This is an alternative take on what I call “the Debois Question” (aka “what is DevOps?”). For a year or so, I think every interview with Patrick Debois would start with that question. It still gets asked a lot and, curiously, it’s asked at DevOps meetings and still gets presentations at events like DevOps Days.
For a long time, I watched this process with some level of bemusement. I think this lack of certification or definitive answer is a plus. I recently told Patrick on a Skype call that I’ve always been impressed by how he was able to maintain the line on this, even as other leading lights joined the thing, like Gene Kim, Jez Humble, etc. And every one able to resist the easy answer and instead the community has to explore more, to interact and talk about the situation from their POV . . . To become more DevOps oriented (“DevOps-y”? :).
And this genius group of people thus, without apparently agreeing to do so, dodged an Agile Manifesto ditch (my words). They kept DevOps from becoming codified, certified, approved or regulated (although nothing could apparently stop the rush of vendors to announce their old products were “now with DevOps!”, a joke I was making back in my StreamStep days).
In a sustained act of levitation, they were able to keep the discussion on how to improve things, how to react to facts on the ground, rather than argue about how you interpret words on paper as if it were some holy scripture. And always it came back to business value and value creation (some interesting comments coming up in Mark Burgess’ interview for this series on this!)
So onto Kia’s answer to what I will call The Debois Question2 — the importance of DevOps.
Kia Behnia: Let’s set the context: so people care lot about applications. Applications drive really these businesses in terms of both innovation and revenue. Most companies don’t state in either internal or external meetings that the reason that they beat their competition is because they have these gigantic data centers and the big servers.
They talk about their services, they talk about their features that they provide, and by and large, those features are encapsulated in their applications. Now, what DevOps has done is really a movement to underscore what are the problems that prevents these organizations from delivering more innovation in a faster fashion with more streamlined processing.
So, at its heart, DevOps is the reason that applications can actually become faster in terms of rate of innovation, and by proxy that helps companies improve their competitive advantage, deliver more value to their users.