Full disclosure: I’m relatively new to the DevOps movement. I’ve been in a customer service, sales, or project management role for most of my career so far. So some of you might stop reading at this point because I don’t have 10 years of experience running a DevOps team (another thing I learned last week – no one does!). With that said, I think some of the core principles I learned at DevOpsDays Chicago can be applied to whatever role you’re in.

Grasping the new movement

At first, I thought DevOps was simply combining the Development and Operations teams for better communication…which is true to a certain degree. Then I thought it was the new wave for Agile and I sort of viewed it as Agile 2.0…which again has some truth to it.

I then learned the core mantra for the movement as being CAMS. To the other newbies, this stands for Culture (improvement), Automation (delivery), Measurement (learning), and Sharing (collaboration).

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Things started to come together for me. The combination of Devs and Ops can prevent the combative behavior of pointing the finger within an organization. Seems like it makes sense. This new found collaboration can open doors for an organization and improve culture. What else is there to learn about DevOps?

New Perspective

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Attending DevOpsDays Chicago last week was a bit of an eye opener for me. Not because I left with a degree in software development or systems engineering, although the event was geared to those teams with a few presentations that admittedly went over my head.

It was an eye opener for me because the majority of the topics that were covered, could be applied to any field you’re in. Which department isn’t facing the need to implement some form of CAMS? Everything in the business world is changing and changing fast. Results are expected quickly, not only from management but from employees and potential new talent.

One point was made very clear in one of the later morning presentations called Brainstorming Failure. In particular, the presenter’s point was the importance of feedback. There was a funny analogy of walking into a cockpit with a blank dashboard and the pilots telling you everything was going great. The next slide had an image of the cockpit with the dashboards you’d expect. The constant feedback point was only one of the speaker’s points but you could get that silver lining throughout the two days.

In other presentations, you’d hear a common phrase “empathy.” Again which department in an organization couldn’t use a shot of this? At the end of the day, empathy just means staying open to listening and learning from others.

This resonated with me and I’m not a system engineer. I don’t care what job you have, very few of us can report back to our manager with “everything is great.” Nor does it make sense to communicate to the rest of the team as if we have all of the answers. Details are required and creating a safe forum for sharing these details is critical.

Now what?

One conversation that stood out for me was on the second morning before breakfast. I was talking to someone and when I asked what she did, she said her title was DevOps manager. She then went on to say that she didn’t like it because no one knows what that means – internally and externally.

The reality is that will change. Just like no one knew what Agile was in the early 2000s and now it’s a common practice in the software development world.

Don’t believe me? Doing a simple google trends search on the word DevOps and it’s interesting to see the growth:

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One thing I know for sure is that you can’t buy DevOps. You can purchase tools that can help your DevOps teams but without the understanding and buy in from the different teams and management, good luck.