General Strategies

There are several “general” strategies that support Disciplined DevOps:

  • Collaborative work. A fundamental philosophy of DevOps is that developers, operations staff, and support people must work closely together on a regular basis. An implication is that they must see one other as important stakeholders and actively seek to work together. A common practice within the agile community is “onsite customer,” adopted from Extreme Programming (XP), which motivates agile developers to work closely with the business. Disciplined agilists take this one step further with the practice of active stakeholder participation, which says that developers should work closely with all of their stakeholders, including operations and support staff—not just business stakeholders. This is a two-way street: Operations and support staff must also be willing to work closely with developers.
  • Automated dashboards. The practice of using automated dashboards is called IT intelligence, effectively the application of business intelligence (BI) strategies for IT. There are two aspects to this, development intelligence and operational intelligence. Development intelligence requires the use of development tools that are instrumented to generate metrics; for example, your configuration management (CM) tools already record who checked in what and when they did it. Continuous integration tools could similarly record when a build occurred, how many tests ran, how long the tests ran, whether the build was successful, how many tests we successful, and so on. This sort of raw data can then be analyzed and displayed in automated dashboards. Operational intelligence is an aspect of application monitoring discussed previously. With automated dashboards, an organization’s overall metrics overhead can be dramatically reduced (although not completely eliminated because not everything can be automated). Automated dashboards provide real-time insight to an organization’s governance teams.
  • Integrated configuration management. Developers and operations people often have different views about configuration management (CM) ‐ developers see configuration management as a collection of strategies to manage the assets that they create when building or configuring a solution whereas operations people see CM as a collection of strategies for managing the assets which make up the IT production infrastructure of your organization. With an integrated approach to CM we combine both views. This can be a major change for some developers because they’re often used to thinking about CM only in terms of the solution they are currently working on. In a DevOps environment, developers need to be enterprise aware and look at the bigger picture. How will their solution work with and take advantage of other assets in production? Will other assets leverage the solution being developed? The implication is that development teams will need to understand, and manage, the full range of dependencies for their product. Integrated configuration management enables operations staff to understand the potential impact of a new release, thereby making it easy to decide when to allow the new release to occur.
  • Integrated change management. From an IT perspective, change management is the act of ensuring successful and meaningful evolution of the IT infrastructure to better support the overall organization. This is tricky enough at a project-team level because many technologies, and even versions of similar technologies, will be used in the development of a single solution. Because DevOps brings the enterprise-level issues associated with operations into the mix, an integrated change management strategy can be far more complex, due to the need to consider a large number of solutions running and interacting in production simultaneously. With integrated change management, development teams must work closely with operations teams to understand the implications of any technology changes at an organization level. This approach depends on the earlier practices of active stakeholder participation, integrated configuration management, and automated testing.
  • Training, education, and mentoring. As you would expect, people will need help to learn and adopt your DevOps strategies.
  • Continuous improvement. Disciplined agile teams strive to learn from their experiences as well as from others so that they can continuously improve the way that they work together, including how they approach DevOps.
  • One team. An important aspect of the DevOps mindset is shifting away from a “them and us mindset” to an “us mindset.” We all work together as a single, streamlined team. An extreme form of this is the “you build it, you run it” philosophy where there are no separate development, operations, data administration teams but instead product teams who are responsible for the entire lifecycle of a product.