will help to build trust between Ops folk and Dev folk, and improve your software at the same time, reducing outages and time needed for diagnosis. Everyone wins.
4) What’s your prediction for what DevOps will look like in 2020?
The practice of developers working highly collaboratively with operations folk will have become the norm, as will software-defined infrastructure and monitoring as a first-class concern. Organisations whose main revenue stream is enabled through software systems that do not follow these practices and principles will probably not be around in 2020.
5) Where do you like to go to get a DevOps hit?
DevOps Days is a great event series. XP Day in London is inspirational. DevOps Weekly is a useful newsletter. Meetup.com has many active DevOps meet up groups. Helping clients to tackle DevOps problems always throws up new problems and solutions.
Matthew Skelton has been building, deploying, and operating commercial software systems since 1998, including systems for London Stock Exchange, TUI Travel, Virgin Mobile, and MRI brain scanning machines.
Between 2011 and 2014 he led the build and deployment activity at thetrainline.com, the UK's busiest travel booking website, where he helped establish Continuous Delivery practices such as end-to-end deployment pipelines and product-aligned teams. He now specialises in Continuous Delivery, DevOps, and software operability as an independent consultant.
Matthew founded and runs the 600-member London Continuous Delivery meetup group, and instigated the first conference in Europe dedicated to Continuous Delivery, PIPELINE Conference. He is a regular presenter on the international conference circuit – speaking on DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and software operability – and co-facilitates the popular Experience DevOps workshop series.
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