DevOps means taking it right to the top

One element of a DevOps approach that seems to be being ignored is that it needs to extend right to the top of the company, right from the individual developers, right up to the C level and board room. If you have an operational department that sets all IT policy, but is blind to the needs of developers, than your DevOps strategy is doomed to failure; likewise, if your company is completely driven by the Development guys.

DevOps is an exciting new development, but I’m seeing a lot of companies scrabbling to be ‘buzzword compliant’ without fully understanding that DevOps is not a tool or a role (Although both can readily be added to smooth transition) but is a very large corporate culture change, much akin to the introduction of Agile. Much like Agile, it can be adopted by individual teams, but to truly succeed in implementing it, it needs to be embraced all the way to the top of the organisation.

An organisation needs balance to properly implement a DevOps strategy, and unless you have the ability for the Developers to challenge Corporate IT policy, and for Operations to challenge Development approaches, then you will find that any DevOps approach you take will quickly founder, or branch off into isolated pockets where some departments will succeed more than others (Normally due to additional influence at management level that other departments might lack). There are several approaches to this; if you have to have segregated teams, such as development and operations, than ensure both report to the CTO at equal level. Better still, adopt a flat model where each product team are masters of their own destiny, and fully manage their own delivery and support requirements; but this is a big step for a more traditional business. Right now, the easiest transition you can make is to ensure that Developers and Operations have an equal voice where it counts; right at the top.