Business Issues, Technology, Applications

Agile, continuous delivery and devops - walls come tumbling down

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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?

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Sergio Serto 1 Point | Thu, 03/21/2013 - 09:27
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Warren Burns 11 Points | Mon, 01/23/2012 - 02:22

I normally argue with the views expressed on here but in this case I am going to give you a big high 5.  You are spot on and the realisation of the benefits of Devops (more politcal than technical mind you) are going to present a new wave of opportunities to vendors.

Interestingly I think that this change will start to challenge tradtional thinking on buying applications off the shelf.  Once people start to realise that Apps Dev is a commodity, they will start to rethink their approach to enterprise Applications.

Curtis Yanko 0 Points | Tue, 01/10/2012 - 21:52

I think the winds have been blowing for a couple of years in the larger corporations and starting to bear fruit this year. I'd argue that DevOps can no longer been seen as a competitive advantage however but what it takes to keep up now. It's also true that the tools have largely caught up though I'm sure there wll be more growth and the usual M&A phase amongst the vendors. There is also a real shortage of talent in this space which presents a huge problem for those trying to get started.

Cynthia Siemens 1 Point | Fri, 01/06/2012 - 22:02

This type of agile development model could serve enterprise WCM well, too. Some SaaS vendors offer their entire WCM applications as APIs, so it's primarily a matter of configuration rather than development to make it do everything it needs to do to keep WCM deployment and iteration an agile process. One of the big benefits of SaaS, of course, is that incremental code updates can be done on a regular basis without requiring a major upgrade process. 

Paul Muller 119 Points | Sat, 01/07/2012 - 19:48

Spot on, the danger is of course if you're not continuously TESTING as these continuous changes are taking place.

We've all heard the horror stories about how even large, well run sites like Google can be brought down due to a single punctuation error.

Pearl Zhu 90 Points | Fri, 01/06/2012 - 17:44

Hi, Paul, good blog about continuous discussion of Agile and Devop, the essential of these emerging methodology is more about the  frequent communicaton, iterative user/customer interaction, the breakdown development life cycle to adapt to the changes, from process management perspective, it encourages the holistic EA thinking to optimize IT process delivery; from talent management point of view, it also provides the talent opportunies to expand the expertise horizontally. thanks

Paul Muller 119 Points | Sun, 01/08/2012 - 23:02

Yup, Enterprise Architecture is the new black of Cloud and hybrid delivery!