December 18, 2017
“When you have a #DevOps team, you are not doing DevOps,” tweeted engineer Theresa Neate. She tweeted the post to gauge the reaction of her peers in the field, but to also drive the point home that DevOps, when defined as such, inherently exists in silos. The underlying purpose of DevOps is to allows operations personnel and developers to collaborate.
Neate argues that by creating DevOps titles, the objective of DevOps ultimately gets lost. The team isolates themselves from the actual applications of the software they develop. She suggests that developers need to learn the business functions and objectives of operations in order to deliver solutions that add value. Meanwhile, operations staff should learn enough code to execute simple debugs and updates independently.
Culture as a Tool
DevOps teams tend to gravitate towards tools. Engineers love tools and Neate warns that immediate focus on tools creates distractions. In order to “achieve” DevOps, many believe they just need the right tools. Deployment of new tools often moves DevOps in a direction that loses sight of the reason for DevOps in the first place. Neate highlights the importance of breaking down internal culture in order to improve upon existing systems. Culture often drives productivity, collaboration and application success. Culture often drives the outcomes of DevOps more than the tools themselves.
Creating DevOps Culture
Neate says the problem with DevOps is we ask, “How do we DevOps?” versus “Why do we DevOps?”. DevOps isn’t a destination or goal, but rather a process or a lean way of working. Operating with a continuous improvement mindset creates the right environment for a DevOps culture.
A strong DevOps culture allows for synchronized IT, operations and app development. It also calls for open communication between business leaders, developers and cybersecurity teams. To encourage this type of communication and collaboration, DevOps can open new and pre-tested tools for end users to try and provide feedback on. Overall, DevOps needs to create trust and transparency within their organizations in order to deliver value.