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Since witnessing the repetitive trainwrecks Agile adoption can cause to the Ops folks in the House of IT, I've been primed and ready for DevOps. I bumped into the DevOps term -- beginning of 2010, at the start-up StreamStep -- my head and my heart told me this was huge idea, a concept for something that previously was inchoate.

 

First off, Agile is a huge change, yeah but let's keep this strictly at the business level. It transforms the risk a business takes on when it goes to deliver new product, update or enhance existing product, or maintain product. It takes the executive gamble from "bet 18 months and potentially the company's future to get a kickin' product that comes out a year and half from now" to "incrementally improve your product in a stepwise fashion in short, iterative bursts that enable you to do stepwise refinement and check it all, in cadences as short as 2 weeks or less." Oh, and you no longer need that crystal ball that tells you the future state of the world when that app was going to come a year and a half from now. Agile lets you "ready, aim, fire" repeatedly in quick bursts. If you were the executive, you pick. No brainer, right?

 

But . . . the business still gets blindsided. Agile is a half-baked IT transformation because it's weighted solely on the Dev side. Outside of you and me, the rest of the world sees Dev as IT as much as it sees Ops as IT. Don't agree? You know Jesse Robbins' famous Amazon example where Ops got penalized for app downtime while Dev got bonuses for delivering the downing app on time? That means even Amazon sees it as IT. (You can call it "engineering" or use an umbrella "development" term or whatever you prefer; I'm sticking to the point regardless of the local vernacular.)

 

In running the DevOps Leadership Series, I've had the opportunity to interact with the luminaries and doers in the space and I've finally getting a handle on why I think DevOps is bigger than the "gap" between Dev and Ops. It was sparked by something John E. Vincent said in his interview (coming out soon). DevOps is about more than tooling (man, wind me up and I'm rolling on that topic). It's a fad only if you consider heart disease a fad. We may not forever use "DevOps" but the word works for me and we do need a word for it.

 

I ran this past Gene Kim and Clyde Logue over some great sushi last night and they seemed to think I had something here. The epiphany goes something like this:

 

Agile restores the business'  faith in Dev while DevOps restores the business'  faith in IT.