Discover the Tell Tale Signs of Fake DevOps. Learn the three steps a leader should take to prevent Fake DevOps and the five principles of DevOps.
Today’s guest post is by Nikolay Gekht, CTO of Gehtsoft USA.
Let’s say you want to know whether your DevOps works well. The answer is simple: measure outcomes!
What’s the best way for a Leader to spot signs of Fake DevOps?
The DevOps community builds a whole philosophy around delivering proper things fast. If there is no delivery, we miss the entire purpose of DevOps. So, consistent failure to deliver or a slow pace is a good sign of problems. However, it is not enough to call it fake. Problems happen. The diagnosis requires another check. You inspect how the DevOps team handles slow and wrong delivery. If they proactively reveal, analyze, improve and share problems, it is just a change that requires time. Suppose they don’t… Most probably, you have to deal with fake DevOps.
These are not random checks. Both leverage DevOps principles. By measuring the outcomes, we validate the purpose and inspect whether the first way of DevOps work. I mean “simplify and improve the value production flow.” By checking the problem handling, we ensure the second and third ways. The second way is “create and shorten feedback loops.” The third way is a “culture of continuous experimentation, learning, and sharing the information.” Inquiring about the problem-handling also evaluates a safe experimentation environment. This environment is essential to building the proper DevOps culture.
What causes Fake DevOps to occur?
As any fake, fake DevOps occurs when actions trump meaning. A bogus doctor can simulate a procedure. But a phony MD doesn’t understand why it is required and what is the desired outcome. Likewise, fake DevOps perform actions (typically focusing on automation of the process only). The fake process doesn’t care about business outcomes and the core values of DevOps. Lack of outcome-based metrics or lack of feedback loops based on these metrics facilitates the faking process.
But I know this is not the answer to “what causes it.” The right cause should answer the question “why?” Why do they fake it?
The simple answer is “because it is easier.” Repeating the actions and doing them by recipe is less complicated than understanding. It also relieves accountability for making the right decision. “Everybody does it, and so shall we!”, “Experts said so!”, etc…
But even this is not the ultimate answer. We need to dig deeper. Why are people disconnected from business outcomes? Why are they not interested in learning principles? Would they benefit from implementing DevOps or not? Why so? People always choose the most efficient strategy. If faking DevOps is efficient, the answer to the question “why” is the key to the problem.
What steps should a leader take to prevent Fake DevOps?
Every employee may have no desire to understand and embrace the whole DevOps philosophy. And that’s ok. But the people who lead DevOps shall. Plain and simple. At the strategic level, DevOps implementation needs to be built around three ways and five principles of DevOps. They work altogether, and we can omit absolutely nothing.
Three ways are:
- Create, simplify and straighten the flow of value production
- Create and shorten feedback loops
- Create a culture of continuous improvement, learning, and knowledge sharing.
The five principles are:
- DevOps Culture
- Automation of routine actions
- Lean management
Any tool, process, or method works in support of the ways and principles of DevOps. Any action is as successful as it contributes to the outcome and improves DevOps implementation.
By implementing this approach, a leader of an organization would facilitate the building of an efficient and state-of-art DevOps process.
What can a CIO do to fix a project afflicted with Fake DevOps?
Let me rephrase Lev Tolstoy’s quote. “All successful processes are alike, but every broken process is broken in its own way.” This truth makes fixing the broken process incomparably more challenging than building right from scratch. Unfortunately, there is no ultimate recipe for how to fix what’s broken. Fixing the problem will be a difficult quest full of unexpected events and hidden dangers.
However, there are a few tools a pensive CIO can leverage to support the recovery process:
- Understand the theory and principles behind the actions.
- Don’t look for a silver bullet; follow kaizen (the art of small changes), not kaikaku (the radical change). Use Toyota Improvement Kata: set the direction, make a hypothesis, experiment, learn and adjust. Live the approach “a small change right today is better than a significant change by the end of the week.”
- Recognize the social part of the problem. Fixing the broken process always involves handling assumptions, habits, beliefs, and relationships. And sometimes, it is a more significant part of the problem than merely the process aberrations.
Please, don’t limit yourself to a couple of articles about buzzwords or one expert opinion. People have an enormous degree of misconception about trends. DevOps, Agile, psychological safety… all of them are full of myths and distortions. The best way to avoid regretful mistakes is to understand the theory and philosophy of this method. The most crucial “why” questions to understand: Why do I need DevOps? Why does it work? Why is it the right tool for me? Why is it essential to my company? Why should people be motivated to adopt it?
When we speak of DevOps, I highly recommend starting with the “DevOps Handbook” by Gene Kim et al. Reading and understanding this book would help to avoid many misconceptions and mistakes.
As a managing partner and CTO, Nikolay Gekht directs the Gehtsoft USA team in requirements analysis, architecture design, and product development. His technical expertise, leadership and client advocate voice ensure that every project is value optimized and delivers the results clients expect from Gehtsoft.
Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!