The third and final of my “social IT” trends, is the need to rethink the IT delivery process by re-imagining the roles of development, QA and operations into something Patrick Debois, arguably the movement’s chief evangelist, coined DevOps.

The topic itself has already received a lot of coverage from both my blog and others, a trend that lead Patrick himself to recently tweet, “2011 was the year that vendors finally caught up with DevOps.” 

Whether you believe that to be true or not, I do believe that 2012 will be the year that IT leaders will realize the competitive advantage conferred on those organizations that are able to successfully adopt the core and peripheral tenets of DevOps, namely;

  • allowing the developers to specify and deploy infrastructure “as code” (through API calls and meta data) in much the same way they request other resources such as memory (using malloc calls in C for example)  
  • adoption of a continuous deployment model that encourages regular, incremental releases of code changes that are frequently integrated back into a working core/trunk  
  • test driven development and deployment supported by documented requirements, QA & regression suites
  • a system of measures and KPIs that fosters the sustainable adoption of DevOps principals 
  • the automation of all of the above

While we should all acknowledge we’ve probably taken more than a little poetic license with the term DevOps, I believe that in 2012 organizations will realize that the principals outlined above, will enable them to improve time-to-market (and hence competitiveness) as well as lower their development and operational costs through the reduction of work-in-progress, greater focus on technical debt and ultimately by tracking and improving the measures that matter.

The impact of this minor revolution in IT delivery will have far reaching implications for CTOs in terms of technology platforms, for HR leaders in terms of rewards systems and for IT/Business analysts in terms of planning and retiring business services – all of which you can expect to hear more about through the year.

Am I the only one, or do others feel the winds of change sweeping across IT?

Photo by gavinandrewstewart –