Define DevOps
June 29, 2017 Mainframe Agility

How Do You Define DevOps? Six Interpretations to Help

[Average: 5]

The DevOps movement is catching hold across the IT industry, from start-ups to enterprises. This isn’t surprising since DevOps offers approaches to address some of the glaring weaknesses in software development:

  • Responsiveness to evolving requirements
  • Catching issues as early in the lifecycle as possible
  • Continuous code integration and continuous deployment

Historically these have been the hard problems in IT. DevOps offers a path to remove them as obstacles altogether.

As with any subjective, evolving topic, DevOps is difficult to define, and it may be especially so for mainframe teams that are new to the concept. Most DevOps guides have given up on providing a definition altogether and instead just start in on the cultural and procedural changes to achieve it instead. That allows for an organization to self-define what DevOps means to them, for instance, using feedback loops to make the definition itself a function of DevOps practices.

However, IT also tends toward the pedantic. So, I thought I would provide six definitions of DevOps I have come across during my travels to help you find one that fits your team or company.

Six DevOps Definitions

  1. “DevOps is an understood set of practices and cultural values that has been proven to help organizations of all sizes improve their software release cycles, software quality, security and ability to get rapid feedback on product development.” – 2017 State of DevOps report
  2. “DevOps (a clipped compound of software DEVelopment and information technology OPerationS“) is a term used to refer to a set of practices that emphasize the collaboration and communication of both software developers and information technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software deliverynand infrastructure changes.” – Wikipedia
  3. DevOps is an approach based on Lean and Agile principles in which business owners and the development, operations, and quality assurance departments collaborate to deliver software in a continuous manner that enables the business to more quickly seize market opportunities and reduce the time to include customer feedback.” – DevOps for Dummies, IBM Limited Edition
  4. “DevOps is a manifestation of creating dynamic, learning organizations that continually reinforce high-trust cultural norms…to innovate and win in the marketplace.” – The DevOps Handbook
  5. “DevOps is about bringing the principles of Agile or Lean IT to the entire enterprise, from the initial business users, to development and test, through to operations.” – Mobile to Mainframe DevOps for Dummies
  6. “I know it when I see it!” – (my apologies to Potter Stewart)

While it’s important to understand the fundamental ideas around DevOps in order to get serious about building out a true DevOps culture, DevOps processes and a mainframe-inclusive DevOps toolchain, don’t let it become the focus of the transformation. After all, the reason you’re interested in implementing DevOps in the first place is to accelerate application development and delivery and improve the quality of the products you offer—hey, there’s another good definition.

Photo: Flickr: greeblie

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Jim Liebert

Jim Liebert is a product manager at Compuware. He lives in Seattle, just up the block from a coffee shop.
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