The cult of DevOps

Several times recently I got the message (overtly or subliminally) that if you don't work with software and tools you can't understand DevOps, that if you haven't immersed yourself in the sacred waters of cutting code then you are somehow unenlightened.

Since DevOps is primarily about culture and Lean, with automation as the enabler, that comes as a surprise. I am a self-professed technology Luddite (not Luddyite - this has nothing to do with SNow). I got the message that the way I consciously and often facetiously eschew technology somehow diminishes my ability to understand or comment on the DevOps movement. Hopefully I am just over sensitive, but more likely I am sensitive to the underlying attitudes and assumptions.

    Sometimes I feel that in the DevOps community, we categorize “enterprise IT” practitioners as some sort of technology underclass, implying that someone who works in Dev or Ops inside a more traditional “horse” organization somehow doesn’t deserve to adopt DevOps (or is merely incapable of doing so).
    Of course, given that one of the strongest values in the DevOps community is inclusiveness, that’s obviously not what is intended.

    Gene Kim

Sure automation is mandatory for DevOps, but I reject any suggestions that one needs to understand technology in order to solve the DevOps problem. "CALMS": DevOps is a culture problem. It is about changing behaviours. Anybody who understands those disciplines can execute a DevOps transformation, with the right supporting expertise to deal with the technical aspects of continuous integration and continuous delivery. [To be clear: of course everyone involved needs to understand the principles behind the technology, enough language to communicate, and - most of all - the implications and impact of the technology options].

© Can Stock Photo Inc.There is nothing mystical about DevOps or Agile. They are sold by some as a new Silicon Valley startup cult of teal coloured people sharing a secret tools language, invoking magic Japanese spells, and quoting the holy and perfect scriptures of Deming, Reinertsen, and Goldratt. Often it sounds more like a meditation retreat than a business practice. Apparently only the enlightened who have access to the new wisdom of Integral Thinking (which is just doubled-down post-modernist bullshit) can ever grasp DevOps. Only the knowledgeable are down with the jargon. If you can understand the techspeak you are one of the gang.

That is not the case. DevOps is a familiar problem of cultural transformation and work optimisation which any management consultant worth their salt should be able to solve if they understand and embrace the cultural shift to trust, iteration, and flow. IT has had enough elitist priesthoods.

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