What is DevOps?

By Shiela Lumsden on 27 Jul 2016

It may be hard to Define, but you’ll know it when you see it

If everything in your world is streamlined and flawless, then you probably don’t need devops – if on the other hand you encounter the occasional bottleneck, or feel you can’t get work done because you’re always fire-fighting, or find errors end in battles between your devs and your ops, then read on…

To begin with I apologise for what might seem a digression … good design is one of those things that’s hard to define, but we certainly recognise it when we see it. Just occasionally we encounter something almost perfect, designed for function as well as style. It might be just a kettle or a coffee maker, but when every aspect of its use has been considered and the perfect balance of form and function achieved, it does bring a warm feeling to the heart.

Our admiration might soar to even greater heights if we stopped to consider that same small electrical gadget had also been designed for manufacture, transportation, storage, and display so that from its neatly trimmed supply chain, through its elegant breeze round an assembly line to the irresistible charm of its box on the shelf, every detail was considered in advance.

What Is DevOps?

The transformation that occurred in manufacturing to deliver streamlined processes is very similar to the DevOps tsunami now driving through businesses. Japanese companies had adopted manufacturing processes first dreamed up by an American in the 1950s but rejected by US companies. Japan took the world by storm as a result and if the rest of the world was to catch up there was no avoiding implementing similar manufacturing transformation, which of course is how things turned out.

Lay aside the Neil Gaiman and get some serious reading in

There are few DevOps specialist bookshelves that won’t include The Phoenix Project, The Toyota Way and The Goal. It’s in these books that we can find a metaphor for the world of app development and operations brought to life in the more tangible world of the physical production line, and learn how the lessons learned historically in manufacturing can be applied to achieve the digital transformation essential in today’s competitive business environment.

DevOps has its evangelists and naysayers and between those poles many remain confused by just what it is and what all the fuss is about, with some saying, but it’s just automation, right? While others are hiring someone with DevOps in their title or creating teams, which is as likely to add to the problems DevOps sets out to solve.

Despite the name it’s about much more than just Dev and Ops

While the name “DevOps” implies it is a system confined to the business areas in the name, the reality is this is simply the hub where things comes together; DevOps actually branches back into every business area and outward to every touchpoint, with the objective of creating a fast and stable workflow between the business and its markets.

This is why there are so many references to culture change being the first priority of DevOps; anything with such a broad business impact is likely to be internally disruptive. DevOps requires communication and consideration for the impacts of each department’s work on the others throughout the chain, in much the same as the kettle mentioned at the start of this post. This not only requires collaboration, but also compromise. Fortunately DevOps provides a framework and a range of tools to facilitate its implementation which we will be covering in future blog posts.

Whatever your priorities – there will be a DevOps solution for you

Since every organisation will be in a different position in terms of its current practices, as well as what it appropriately needs to achieve as the overall outcome, there is no one size fits all solution to implementing DevOps. Consultancy is therefore the first step to analyse where you are, where you need to get to and the best route between the two.

What company doesn’t want to see faster releases, improved customer satisfaction and return on investment?

Do you want to improve throughput of development?

Do you want increased agility in deployment?

Do you want to see increased innovation?

Do you want to see better uptime for your platform?

If your answer is yes to any of the above then it’s time to start talking to us.