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Implementing DevOps in the Enterprise


Author: Bert van Rij, IT Strategist, HP Helion


DevOps management

DevOps is a software development method that emphasizes communication, collaboration (information sharing and web service usage), integration, automation, and measurement of cooperation between software developers and other IT professionals. The method acknowledges the interdependence of software development, quality assurance, and IT operations, and aims to help an organization rapidly produce software products and services and to improve operations performance


What is the nature of DevOps?

Popular said, DevOps is nothing more than a smart way to bring people together with the purpose to create software in a faster and more flexible manner. Although many products providers try to make you believe that the implementation of software and/or will turn you into a DevOps operation, the focus must be on setting up a multi-functional team and take the advantage of having simultaneous access to a wide range of skills. It allows you to not only think about the initial translation of business requirements to software functionality but also consider the aspects of making and keeping that functionality available and adapted to ever changing business needs.


How do I manage for result?

Traditional IT management focuses on competent, predictable execution against budget. The natural organizational structure is based on competence silos combined with a hierarchical management style.


Utilizing a DevOps method, this traditional management style as described above is unfit. It eliminates most of the advantages that DevOps brings. Adaptivity is almost by definition unpredictable and a competence silo structure minimizes the ability to combine fields of expertise.


Multifunctional teams, group wise production and High performance work systems are team concepts invented in the eighties and nineties in manufacturing. DevOps is just the translation into the IT industry is this team concepts. These structures all demand a coaching /facilitating management style to ensure optimal results. This implies that the daily work is organized by the team and the leader only ensures the goals are clear, the work gets organized and progress is tracked. The leader focuses on coaching the group and the individuals to create an optimal contribution to the goals of the team. This does not mean that the team is free on deciding on anything they like to do or not to do! Freedom does not exist without boundaries.


With DevOps, an hierarchical, directive management style is replaced by four different management control concepts:

  1. Policies. There is the need for policies in terms of an Enterprise architecture, compliance and security rules. They must be reinforced with force of law and audits.
  2. KPI’s. Without measurable results and being accountable for the results, a multi-functional team has the tendency to become a team of “boys-with-toys”. More and more freedom is demanded, more and more automation is requested, nothing is good enough. It is key that also the spending of the budget is part of the accountabilities of the members of the DevOps team.
  3. Audits. In order to enable policies to be managed with a force of law, regular internal audits against these policies must be done. Self-score tests and a constant team awareness of the need to stay “between the lines” is key for the success of an devOps team.
  4. Risk reviews. In particular the investment management is something that should not be managed within a DevOps Team. Investments must be made in the context of a long(er) time strategic direction of the organization.

In summary. Implementing DevOps is not only the institutionalization of a different software creation method but also requires a change in management style and attitude of team members. Not addressing these required changes will results in nonfunctional DevOps teams.



Senior Manager, Cloud Online Marketing
About the Author


I manage the HPE Helion social media and website teams promoting the enterprise cloud solutions at HPE for hybrid, public, and private clouds. I was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, I founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow me at @SpectorID

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