Four Steps to Determine if You Are Doing DevOps

Operations and development teams might as well be from different planets. Ops teams like constant performance and are paid to minimize change. Dev teams strive to change things. Who wins? Well, it depends on your point of view. As web technologies increasingly demand change, faster and faster, we’re constantly confronted with this cultural difference. DevOps is a natural reaction to dealing with that.

Recently, I listened to a presentation by Gartner Analyst, Cameron Haight. Cameron, who covers application development and operations, summed up four principles you should follow when looking for collaboration opportunities inside your IT departments.

Where to start?

    1. Use a Pace Layered Approach

When looking for applications that can fit with the highly iterative approach, first categorize your applications in three classes:

  • Systems of Innovation – Systems that customers use (web 2.0) and that frequently change.
  • Systems of Record – Where data and records are kept. These systems change infrequently (annually).
  • Systems of Differentiation – Systems that use data from “Systems of Record” and will enable collaboration amongst partners. Systems of Differentiation change more frequently than Systems of Record and less frequently than Systems of Innovation.

After you classify your application portfolio, DevOps is best-suited for the applications having higher rates of change and iterations. This is the inverse of any ITIL governance you have in place


    2. Calculate Your Technical Debt

Technical Debt is the cumulative value of all that you have put off until later. Any postponed maintenance or shortcuts you took to get the application out the door add to your technical debt. Gartner estimates the overall technical debt is quickly approaching $1 trillion. Look to reduce your own debt in your systems and processes before avoidable crashes bring you down.

    3. Hire or Assign the Right People

Get your team set up to achieve the highest success. Make sure your resources are assigned correctly and everyone buys into the strategy, plan and measures. Gartner analyst Mark McDonald explains more here what type of roles and expectations are sought for leaders, managers and administrators.

    4. Implement a Training Program

A training curriculum and encouragement must be established for each of the roles you have in your development and operations teams. There are many sound management reasons for this – career development, morale, etc. – but it is also important that you minimize the “S” Curve associated with agile teams. Predictable and even throughputs are in the long run more desirable than quick wins. When shortcuts and cramming are used to get functionality out the door, it only adds to your firm’s technical debt.


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Tags: Gartner, devops


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