Agile and DevOps aren't two magical unicorns of software development

There’s a listicle over at the TechRepublic entitled Top 10 challenges to DevOps implementation (linked below). So what are the challenges? They list off the standard things such as culture and skillsets, planning and tool.

I’d be criticizing the daftness of the list if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve written or published more articles than I’d like to admit with similar themes. I think there was a three month period where I was instructed to gather up as many different insights into how to make DevOps work, and every article I wrote on the topic seemed to focus on culture, skills and planning, with culture always getting the majority of the focus. Here are just a few examples:

The problem is more fundamental than a DevOps transition

Here’s my issue with these types of articles. An organization’s lack of skills, planning and proper tooling isn’t causing DevOps adoption to fail. The lack of those things is what’s causing the organization to fail in general. When people talk about ‘culture’, what they’re talking about is a common mindset. If your IT department is made up of a bunch of people pushing in different directions, the problem isn’t with DevOps adoption, the problem is with the IT department as a whole.

It’s always been my opinion that switching to DevOps works for the same reason Agile works, and it has nothing to do with the methodology itself. The reason the move to DevOps or Agile works is because it gets departments that weren’t doing testing, weren’t doing quality control, weren’t hiring the right people and weren’t using the right tools starting to do all of those things properly. If those flailing organizations put all of these things into motion but kept the barriers between development and operations in place they’d likely see all the same benefits, and if they did all these things but stuck to a waterfall development approach, they’d see progress there too.

There has to be a method

I’m not one who goes around advocating a particular methodology because I don’t believe any of them work any better than the others. What I do know is that organizations who don’t have a methodology at all are bound to fail, so when organizations who don’t have a method adopt one, they encounter success.

The TechRepublic article is right. If your organization doesn’t address the ten challenges it mentions, your DevOps implementation is going to fail. But if your organization is struggling with those ten challenges it discusses, your organization is doomed to failure regardless of whether it’s implementing DevOps or not.

Top 10 challenges to DevOps implementation – TechRepublic

You can follow Cameron McKenzie on Twitter: @cameronmcnz

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