It's the Ranger4 #DevOpsFriday5 series - today's contributor is Gareth Wharton. He's DevOpstastic!
1) What's your preferred definition of DevOps?
I think DevOps means (and should mean) different things to different individuals/institutions, but in principle it revolves around quality, efficiency and speed within and across teams. I like the quote “What is my job on the planet? What is it that needs doing, that I know something about, that probably won't happen unless I take responsibility for it?” [Buckminster Fuller] it’s about taking responsibility and going beyond the bounds of typical job roles.
2) When people 'do' DevOps, what's the most common mistake you see them make?
There’s a couple of obvious ones, firstly that DevOps means automation. While it can be one element, it cannot be the sole solution. Secondly that it has an end point, there are levels of maturity but there should be a culture of continuous improvement.
3) How do you recommend an organisation new to DevOps start?
I don’t think there’s one single starting point, but for us when we started the journey, we were hearing messages such as business stakeholders telling IT we were too slow, or needing us to be more nimble. Other possible indicators might be linked to high defect rates, or laborious change control processes, or repeated failed releases. As for how to start the journey, senior management buy-in is key. By far the most difficult element to make progress in is Culture, and this can often only effectively be changed with a top down approach. Once senior buy-in is obtained, having the boss tell the organisation "this is important to me" is hugely powerful. Then looking at the process in question, looking for waste and inefficiency, and targeting what mix of people/process/culture and technology will address that waste. Then key is to measure before and after stats to demonstrate value, and iterate from there.
4) What's your prediction for what DevOps will look like in 2020?
A bit like the journey Agile has been on or even Social media, where historically agile and social media were seen as new or different, they are now just part of everyday life, and I think this is how DevOps will evolve and mature to in 2020
5) Where do you like to go to get a DevOps hit?
Gareth is CTO at Hiscox, and has been at Hiscox for 8 years in a number of roles. He is currently responsible for all aspect of technology (reporting to the CIO) within Hiscox encompassing Enterprise, Infrastructure and Application Architecture. He is also responsible for the Platform Services team who provide a DevOps leadership service to the wider IT team. In addition he is responsible for innovation within IT, primarily to promote new technologies within the business. Prior to this role, Gareth ran Infrastructure Services for Hiscox, and project managed their large data centre and virtualisation programme in 2007. Prior to Hiscox, Gareth has worked in a number of financial services companies, most recently he worked at Aon for 9 years in various IT roles principally supporting the Crisis Management teams.
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