5 Invaluable Insights from Top DevOps Thinkers

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DevOps, once an unheard-of concept just a few years ago, is proving itself to be more of a mainstay than a passing fad in IT organizations across the world. More and more teams are adopting the methodology, while industry heavy-weights are turning their attention toward it as well–and for good reason — it makes sense. In fact, in Gartner’s 2015 DevOps survey, they found that 60% of organizations are either currently, or are planning to use a DevOps approach to IT, meaning that organizations not using the framework are now in the minority.

We’ve already written about the many ways adopting a DevOps strategy for organizing an IT department can transform an organization in our Elements of DevOps series. Taking a breath and stepping back from the day-to-day churn, politics, and archaic processes of most internal enterprise technology departments, it’s possible to see how breaking down unnecessary barriers between the development and operations teams, and adopting new technologies can improve the speed and quality of applications released, reduce costs, and potentially increase data control.

There are many trailblazers in the world of IT who have led the way in creating a DevOps framework for their teams. The path to success is rarely smooth though, and having faced many challenges along the way, these leaders have gleaned insights into what it takes to successfully move towards a DevOps model for their organization. Here, we’ll share some of our favorite comments from a few DevOps visionaries:

On the Meaning of DevOps

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“The essence of Devops, I believe, is to design a system in which people are held responsible for the consequences of their actions – and indeed, one in which the right thing to do is also the easiest thing to do.” — Jez Humble

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dave_farley“At its most simple level I don’t like the name ‘DevOps.’ It implies that fixing that one problem, the traditional barrier between Dev and Ops, is enough to achieve software nirvana. Fixing the relationship between Dev and Ops is not a silver bullet, and the originators know, and say, that…More than barriers between teams, the approach to requirements capture and specification, testing, design, development, configuration management, deployment, etc. all have implications on our ability to release valuable features as quickly as possible into the hands of our users.”  — Dave Farley

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On the Challenges of DevOps

gary_gruver“The DevOps approach of integrating working code across the organization in an operation-like environment is one of the biggest challenges for large, traditional organizations, but it provides the most significant improvements in aligning the work across teams….This is a big challenge for most organizations, so the executives need to make sure to start with achievable goals and then improve stability over time as the organization’s capabilities improve. Teams can’t and won’t drive this level of change, so the executives need to understand these concepts in enough detail to lead the transformation and ensure their teams are on the right track.” — Gary Gruver

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On Who Should Participate in the Implementation of DevOps

karthik“In the end, [DevOps] is not exclusionary….The original agile development guys were mostly thinking about “biz + dev” collaboration, and DevOps is pointing out issues and solutions around “dev + ops” collaboration, but the mature result of all this is “everyone collaborating”. In that sense, DevOps is just a major step for one discipline to join in on the overall culture of agile collaboration that should involve all disciplines in an organization. So whoever is participating in the delivery of the software or service is part of DevOps.” — Karthik Gaekwad

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On Breaking Down Silos

damon_edwards“There’s really only two ways to break down silos. One is to be the boss–there’s one person in the organization, maybe two. They can try and smash the silo, but that lack of alignment in an organization will often just build it back up or in a different way. The other way, the only effective instrument that we know that can successfully break down these silos is to change the organizational alignment, to build a DevOps vision inside the organization. When you do that, these silos will start to crumble on their own. It’s not glamorous work, but it’s highly gratifying because you’re able to help other people, the organization, and make everyone’s life a little bit better.” — Damon Edwards

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