Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Destiny Bertucci, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

There’s No C in DevOps | @DevOpsSummit @XebiaLabs #DevOps #Microservices

I confess to often talking about the need for culture-change in software development organizations

There's No C in DevOps, But There Should Be
By Dave Farley

These days I mostly make my living as a consultant. Consultants in general are probably not the best loved group in the world. It is common to think of consultants wafting-in to your organization, telling you things that you already know and advising you to "change your culture", whatever that means. Subsequently they depart, no-doubt with a fat fee, and leave you as you were before with the same problems and no progress made.


The ‘C' Word - Culture
I confess to often talking about the need for culture-change in software development organizations. I hope though that what I mean is something more concrete.

Software development is an interesting human activity. It is technically complex, we create the most complex systems (apart from other human beings) that humans have ever produced. It is fragile, there is little in human experience that is quite so intolerant of tiny errors as software. Every piece of software that we create is an exercise in discovery, if it wasn't we would just re-use what we had from before. It is a creative discipline in both the literal and figurative sense. We do this in collaboration with lots of other people and the fate of the organizations that we operate in often rides on what we build.

The trouble is that, as an industry the software development industry has rarely delighted its users. This isn't really a problem of software itself, but rather the ways in which we have undertaken its development.

We can all think of examples of great software done well, but in nearly all of those cases, the way in which these "exceptional development teams" approached the problems that they faced was different to what most of us have been taught and what the majority of organizations that create software do.

In practice, it is my opinion that the majority of our industry has grown up doing things in inefficient and ineffective ways. This isn't a small thing. This isn't a "buy this technology and it will make it all work" kind of problem. There are some very basic, very fundamental things that you need to get right for software development to work effectively. In large part, this is at the level of the ‘Culture', there is that word again, of the organizations that want to create great software.

Geocentricism
If software development projects were normal things then we would expect to see as many projects finish ahead of schedule, below budget and exceeding the expectations of their users as projects finishing behind schedule, over budget and disappointing or being ignored by their users.

We would expect to see a "normal distribution" - the blue line in the diagram below. (See Figure 1)

Instead I believe that we have come to expect, in most organizations, something more like the red line.

We have built an industry that assumes that late delivery, cost-overruns, low quality and features that users don't like or don't want is normal. This is crazy! These are not essential properties of software development.

PastedGraphic-1[1] copy 2

Figure 1 - Software Projects success should be a normal distribution

I believe that what this is telling us is that we have got this badly wrong. We have entirely the wrong model for how software development should work.

It is a bit like this (http://www.malinc.se/math/trigonometry/geocentrismen.php). When people thought that everything rotated around planet Earth, geocentricism, then it was impossible to imagine how the complex paths of the planets could arise. As soon as you change perspective, in this case to heliocentricism, you get to think about the problem differently. All becomes clearer and simpler. Now we can reason, now we can calculate, now we can predict. Now we can evolve the next step. Newton can describe the inverse-square law, Einstein can later describe warps in space-time. Without that first step, of discarding a viewpoint that makes the world look more complex rather than less, progress is stalled.

We have grown a culture around software development that does to software development what geocentricism did to cosmology. We can't see the beauty and simplicity because it is hidden by the complexity of our own creations and assumptions. This isn't just about how we write code or how we manage deployments or even whether or not Developers and Operations people sit together. Rather this is about how the whole organization thinks about change. How we constitute and organize teams. How we apply governance to projects. How we regulate them. It is about how we deliver new ideas to our users. This stuff is fundamental.

I argue that all organizations that create software want the same thing. They want to have an idea. Get that idea, in the form of working software, into the hands of their users and see what their users make of it.

This is my definition of what Continuous Delivery is all about. This is more than a tool or a process. This is a change in the whole culture surrounding software development.

I think that one form of geocentricism is project-based working. The data is in, we are terrible at predicting the outcome of software projects! So maybe the idea of software projects is wrong. If we look at some of those "exceptional development teams" they don't very often have a project focus. Instead they are in it for the long haul, they are focussed on products and look after the software for its whole life. If we change our culture to think of an on-going relationship with our software and our users, things start to make more sense.

Cross-Functional Teams & User Acceptance Testing
Projects lead us to think in terms of budgets and timescales. What if, instead, we did all of our work as a series of small, maybe even tiny, changes. We could quickly decide if each change is worth a try. Maybe we could even do simple versions of a change to see if our users liked it, thus avoiding costly development of features that no one ever wanted.

How do we cope with big problems? We subdivide them. Mostly though we sub-divide them along technical boundaries or job-function boundaries. This creates silos and breeds a whole raft of complexity to surround it. Do you work in an organization with front-end and back-end development teams? How about a separate QA or Ops team?

As soon as you organize like this you have built a cross-team dependency in to almost every new requirement.

How about we change our culture. Instead of dividing our teams by technology or job function we establish cross-functional teams responsible for an independent area of the business. In such an environment each new requirement usually has a natural home in one team. This simplifies the work of planning, but also simplifies the work within  the team. Allowing them more autonomy and enabling them to make decisions that will make them more efficient and improve quality, or even just meet their users needs.

I once worked on a software project where the development team was disbanded before User Acceptance Testing was carried out - Cargo cult process of the highest order! So there was an expensive, slow, late, manual process to evaluate whether or not the software that the team had built was fit for purpose, but there was no development team, except for me and two others, left to address any concerns. Had the users decided that we had completely misunderstood some key aspect of the system there was nothing we could do about it.

shutterstock_309062636

How about we change culture, instead of waiting until the end to see if users are happy, why don't we ask them as soon as we possibly can? If we can deliver new changes to them quickly then we can learn from them. If the nature of our software is such that we can't do that, then we need to find a, simple, alternative. Maybe we can have representatives of the users on our team using the software all the time as it is developed?

You can't "inspect quality in to a product". Quality is "built-in". User Acceptance Testing, in fact any form of manual regression testing is another of those assumptions built in to our industry that needs challenging. Instead of looking at code after it is finished, how about we think in terms of "Executable Specifications" for the behavior of our systems. Let us not waste time defining the behavior of our system in a document. Let us instead, make those definitions Executable and run them every time that we make a change to our software so that we can be certain that our system still fulfills its needs. Get developers into the loop and get them thinking of asserting the behaviors of the code that they write as they write it.

If you have read anything about Agile development or Continuous Delivery these ideas should be familiar to you. But make no mistake, this is a culture change. We need to look at software development and think again. We need to challenge the assumptions that constrain us. It is *not* acceptable or normal to have hundreds of bugs in production. It is not an inevitable characteristic of software. We can't plan reliably, so let us work in ways that don't need us to.

These ideas are not new. I believe that if you look at the history of outstanding software development, then it won't be planned, waterfall, manually tested. It will be evolutionary, incremental, experimental and iterative. It will have been carried out in a manner totally alien to the majority of software development process in our industry. Success has been an outlier that required people to break convention. Let us work to make that success curve more evenly weighted.

It is time to change the culture of our industry.


Ready to make some enterprise changes in 2016? Learn from the best with our on-demand "Top Enterprise DevOps Lessons For 2016" by Andrew Phillips.

The post There's No C In DevOps, But There Should Be appeared first on XebiaLabs.

Related posts:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By XebiaLabs Blog

XebiaLabs is the technology leader for automation software for DevOps and Continuous Delivery. It focuses on helping companies accelerate the delivery of new software in the most efficient manner. Its products are simple to use, quick to implement, and provide robust enterprise technology.

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...