DevOps in 1 2 3 4 5 6
- Lean agile
DevOps is a term that is often talked about. As the world changes, it is seen as an enabler to thrive in the future. But what does it mean? There is no official definition to DevOps and searches probably will result in many themes and principles around the subject. In this blog post we’ll go through different DevOps viewpoints from one to six and share our own perspective for the first steps of DevOps journey.
One term – DevOps
DevOps is formed from words development and operations that have traditionally been used to explain the polarisation of IT development; development wants to deploy new features to production and operations wishes to keep the production steady and well-functioning. This polarisation has created friction and bureaucracy that has slowed and created complications for finalising work and creating value for end customer. DevOps strives to remove these barriers and get everyone collaborating together. Currently DevOps mindset has expanded to include also business, information security and many other functions that are critical to create customer value. It is not any more purely the work of IT department as utilising DevOps way of working can benefit everyone.
One of the most known viewpoint to DevOps is CALMS. It divides DevOps into several themes (culture, automation, lean, measurement, sharing). This viewpoint highlights the value provided to customers, improving the flow of work through organisation, sharing information and collaboration with safe culture of continuous learning. This is supported by automating work and development as much as possible and having meaningful visualised metrics that support the daily work and continuous improvement. Scaled Agile Framework has modified the abbreviation to CALMR where sharing is part of culture and measurements, thus giving room to important technical aspect of quick recoveries from challenges and low-risk releases.
The Three Ways
The Three ways of DevOps is a summary of top-level goals that DevOps is aiming at. This viewpoint suggests the first starting point is to optimise the flow of work. This means getting the development ideas through the development into production and to the hands of customers as smoothly as possible. After this, it is time to speed up the learning and feedback loops inside the processes as well as from end users. Eventually striving to get an environment where experiments and risks are safe to take, and time is given to improve one’s own daily work. This viewpoint gives a good guidelines on where to start with DevOps way of working; understand and visualise the current work and big picture, and improve the flow of work. More information from this viewpoint can be found from books Phoenix Project and DevOps Handbook.
The Four Pillars
The four pillars of effective DevOps is the perspective given by the Effective DevOps -book. The first pillar focuses on interactions and collaboration between people. To succeed, it needs a sense of belonging, empathy and trust between individuals. These two create the base for next pillar – tools. If tools are the only thing incorporated and the culture of working together is not taken cared of, a lot of efficiency and speed is lost – the goal that’s usually the aim of DevOps changes. Finally the fourth pillar is about scaling the collaboration, affinity and tools into wider areas of organisation throughout the different phases of its life cycle.
The Five Ideals
The five ideals of DevOps processes the three ways further and is presented in the sister book of the Phoenix project called the Unicorn Project. This viewpoint explains that systems, processes and organisations need to be built in such a way that they are as simple and independent from each other as possible. After this can the focus switch into improving the flow of work in a safe working environment where problems can be openly discussed. Customer centricity in this viewpoint means that the largest investments should be given to those systems that create direct customer value. The rest, like HR systems for example, can be outsourced to other operators. Five ideals also raises up the critical aspects supporting success whose importance is not always remembered: joy, improving the daily work and psychological safety.
The six principles
DevOps Agile Skills Association’s (DASA) viewpoint to DevOps comes from organisations and their challenges, and the people working in them. It is about how DevOps looks through their eyes and in their day to day work. Their six principles start from producing value to customers and end with increasing productivity through automation. To succeed, you require customer centricity, common goal and responsibility of the whole. You’ll also need well-functioning agile teams, short feedback cycles and continuous improvement to achieve them. Automation is the last principle for a reason, because without the support of other principles, tools alone won’t give you their best results.
DevOps is much more than just the automation of testing, deployment and releases. If the focus is only on the tools, and organisations culture and people are forgotten, the highest benefits that DevOps enables can’t be achieved. Because the automation of development pipeline is only small part of DevOps, it is good to notice that the principles and viewpoints can be utilised easily in wide range of other functions.
But where to start? The most important thing to clarify first is why DevOps is pursued. An organisation that values costs and resource efficiency usually starts from different areas than an organisation that values fast value creation to its customers. No matter the starting point, the destination, overall picture of current state, pain points and bottle necks need to be understood. After these the journey towards the destination can be travelled one step at a time, through feedback loops and continuous learning.
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We are happy to help on your DevOps journey.
Tuuli Pesonen (writer worked at Loihde Advisory until December 2022)