Experimenting Your Way to DevOps Success: A Slack Takeover with Nathen Harvey | TechWell

Experimenting Your Way to DevOps Success: A Slack Takeover with Nathen Harvey

Nathen Harvey

Thought leaders throughout the software community are taking over the TechWell Hub for a day to introduce themselves, answer questions, and engage in conversations.

Nathen Harvey is a cloud developer advocate at Google focused on DevOps and SRE principles and practices. Before that, he led the Chef community, helping them adopt continuous automation. He is also a core organizer for devopsdays events and the cohost of Food Fight Show, a podcast about DevOps and Chef.

Defining DevOps

@nathenharvey started the Slack takeover with a question he gets asked all the time: What is the definition of DevOps?

There are many schools of thought here, and the DevOps community has never adopted a single, canonical definition of DevOps.

Harvey said his favorite definition was created in collaboration with a bunch of people and is part of an open source repository: a cultural and professional movement, focused on how we build and operate high-velocity organizations, born from the experiences of its practitioners.

Measuring the Success of Your DevOps Implementation

“I am wondering how do you measure the success of implementing devops?” —@cbird12

Harvey recommends four measures from the State of DevOps report and other research from the team at DORA:

  • Lead time from commit to deploy
  • Code deployment frequency
  • Time to resolve production incidents
  • Change failure rate

Harvey recommends you get baselines for each of these metrics today, make some changes that you think will impact them, measure, and then repeat.

He also said you should then complete DORA’s DevOps survey to help inform the next report.

Overcoming Resistance to DevOps

“Im currently in an organization that tends to resist change, especially when it comes to DevOps. They are very focused on ‘learn and implement all the DevOps tools and then we can say we are doing the DevOps'. Any suggestions on helping guide the organization into a cultural shift instead of just thinking ‘we have DevOps tools, so we do DevOps’?” —@JannaLoeffler

Harvey said he thinks the best way to create cultural change is to do the work. Set some goals, identify the capabilities that require improvement to get there, and then iterate your way there. Take a step forward, and then reassess.

Harvey cautioned that there is no such thing as a "DevOps tool," but there are certainly some tools you will use along your journey to improve the four metrics from DORA he mentions above.

Selling DevOps to Your Team

“How do you start injecting devOps in a team who is not familiar” —@Jessica Romero

“I think it depends on your perspective of the idea of ‘DevOps,’" Harvey said. Part of the problem, as mentioned earlier, is that there is not really an adopted, universally agreed-on definition of that word.

But just as you would when adopting any other new idea, start with your pain points, and get the team on board from there, he said: “Selling ideas, DevOps or otherwise, starts with understanding what's important to the people you're selling the ideas to and challenging them to imagine a new world.”

Toward the end of the takeover, Harvey asked, “What has been the most impactful thing (positive or negative) on your organization's DevOps journey?” Join the Hub to share yours!

Nathen Harvey is presenting the keynote Start Your DevOps Journey on the Right Foot at the Agile + DevOps West 2019 conference, June 2–7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


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