Rorschach’s DevOps

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What’s DevOps?

Frankly, I don’t know. Neither does Wikipedia.

They go as far as admitting defeat: ‘Academics and practitioners have not developed a unique definition for the term “DevOps."’

They then go on to list a bunch of other approaches:

  • Agile
  • ArchOps
  • TestOps
  • Continuous delivery
  • DataOps
  • Site-reliability engineering
  • Systems administration

In the end, the term DevOps has become a kind of Rorschach ink-blot test. I give you the word, you tell me what it means to you. Because it can mean anything to anyone.

I don’t particularly want to fight about your own definition. However, in my mind there is one very strong condition: whatever you do, and whatever you call it, it must achieve one thing: create value for the customer, the user of your product.

And it seems to me that a lot of the isolated activities like continuous delivery may be one element of a strategy to achieve this goal, but it can’t possibly be all there’s to it.

In order to create value for the customer, we need to look at the entire value creation chain: and as it happens, the most crucial ingredient of this chain are… humans.

This is reflected in many other DevOps definitions you can amuse yourself with if you type “what is devops” into Google. The only entry on the first page which limited itself to technology was Atlassians’s, which looks oddly antiquated and myopic given the definitions surrounding it.

All the others expounded on a variation of people, processes, practices and (last), tools.

So whatever your definition ends up being: if it doesn’t take humans into account, you should probably think again.

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