4 DevOps Antipatterns to Avoid | TechWell

4 DevOps Antipatterns to Avoid

Sign saying "Dead end"

While lots of organizations are making good progress with DevOps, there are unfortunately others that have fallen prey to common DevOps antipatterns. Signs of this usually include a slowdown or stopping of progress toward a fully collaborative organization that is operating at a high velocity.

Here are four DevOps antipatterns to watch out for.

1. #DevOps

In this antipattern, DevOps is nothing more than a marketing slogan an organization uses to try to change the customer’s perception of them. Beyond the Twitter campaign, rebranding of the exhibit booth and marketing materials, and presentations given by senior management, nothing internally changes. Teams still work in silos, no systems thinking is done, teams are not self-directed, and no acceleration of software delivery happens.

Many times this occurs not because senior management does not want to move toward a DevOps model, but because they don’t understand what planning and effort are necessary to launch and maintain a DevOps initiative. If your organization falls into this category, work to educate senior leadership about how best to drive forward change.

2. DevOps Silos

DevOps is about tearing down silos, not building new ones. But too often DevOps initiatives become their own silo, with a “VP of DevOps” or a block on the org chart titled “DevOps Team.” When dev and ops (or any other set of roles, for that matter) aren’t working together, the answer is not to put a new team between them!

Don’t mistake this antipattern for early-adoption activities that are often performed by a new group of individuals who are working to lead a transformation or put tools in place to support delivery. There is nothing wrong with establishing temporary groups or teams who are given the authority and responsibility to drive DevOps forward within the organization. Just make sure the final intent is for DevOps to be integrated into cross-functional teams and for this group to disappear.

3. DevOps = Tools

While automation can help achieve your business goals, tools alone won’t get you where you need to go in DevOps. Adopting tools does not improve the communication or collaboration among everyone in the software lifecycle, so simply adopting new tools for DevOps will often only highlight the broken communication channels you have.

One caveat is that sometimes tools can help drive change. Putting in place capabilities that encourage or incent your teams to do things properly or communicate more frequently can make a difference. Just don’t think of DevOps as tools only.

4. DevOps = Agile

While their principles are related, DevOps and agile are not the same thing. I would argue, however, that DevOps brings agile principles to operations and helps realize agile’s promise of increasing customer value. Interestingly, the concept of DevOps began at an open space session called “Agile Infrastructure” at a conference. The individual who set up this impromptu session wanted to talk about how agile could help make operations more effective.

While DevOps and agile are not the same thing, is it virtually impossible to maximize value out of establishing cross-functional teams without it. Agile methodologies are required to enable the continuous delivery DevOps aims to achieve.

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