It's one year today since we published our first #DevOpsFriday5 and to celebrate we'll be publishing collections of our favourite answers to each of the questions - and launching a whole new set for the twelve months ahead. This week we kick off with Question One:
What’s your preferred definition of DevOps?
At the time when these questions were originally created the definition for DevOps was a big talking point with us and our community and customers, although we now find ourselves discussing more what makes DevOps different, why the term receives so much attention and how it can be used to drive digital transformations.
This is one of the reasons that we have updated the questions asked in the #DevOpsFriday5 initiative; a year's a long time in technology and we now have different questions that we're asking and being asked in our daily engagements.
"I'm on the record as liking IBM's definition. But any definition that emphasizes collaboration across the organization in order to deliver software driven services faster and better, is one I like." Erik Minick
"DevOps is a movement that has come about due to the realisation in the industry that there has to be a better way to build and release software, particularly in the web space where there is a growing urgency to ship software ever faster.
Whilst the introduction of Agile methodologies has resulted in software development teams being able to produce smaller increments of shippable software, the bottleneck moved further down the chain to the Ops Teams who were responsible for actually shipping the software. Throwing code over the fence was no longer acceptable in this new world.
DevOps for me is a movement to align development and operations teams around the business goals and drive excellence across the whole software delivery lifecycle.
The real benefit to your business is being able to shorten the time taken to get new features out to your customers. To do this well you have to look at each component that makes up your application, understand their dependencies and the pace at which changes to any of them can be pushed through your environments." Jonny Wooldridge
"Leveraging cultural change management to implement continuous improvement on the organization's software value chain, most often starting with the traditional organization structure boundary between Dev and Ops and working outward." Sarah Baker
"I love the way this question asks for your ‘preferred’ definition of the DevOps as this highlights a problem that ‘DevOps’ has at the moment – basically that there are so many different definitions of what DevOps means and is all about. It reminds me of Cloud a couple of years ago.
To be honest, the phrase DevOps has become more of a marketing buzzword over the last year. Every vendor I speak to is now jumping on the ‘DevOps’ bandwagon and clients want to ‘implement’ DevOps, hire ‘DevOps’ engineers. It is a clever play on words combining both IT development with IT operations, to work in harmony leading to a world of IT efficiency and value. Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? Where do I sign up?
The reality is that DevOps is greater than the sum of its parts. It is firstly about a culture shift – understanding that our world, the products, the services that we consume are increasingly fuelled by technology. Secondly, it’s the realization that for your company to survive and be successful then technology based services; websites and mobile apps are key to engaging and delighting your customers. Thirdly, this means that the whole business has a responsibility to source/design, deliver fit-for-purpose and timely software products and services that delight external customers and also optimize operations internally. This means that if you accept that it’s all about Development and Operations ‘collaborating’ together then you are missing the other parts of the picture. DevOps is about optimizing the full product and services value chain, from the external customers right through to internal IT operations. This means that DevOps requires a shared vision, trust and co-operation between all lines of business functions. So as you can see – it’s bigger than just Development and Operations collaborating together." John Rakowski
"My one-liner would be 'Development and operations collaborating to enable the enterprise to rapidly respond to changing business requirements in a safer and more repeatable way.'
This pretty much defines Continuous Delivery as well and I'm happy for either to be used interchangeably (as they have the same goals at heart)." John Harris
"DevOps is a cultural change to an organisation that allows both back-end and front elements of your team to better interact and serve your customers. This results in quicker innovation, automation and continuous improvements." Alan Shimel
"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." Helen Beal
"The typical response is a merging of Dev and Ops. While this is the effect of proper DevOps it’s not my definition. DevOps is a framework that guides better software delivery and quality. This is done through a culture first, process second, and tools approach to designing the optimum development and operation teams. These teams have a shared goal that is results driven and metric based. DevOps is not an end, it is a means." Chris Riley
"Simply a culture of shared goals and incentives. The idea of DevOps is to ensure that we are trying to achieve common goals and that we care enough about our jobs not to pass the buck.
“It’s not my job” – is the antithesis of DevOps." Jonathan Fletcher
"DevOps describes how we do things rather than ourselves and I’m in the camp of those who say that “you cannot be a DevOps”. It’s a movement, an approach, a way to organise people and organisations. DevOps is a response to the disconnect between development and operations activities. This disconnect often manifests itself as conflict, friction and inefficiency. Development tends to be driven by how many new functionalities can be churned out in a given time, therefore change is its incentive. Operations on the other hand tends to be driven by stability of the status quo and its incentive, therefore, is resisting change. So I see it fundamentally as an extension of Agile and Lean as it attempts to instil those same values, principles and practices into Operations.
DevOps is about people, collaboration and feedback loops, definitely not about tools. You cannot buy a “DevOps tool” and suddenly be done with it. There are certainly tools better suited than others to a DevOps inspired style of working, but those come after the hard work is done: getting Development and Operations to collaborate from the outset on common goals." Marco Abis
"DevOps is the art of breaking down organisational silos, increasing cross-team collaboration and communication, and striving to improve the overall health, happiness, and prosperity of the organisation and its individual members." Seth Vargo
So what did we learn from all of this? That there is no standard definition of DevOps - and that it means something different to every person and every organisation. It's about getting more, better software to market faster but the subtleties around how to make that happen vary considerably.
Want to participate in the next round of #DevOpsFriday5? Do that here.