SD Times caught up with some experts in the DevOps field to offer advice on how to be successful with DevOps and to debunk some of the myths people perceive about the process.
Stephen Franklin, CTO of LeanKit: The biggest misconception about DevOps is that it is IT operations with a smile, Franklin said.
“Many implementations try to break the traditional shared services model for IT operations by assigning a dedicated IT operations contact to a development team and instructing them not to grumble when the developers call. This misses the pivotal DevOps benefits of aligning goals, ownership, responsibility and measurement,” he said.
In order to be successful in DevOps, Franklin said organizations need to be adaptive, open-minded and have a drive for results-based improvements. But there also needs to be a sense of teamwork in order for it to all come together.
“A successful DevOps organization recognizes that development and operations will have different goals, but efficiency comes when the two camps work toward a shared goal by using a shared process,” he said.
Stephen Wilson, technical evangelist for Compuware: Wilson believed that thinking DevOps is all about automation is the No. 1 misconception.
“People tend to think, ‘If I automate stuff, then I’m done,’ ” he said. “The problem is that if you automate and don’t have a platform to understand the performance or manage the change near an environment, what you end up having is you are not building a pipeline of success and a delivery pipeline for features; you are delivering a sewer to move defects as fast as humanly possible from the developer’s desktop into your production systems.”
The key to being successful in DevOps is having a scientific curiosity, understanding how people work together, and pairing strengths with weaknesses, according to Wilson.
“You aren’t necessarily going to build a team, but you are going to build a general skill set,” he said. “You need people who want to take pride and quality in their work, and you need to find leadership that is good at fostering an environment where people can be honest with each other without blame.”
“It isn’t the technical expertise that you need in DevOps, but it is the team building and understanding that is going to springboard and push a DevOps culture forward in an IT organization.”#!Andrew Phillips, VP of product management for XebiaLabs: Phillips sees three common DevOps misconceptions. The first is that DevOps is a goal and not a means.
“DevOps is a fantastic initiative and set of ideas, but it is not a goal in itself,” he said. “It is done in order to deliver value to your organization, but just because you are going to be DevOps doesn’t mean you automatically are going to make your customers happier. Until you know what you are doing, DevOps is hard to measure if you are successful or not.”
The second common misconception Phillips sees is that DevOps means installing a flavor-of-the month tool.
“Yes, tooling can help you address some common problems, but tooling is not the answer to DevOps,” he said. “There is no silver bullet to DevOps.”
Lastly, there is the misconception is that an organization can do DevOps by having a DevOps specialist team.
“DevOps is something we do across the organization as a team,” said Phillips. “You can bring a specialist in to help you along with the process, but there doesn’t need to be a separate team that tells teams what to do and what tools to use. DevOps is something we have to do ourselves. Everyone has to define for themselves what they are going to get out of DevOps.”
Matt Watson, founder and CEO for Stackify: Watson stressed the importance of getting development teams and operations to work together.
“Naturally, operations and developers hate each other because developers make changes and rapidly push them out, the changes cause problems in software, and then operations is sort of on the hook to deal with those problems,” he said.
The most important thing is avoiding finger-pointing and being knowledgeable. According to Watson, developers need to be more knowledgeable about some operations-related things, and operations need to be more educated on developer-related things. In order to get the two working together, he suggested having a common management that oversees both of them.
“Getting everyone on the same team, trying to break down barriers and finding the different type of tools that can help with the visibility they need to deploy faster and measure success is key,” said Watson.