Last week I spent an inspiring 3 days at the DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES15) in San Francisco. I had the pleasure of speaking but most importantly learning from everyone I heard present and chatted with. The most interesting thing about events like this is that they can change your perspective on things you felt you knew well. For example fundamentals such as “What is DevOps these days?”.
We all like to create taxonomies to make sense of things and I found myself grouping the practitioners I spoke to into 3 categories.
- People working for the DevOps poster-childs (Netflix, Google etc.) An inspiration to us all through what they achieve both with IT and through their willingness to be open and share.
- People working for large enterprises who are on tremendous journeys of DevOps transformation, have fantastic stories to tell, and are still living day-to-day around many things they would like to change dramatically.
- People who haven’t yet built up momentum around DevOps and seemed almost overwhelmed by the stories and performance of people in categories 1 and 2.
Naturally it was category 3 that I felt most drawn to understanding and talking to them inspired me to write this post.
Home truth #1: Improving IT is not at all new to DevOps(!)
Whether you have just heard the name, or have been doing it for several years, if you are ambitious and passionate about what you do, you are without a doubt already committed to improving the IT function (and hence directly the businesses) in which you operate.
Home truth #2: writing off DevOps as just fashionable name for improving IT is a mistake.
I believe the “doing DevOps” is something every organisation must consciously start doing – today (if they haven’t already). It doesn’t take everyone (at first), or even everyone in particular business unit, department or team. It just takes at least two people to grit their teeth and agree that they are going to consciously make a collaborative effort to improving IT with a new level of energy, ambition, and a “new” name…
So here is what will be different once you start “doing DevOps”.
- Just the act of starting something new and exciting will hopefully immediately inspire new levels of energy, motivation, ambition, and sense of purpose (perhaps even create flow).
- You now have a useful name for your efforts to improve IT and one you can research to tap into the wealth of blogs, podcasts, meetups, conferences, Open Source, tools, and lessons learnt out there.
- You can now relate the things you are doing (and trying to do) to the practices demonstrated by DevOps poster children.
- You are now part of the huge support network in the form of the DevOps community which has growing dramatically built on a solid foundation of inclusivity and sharing.
- Your new community is filled with individuals and companies fully motivated by the opportunity to share their experiences for the greater good of our industry and the greater good for society and humanity.
- You have a better chance than ever of getting internal investment in your cause (DevOps being in vogue has advantages).
- By stating (especially in public) your ambition and commitment to build a lean, automated, responsive, reliable level IT organisation, you are now more likely to be able to grow an inspired workforce and more likely to attract talent from outside.
So my advice (especially to people who identify with Category 3) is as follows:
- Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t doing DevOps (it’s a journey).
- If you are doing DevOps on any scale in your company don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t key to the future success of the organisation (YOU ARE!)
- Don’t feel disheartened by where you think your organisation is today relative to some kind of DevOps utopia / companies you read about / your perceived view of your peers. It’s the rate in which you can learn to continuously improve IT within your organisation that will secure your organisation’s future and not precisely where you all are today.
- Don’t down play your ambitions, your hard learnt lessons, or your achievements to date – celebrate and share them!
- Watch the videos of DOES15, YOU WILL BE INSPIRED.