What is DevOps?

Amy DeMartine
Principal Analyst
June 4, 2015

Everywhere I turn, I hear about how some product or service is geared towards DevOps.  It feels like the “cloud washing” we all just went through.  “Cloud washing” continues to cause problems as even today it remains difficult to understand how products and services really affect our ability to create and manage clouds and applications in the cloud.  This “DevOps washing” is causing the same problems and it becomes harder and harder to understand what DevOps really is and how it applies.  I spent a morning breakfast presentation just talking about the definition of DevOps with a group of technology management folks for over an hour! 

 

I’ve spent the past year being the Ops part of the Forrester DevOps story.  We have been hard at work and released a playbook called Modern Service Delivery (to match the Modern Application Delivery playbook coming from my Dev partner Kurt Bittner) and we are approaching the end of creating the foundation of the DevOps story from planning to optimization.  We define DevOps as:

 

“DevOps is a set of practices and cultural changes — supported by the right tools — that creates an automated software delivery pipeline, enabling organizations to win, serve, and retain customers.”

 

If you are serious about DevOps, you can cut through the noise of the “DevOps washing” and start with several practical tips to get you moving in the right direction:

·         “What Makes Modern Service Delivery Modern?” – This report shows the overall changes Ops teams need to undergo to embrace the new release cadence.

·         “Playing Musical Chairs For Staffing Modern Service Delivery” – I get asked quite frequently in inquiries how organizations need to change to accomplish DevOps.  We recommend what we call integrated product teams that include both developers and operations professionals focused on the success of a single product or service.  This report also details who in Ops make great integrated product team members.

·         “Haste Does Not Make Waste If You Improve Your Service Delivery” – You need to make your processes lean before considering automation.  We recommend the process of value stream mapping to clean up what I call “process debt” that builds up in all processes over time making them bulky and inefficient.  This report shows 3 customer examples and depicts before and after value stream maps.

·         “Gear Up For Modern Service Delivery” – I wish I could say that there is a single tool that can automate the entire life cycle.  Unfortunately, the life cycle is littered with different tool types that you need to automate the individual life cycle phases as well as automate between the phases  to make a single continuous delivery pipeline.  This report maps the types of tools you will need to automate the life cycle.

·         “Eliminate DevOps Myths With Situational-Awareness-Based Performance Management” – We consistently hear that Ops has fragmented and incomplete information about how products and services are performing. This report guides you on how to implement performance management for DevOps.

·         “Six Trends That Will Shape DevOps Adoption In 2015 And Beyond” – How are we doing as Ops professionals in executing against DevOps methodologies?  Overall, not great.  Use this report to judge how you are doing against your peers.

·         “Embrace Deming's PDCA Cycle To Continuously Optimize Modern Service Delivery” – Ops professionals need to become scientists performing improvement experiments across the delivery pipeline to improve the speed and quality of the delivery pipeline. This report shows you how.

 

The rest of the playbook is coming along and I will be sharing many more tips and techniques to get you and your organization moving towards that continuous delivery state that DevOps enthusiasts tout. 

 

In the end, maybe you aren’t convinced that speed really matters or that you aren’t affected by this DevOps craziness.  I’ll leave you with this data point.  From the “What Makes Modern Service Modern?” report, I showed that in 2014, “improve the experience of our customers” and “grow revenues” were top priorities for business leaders at 75%.  The 2015 data now shows that “improve the experience of our customers” leads at 76% over “grow revenues” at 73%.  How are you going to improve the experience of your customers if you can’t release and support products and services at the pace they demand?

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