Wednesday, March 18, 2015

DevOps – The 3 question #DevOps Litmus Test [feedly]

DevOps – The 3 question #DevOps Litmus Test
// Dev Ops Guys

Are you REALLY doing #DevOps inside your organisation?

We've spoken about the 8 pre-requisites for DevOps before but today we'd like to propose a very quick "litmus test" to see if you're really aligning your organisation with key #DevOps principles and not just doing infrastructure and release automation with a DevOps whitewash.

These 3 questions have been formulated of the basis of visits to companies that say they are doing DevOps and/or conversations with people at conferences & meetups about their progress with DevOps transformation.

#1 – Have you spoken with HR yet?

DevOps is about people.

HR are the "people people". So how can you have do an organisational transformation (even if the scope is limited to just the IT department… which it shouldn't, but I digress…) without involving HR?

DevOps will involve new ways of working, possibly new organisational structures, new incentives, new on-call rotas etc – all of which will have a direct impact on employees terms and conditions

Regardless of whether you see HR as Change Makers or Handmaidens at some point you will need to talk to them… and I'd recommend doing it sooner rather than later!

#2 – Have you spoken with Finance yet?

In a word… Flow.

Jez Humble has presented about Flow, Gene Kim talks about Flow in the 1St Way of Devops and we've even blogged about flow and getting off airplanes.

So what's flow got to do with Finance?

Well, Finance people are, by and large, are addicted to ROI, and the easiest way to measure ROI is a project-centric view of the world. You propose a fixed unit of change with some notional return on investment, get allocated a cost code, Finance tracks that cost code, allocates you more money when you overspend because the project's running late, and then sweep it all under the carpet when the whole business case turns out to be a bunch of hot air. Or maybe that's me being cynical?

We happen to believe that the project-centric view of the world is also a great way to DESTROY value. I'd recommend checking out Allan Kelly's posts on #NoProjects and #BeyondProjects for some great though-provoking stuff on this topic!

In any case the project-centric view of the world is normally "lumpy" – activity is tied to the budgeting cycle, things tend to start in waves – and budget ends when the project ends and then the job of running it in Production is allocated to a different cost code (normally the BAU cost centre).

All of this impedes achieving flow, and having a product-centric view of the world. So in order to achieve a true DevOps model you need to talk to Finance about how budgets are allocated, and ideally try to move towards a product-centric budgeting model.

#3 – Who's your senior management sponsor?

Look, we're huge fans of grassroots DevOps initiatives where enthusiastic people are trying to bring #DevOps principles into their organisation from the bottom-up. We've even been known to hand out hardcopies of the Phoenix Project to key people within organisations to try and get them thinking about better ways of delivering IT :-) 

But let's be brutally honest – that's only going to get you so far, and to get any further you're going to need an allocation of resources (time & money) in order to really get things done.

And the best way to get money is to have a senior management sponsor push the initiative forward, remove obstacles and generally take credit help you achieve your DevOps transformation. So if you DON'T have a senior management sponsor then at best you're doing a #DevOps pilot project, you're not really "doing DevOps". Yet.

Anyway, those are 3 quick questions you can use as a DevOps litmus test – what questions would you ask?


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