What is DevOps?

DevOps is a set of practices that automates the processes between software development and IT teams, in order that they can build, test, and release software faster and more reliably. The concept of DevOps is founded on building a culture of collaboration between teams that historically functioned in relative siloes. The promised benefits include increased trust, faster software releases, ability to solve critical issues quickly, and better manage unplanned work.

At its essence, DevOps is a culture, a movement, a philosophy.

It’s a firm handshake between development and operations that emphasizes a shift in mindset, better collaboration, and tighter integration. It unites agile, continuous delivery, automation, and much more, to help development and operations teams be more efficient, innovate faster, and deliver higher value to businesses and customers.

History of DevOps

The DevOps movement started to coalesce some time between 2007 and 2008, when IT operations and software development communities got vocal about what they felt was a fatal level of dysfunction in the industry.

They railed against the traditional software development model, which called for those who write the code to be organizationally and functionally apart from those who deploy and support that code.

Developers and IT/Ops professionals had separate (and often competing) objectives, separate department leadership, separate key performance indicators by which they were judged, and often worked on separate floors or even separate buildings. The result was siloed teams concerned only with their own fiefdoms, long hours, botched releases, and unhappy customers.

Surely there’s a better way, they said. So the two communities got together and started talking – with people like Patrick Dubois, Gene Kim, and John Willis driving the conversation.

What began in online forums and local meet-ups is now a major theme in the software zeitgeist, which is probably what brought you here! You and your team are feeling the pain caused by siloed teams and broken lines of communication within your company.

You’re using agile methodologies for planning and development, but still struggling to get that code out the door without a bunch of drama. You’ve heard a few things about DevOps and the seemingly magical effect it can have on teams and think “I want some of that magic.”

The bad news is that DevOps isn’t magic, and transformations don’t happen overnight. The good news is that you don’t have to wait for upper management to roll out a large-scale initiative. By understanding the value of DevOps and making small, incremental changes, your team can embark on the DevOps journey right away. Let’s look at each of these benefits in detail.

What’s in it for you?

Collaboration and trust

Culture is the #1 success factor in DevOps. Building a culture of shared responsibility, transparency and faster feedback is the foundation of every high performing DevOps team.

Teams that work in siloes often don’t adhere to the ‘systems thinking’ of DevOps. ‘Systems thinking’ is being aware of how your actions not only affect your team, but all the other teams involved in the release process. Lack of visibility and shared goals means lack of dependency planning, misaligned priorities, finger pointing, and ‘not our problem’ mentality, resulting in slower velocity and substandard quality. DevOps is that change in mindset of looking at the development process holistically and breaking down the barrier between Dev and Ops.

Release faster and work smarter

Speed is everything. Teams that practice DevOps release more frequently, with higher quality and stability.

Lack of automated test and review cycles block the release to production and poor incident response time kills velocity and team confidence. Disparate tools and processes increase OPEX, lead to context switching, and slow down momentum. Through automation and standardized tools and processes, teams can increase productivity and release more frequently with fewer hiccups.

Accelerate time to resolution

The team with the fastest feedback loop is the team that thrives. Full transparency and seamless communication enable DevOps teams to minimize downtime and resolve issues faster than ever before.

If critical issues aren’t resolved quickly, customer satisfaction tanks. Key issues slip through the cracks in the absence of open communication, resulting in increased tension and frustration among teams. Open communication helps Dev and Ops teams swarm on issues, fix incidents, and unblock the release pipeline faster.

Better manage unplanned work

Unplanned work is a reality that every team faces–a reality that most often impacts team productivity. With established processes and clear prioritization, the Dev and Ops teams can better manage unplanned work while continuing to focus on planned work.

Transitioning and prioritizing unplanned work across different teams and systems is inefficient and distracts from work at hand. However, through raised visibility and proactive retrospection, teams can better anticipate and share unplanned work.


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