Ranger4 DevOps Blog

#DevOpsFriday5 with Keith Davidson

Posted by Helen Beal on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 @ 10:03 AM

It's the Ranger4 #DevOpsFriday5 series - to we will hear from Keith Davidson. Take it away Keith!

1) What's your preferred definition of DevOps?

Primarily to me DevOps is a cultural approach to delivering solutions, it starts with having shared ownership over the operation outcome of your product. From business definition (Product Owner, or other) through development, QA, test, deployment, operations and retirement. As with any good process and particularly Agile practices constant feedback to the appropriate function for improvement at every step. Inside this there are numerous approaches, tools and principles, in my view agile methods being the most beneficial. But "shared ownership" and the people that embrace that are what makes DevOps work, in short the culture. A shorter version I have been known to use is "smooth out the delivery pipeline to product, and back again."

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

'Do' DevOps is a loaded term, I always prefer "Practice" for DevOps or Agile, constant improvement with doing. To answer the question :-) the most common mistakes I have seen is believing the traditional silos or towers can be maintained. The whole idea of DevOps is to knock down the walls between groups and form joint ownership. The traditional towers with the "ticketing system" walls, etc. will never allow trust to be formed. The dev and QA silos where the dev team looks for the well-practiced punt over the walls to QA and then QA to operations will never install trust. The one other I have to mention is the belief that tools get you to a DevOps culture, they can help but having tools along side old attitudes will get you no where. I have seen this cause organisations to actually get worse overall. There are lot's more mistakes but I think those are the biggest in my view. 

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

Simple to say, hard to do right - make it clear from an organisational level that everyone from product owners, through development to operations teams own the product or service readiness for its full lifecycle. Each has responsibility for their speciality but they all own its success. This means rewards whether bonuses or kudos go to the team, the same for when improvements are needed the team should receive it. From a very practical level, start by establishing one team at a time and get them running then move on to the next. Big bangs don't work for culture. Lots of ongoing items like continually improving your common toolsets (SCM, CI, CM, etc.) are needed but those are easy compared to culture and team readiness.

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

There is a surge in organisations adopting DevOps that are just starting because of the massive benefits. I think by 2020 it will surpass Agile practice in business objects or be subsumed by it, as DevOps can deliver on the key aspect that Agile adoption has tended to miss. It will enables the continuous delivery of value and feedback from the customer, one of the primary aims of Agile. I want to be very clear here, Agile is what has driven the awakening for the need of DevOps so to me this is an evolution to meet some of the original objects of the Agile Manifesto.

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

I go to blogs, particularly http://www.agileweboperations.com and http://martinfowler.com as well as twitter for people of a similar standing.

KeithDavidson-1About Keith:

Keith has been managing development & operations teams for over 15 years, these teams have ranged from 10 to 150+ spread around the globe. Keith has been instilling the DevOps cultures from before the term was coined.

Follow Keith:

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Topics: DevOpstastic, #DevOpsFriday5, DevOps