DevOps D.I.whY.

The article was written by our guest blogger Nikolay Nikolov. He has 15 years of experience in the software industry. His areas of expertise are DevOps, Project Management и People Management and currently he manages 35 people and 4 products in multiple markets.

Ever since Patrick Debois, then a consultant for the Belgian government, coined the term DevOps in 2009, there has been lots of movement and hassle around this trend. As Fredrick Paul tells us in his incredible true story of how DevOps got its name. It has gathered around some of the brightest minds and forward thinkers among sysadmins, devs, managers and toolsmiths from the very beginning. It wasn’t until quite recently, however, that companies other than large cloud vendors began recognizing its value and started adopting its practices (with varying degree of success). One can say DevOps is still quite an infant with all the thinking and tooling just about getting the critical maturity needed to convince conservative big enterprises that using it, is a “good thing”, but according to research, made by Gartner Inc., by 2016 a whopping 25% of the Global 2000 companies will be adopting DevOps in one way or another, and tools supporting that methodology will grow by 21% reaching as much as 2.3 billion market by the end 2015. DevOpsCube offers compelling evidence that DevOps is leaving the niche market and becoming a mainstream movement.

So, with that much commotion going on around that word, it is inevitable to ask yourself: Do I need DevOps in my life (or not)? Regardless of whether you are manager in a big corporation, a small hi-tech entrepreneur, a regular developer or the grumpy sysadmin in a messy basement – there is a good chance you are missing the opportunity to change your workplace for the better (…or not!) as it is passing by. And be sure, if it’s not you, someone else will surely ride the wave and get ahead of you…or not!

Ok, enough for the blindful preaching. My experience with Agile over the past decade was mostly painful and full of failure and misunderstanding. I’ve seen businesses going agile and failing hard and big, people blaming agile for all evils roaming this world or uncovering serious flaws in it, managers increasing their teams’ attrition rates by magnitudes after “implementing” Scrum. And, believe it or not, there is one very simple reason for these mishaps: Agile is nothing but a concept, a set of values and practices.

Yet those values were and are being grossly milked by middle management and that abuse is perpetrated by the ignorance of seniors and customers. Consequently, people who suffer from this abuse – devs, ops, QA, a.k.a. people who do the job, anathemas Agile as being “management bs” or “the root of all evil” or “a meaningless hype”. I’m tempted to go wide and deep into how Agile is being abused, but that constitutes a writing on its own (check for news on that). The point I’m making here is, DevOps is, in its core, a very similar thing: a set of values and practices. And if you want to “implement” DevOps, you better think hard and learn harder. For DevOps (and Agile, for that sake) is like the AC electricity – if you study it and understand it, after a couple of shocks and reworks, you will likely harness its potential into marvelous contraptions. However, if you meddle with it out of the ignorant belief that it will magically enhance your outcomes, you’ll probably end up getting severely burnt – physically, mentally and financially.

Just as any other practitioner out there, I don’t want to see the defiling of yet another good thing in the IT industries, an idea that once again tries to focus on productivity and quality to be misunderstood and driven to mediocrity and controversy by semi-brave decision makers who promise all the benefits of it without ever acknowledging the cost to get there.

This humble series of writings is my own effort to educate into proper implementation of what some call “Agile Operations”. I’ll try to converge my knowledge and experience into a bunch of good practices and advice. It is also an attempt to reference some of the more influential thinking and practice in that direction with the sole purpose to try and give a comprehensive but simplified view to people who don’t want to get burnt or are otherwise interested in quickly learning what DevOps is and how it evolves.

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