Blog Posts tagged with: devops

Mar 16 2014



Dave Thomas urges us to kill the word "agile". Many of the original leaders in agile software development have now disavowed the term. Why? In short, it's been devalued. Literally, stripped of its values. Today, the word is used as a capitalize noun, as in the hideous phrasing, "Do Agile," rather than as the lowercase adjective it was meant to be.

The word "Agile" always seemed like a branding initiative, bundling together the various things we had been calling "lightweight methods" and giving them a business-friendly label. It succeeded. No manager in their right mind goes on record saying, "Agile? We'll have none of that, thank you very much."

Dave suggests that we need an adverb rather than an adjective. It should describe how we develop software, rather than describing ourselves.

I think we face the same problem, and the same debate, with the label "DevOps."

Here's my proposal. We do need a label for a style of organization. Not for a team, nor for the individuals within that organization. If nothing else, we need that label as a shorthand to describe the style of interaction we expect. It helps us understand what culture to expect.

However, I think we also need a label that isn't so attractive to tool vendors and Big Process consultancies.

I propose we adopt the adverb "Etsily". It refers to Etsy of course, since they are the avatars of DevOps anyway. It sounds a little bit silly, so it should safely repel the blue-shirt consultants and enterprise tool vendors. Finally, it's an adverb so it can be used in sentences like, "We build things etsily."

Feb 17 2014


Culture is Defined by What You Cannot Say

I've been revising my DevOps at Five talk for GOTO Chicago. In it, I talk about the CAMS model for DevOps. The 'C' in CAMS stands for Culture, and it's always a hard one to define. Yes, we do say that DevOps is about culture not tools. But what kind of culture? I can say everything is a culture. Agile development is a culture. But so is waterfall development, or cowboy coding.

Every time we try to define the culture, we end up using words like communication, collaboration, and feedback. The problem is that those words don't differentiate DevOps from ITIL, TQM, or any other operational process since Deming.

Your culture is really defined by the things that would be unthinkable to say.

In that light, I'd like to offer some statements that you will never hear in a DevOps culture.

  • That's not my job.
  • (From a developer) Well, the tests all pass, so the problem must be in Operations.
  • (From operations) I did everything right, it must be a code problem.
  • Oh, production is down? I didn't know.
  • I built the production environment by hand. There's no reason to automate it because we're only doing it once.
  • How close is QA to production? I don't know.
  • You need a new environment? Put in a service request and we'll see.
  • Your service request was approved. You should have a new machine in a few weeks.
  • Why do you need another terabyte of storage? You're already using a terabyte!
  • Our DBAs won't let you install that server. We're a SQL Server shop.
  • I don't know what our slowest query is.
  • I don't know how many cores our production environment has.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

How many statements like these do you hear around your company?

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