Ranger4 DevOps Blog

#DevOpsFriday5 with Helen Beal

Posted by Tejinder Sehgal on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

It's the Ranger4 #DevOpsFriday5 series - today's contributor is Helen Beal. She's DevOpstastic!

1) What’s your preferred definition of DevOps?

I really like the Jesse Robbins’ quote, ‘Don’t fight stupid, make more awesome’ even though the use of the word ‘stupid’ probably isn’t all that DevOps. What I like about it though is how is sums up so succinctly and, to me, poetically, what DevOps is trying to do - allow innovation to proceed to market unhindered by broken processes. IT is in a perfect storm right now - on the one hand it’s more strategically critical than ever before (and that’s really exciting!), on the other, for many organisations, infrastructure has never been more fragile as a result of decades of growth and integrations and ever-increasing sophistication and complexity. So we have this conflict where businesses demand innovation which manifests itself as change (to development), which, in turn, manifests itself as risk (to operations). What DevOps is here to do is mitigate that risk and allow new, high quality features and capabilities to be consumed by users on demand.

2) When people ‘do’ DevOps, what’s the most common mistake you see them make?

The thing I see most commonly is failure to access and obtain senior stakeholder support. Although most organisations can see that their world can be a better place if they embrace DevOps, it’s more difficult to articulate exactly what needs to evolve to make that possible - and what the payback will be. And if you want payback, you’ll need some investment and some organisations struggle to make the case for the investments they need in resources and tools to make DevOps happen.

3) How do you recommend an organisation new to DevOps start?

By baselining their current state - culture and interactions and toolchain. If you don’t baseline your current state, you can’t report on and reward success, recognise and address failure and you can’t write a business case. Metrics are essential and even cultural metrics (an organisation’s attitude to failure, blame, ideas, motivations) are quantifiable (if nigh on impossible to associate with a hard dollar value so difficult to incorporate into a business case). Other metrics we consider essential to anyone starting out on a DevOps project are: volume and frequency of releases, elapsed time to release, volume and frequency of defects, time to fix a defect, volume and frequency of outages, MTTR and resource costs and business impact of all of these components.

4) What’s your prediction for what DevOps will look like in 2020?

I’d like to think that in five years’ time DevOps will be done, but it’s just coming up to 5 years old now and, if we were to compare it to Agile, for example (which is very closely linked), the Agile manifesto was published in 2001 and thirteen years later there are plenty of organisations just starting Agile transformations now so it’s quite possible there’ll still be organisations starting out on DevOps projects in 2020. However, given how strategic IT applications and performance have become to organisational success, particularly with the explosion of social, mobile and big data, and how many start ups are disrupting and stealing traditional markets, it’s also possible as technological advances continue to accelerate that companies who don’t embrace these principles quick smart will get left behind and wither in the wake of their competition.

5) Where do you like to go to get a DevOps hit?

I’m off to DevOpsDays in Ghent at the end of October which I think is the premier DevOps event and am looking forward to catching up with lots of familiar faces there. On a day to day basis, we curate a lot of pertinent content in our DevOps Matters LinkedIn groupDevOps.com is a great source as are DevOpsGuys and Contino.

Helen BealAbout Helen

Helen is a DevOps enthusiast who has been helping organisations with software development lifecycle improvement for nearly 20 years with particular specialisms in release and deployment automation, integration testing and service virtualization and application performance management. Helen is fanatical about making life on earth fantastic and a big fan of llamas.

Follow Helen:

On Twitter
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On Her Website

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Topics: DevOpstastic, #DevOpsFriday5, DevOps