DevOps Roundtable Part 3: Tips for making DevOps a reality

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DevOps Roundtable Part 3

Part five of a five-part DevOps series.
Part 1: What's creating demand for DevOps?
Part 2: The role of the cloud
Part 3: Tips for making DevOps a reality
Part 4: Surprises born out of DevOps
Part 5: Measuring success in a DevOps culture

Pete Buonora, Enterprise Architect, BJ’s Wholesale Club
Lee Congdon, CIO, Red Hat
Tom Soderstrom, Chief Technology Officer, Office of the CIO, Jet Propulsion Labs
Merv Tarde, VP of IT, CIO, Interstate Batteries
Rajesh Wunnava, Global IT Leader and Digital Business Strategist, Warner Music Group

INTRODUCTION: The Enterprisers Project assembled a group of seasoned IT leaders in an interactive exchange to discuss how they're using DevOps in their organizations. Here are highlights from the conversation.

Tips on Making DevOps Real

TEP: What challenges might a CIO or an IT executive face in trying to bring a DevOps culture to life, and what tips would you give them?

Lee Congdon: I will make the general observation that you've got a customer-based group of developers that are motivated to change things very rapidly because they're trying to be responsive. Then you've got a group of folks on the infrastructure side that traditionally are trying to keep changes from happening because they are motivated towards stability and actually having production systems work.

As an IT leader you've got to think about how you're going to integrate those two cultures and make it advantageous for both groups culturally to be incented to do a series of rapid changes of the size and of the scope that won't impact your production systems. This is very different than the traditional model of a build, a big test cycle, a release, and a rollback if necessary. This is about a lot of incremental changes that you need to consider: changes in incentives, changes in the culture, and changes in architecture. But you can also get started with a smaller group and you also need to start moving down this path because your business units need this sort of capability regardless of the enterprise you're in.

Rajesh Wunnava: One of the things we’re experimenting with is to bring what we call AppDev, especially tactical AppDev, plus Infrastructure Ops into the same organization. It serves some degree of cultural collaboration because if you're on the app side, you will find it from the infrastructure team that a server is down; and that's all. I mean, an engineer is going to come, but already, you know, the server is remote, or on site, it's going to take three hours, this is in our SLA. Very seldom do they say: Well this is down so this is costing our business 'X' amount of dollars per hour.  And so if you get them onto the same team and enable that they are working more closely together they’ll see that they are responsible for customer services as opposed to application services or infrastructure services.

In part four of our roundtable, Tom Soderstrom, Lee Congdon, and Pete Buonora discuss the surprises they encountered from DevOps.

Do you have any tips for fellow IT executives trying to bring DevOps to their organizations? Share them in the comments section.

Photo by Flickr user FredericRivollier.

Community of business-minded IT leaders exploring the evolving role of CIOs as they drive business strategy and inspire enterprise-wide innovation.