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Can I have my DevOps Fluffy with a side of Culture?

Wednesday afternoon, while at the DevOps East Conference, I attended a Continuous Integration (CI) session delivered by Chris Riley (@HoardingInfo). Chris was sharing his past experiences with CI and how to best roll it out to all types of organizations.

I particularly liked his suggestion of putting the QA team front and center, as I agree that there are few groups better suited to caring about the end-to-end cycle of delivery.

During the session, Chris offered his definitions of DevOps, both the practice, and the movement. It was during this discussion of the ‘fluffy’ side of DevOps (people, processes, and journeys) that I realized I was definitely a Fluffy DevOps kind of guy.

Fluffy DevOps

I agree with Chris that a lot of process changes need to start at a tactical level to prove the idea before fully rolling it out across an organization. However, I think we need people in our organizations that think about software delivery. People who evangelize ideas from the team and put together the story for the organization. People who can understand business drivers and determine which changes benefit the organization as a whole, not just changing things because it’s cool.

It may be fluffy, but combined with solid metrics and tactical implementation plans, we have a recipe for change.

Culture?

Chris also commented that DevOps is not a culture. I had previously held the opposite belief, but Chris was persuasive and has flipped me to the other side! DevOps itself is not a culture: what organizations need is a culture that supports being deliberate about continuous improvement, and has a goal of releasing better software more often and with higher quality. We need cultures that will support DevOps goals.

When I look at my own presentation I plan on delivering Thursday morning, I see a lot of overlaps. I may be looking at the Fluffy side of DevOps, and my own CI presentation at SUGCON may have spoken about the culture changes needed, but I can see the trends emerging:

  1. We need to measure.
  2. It’s hard to get budget.
  3. It’s even harder to get adoption.
  4. We can to do better.

I’m looking forward to hearing even more great stories tomorrow!

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