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What can your organisation learn from the devops movement?

Tamlin Magee | Sept. 1, 2016
Paying attention to devops is a win-win for both the company and the workforce.

At its essence, the term 'devops' - short for development and operations - can be described as different departments working with one another to achieve a common goal.

That sounds like it should be common sense, but to successfully apply it requires a certain managerial nous and human understanding, underpinned by a desire to actually create a sense of real collaboration in the workplace. No small feat, then, for global organisations with departments that might be more used to building walls to protect their own interests rather than knocking walls down.

"A lot of the things devops embraces - lean, agile and all these things - came out of manufacturing," says Mandi Walls, consulting director EMEA at software automation business Chef. "A lot of it came out of Toyota in the 1980s, talking about empowering individuals in the workforce so when something's wrong they can say that it's wrong without retribution. Everybody's work is valuable, and these more human practices came out of a place you wouldn't expect it."

And according to Carl Caum, senior technical marketing manager at Puppet, there are numbers to prove that paying attention to devops is a win-win for the company and the workforce.

"The biggest takeaway IT organisations can learn is devops is not just some hypothetical set of practices that were dreamt up by a consultant," Caum says. "What we know of the devops movement was learned from actual people on actual teams."

"Not only do high-performing devops teams deploy 200 times more frequently with 24 times faster recovery time, but they do so with a great sense of engagement and alignment with the company's goals," he explains. "If you decide to opt out on devops practices, you're also making a decision that can have a detrimental effect on your business."

But how could this actually look in practice?

Director of strategy at software company Delphix, Jes Breslaw, points towards the handling of large sets of data.

"To be successful, organisations need to adopt new technologies that facilitate a devops mentality," says Breslaw. "For example, by combining data masking with data virtualisation then virtual copies of protected data can be distributed htourhgout the company without jeopardising security. Through this approach, risk is better placed to work more effectively with each unit and with IT to support company objectives."

"In the long-term, applying key learnings from devops programmes, such as more effective collaboration on common goals, will help promote unity, and that will result in a more agile and productive workplace."

Of course, that's no easy managerial feat, especially across large organisations. But the good news is the tangible benefits even at large global institutions like banks are starting to be felt, so in theory it might not be too long before the cultural aspects leak into organisations outside of development and operations.


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