Last week I took some time out to get myself along to the DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES16).

The conference was described as:

DevOps Enterprise Summit is a conference for the leaders of large, complex organizations implementing DevOps principles and practices. The goal is to give leaders the tools and practices they need to develop and deploy software faster and to win in the marketplace.

Over the past few years I’ve lived and breathed the challenge of driving the adoption of DevOps from small organisations to large enterprises each with their own unique challenges and goals so I’m always curious to hear how others are getting on.

As an aside whilst attending I’ve realised I’ve not taken the time recently to attend conferences / contribute as much as I should to DevOps, I hang my head in shame and promise to do better in future!

The variety of speakers was fantastic, hearing them talk not only gave me new ideas but reaffirmed some of the things I’ve been doing over the past 5 years.

My random reaffirmed thoughts are below.

People are at the centre of everything in DevOps, without the right people with the right attitude to create a culture that not only catalyses DevOps but sustains it then your DevOps journey will be painful and worst case is destined to fail. Get your people and culture right and everything else will fall into place. Invest and empower your people!

Which brings me onto the next point, technology is the easier part of the journey, don’t be precious about the tools it’s more important to focus on the outcomes the people supported by the technology deliver. Think capabilities not tools i.e. have you got a capability to follow your users on their journey, can you tell if they are having a bad time? People have their favourite tools and can be protective over them, but if you turn your DevOps journey into a technology / tool driven trip you’ll detract from the really important things such as your desired outcomes / user needs.

As Gene Kim said “DevOps transcends the technology stack we are working with.”

How you structure your teams is less important than getting them working in the right way, people have had success having fully multi-disciplinary teams i.e. everyone co-located others have had success with capabilities such as development, operations and security split across location(s). What they have in common though is fantastic communication and a culture the encourages people to talk to each other as humans and work together understanding each other’s views and needs, happy people working together collaboratively go on to create great things. Getting rid of the invisible walls between disciplines with open, honest and healthy dialogue/collaboration goes a long way on the DevOps journey.

I have stated many times in the past therefore not going to labour the point that DevOps is not a role, it’s a way of working. You can’t buy DevOps but you can hire people that positively add to your culture therefore be mindful of this on your DevOps journey.

I tweeted during my time at DOES16, DevOps transcends the sector in which it is being adopted, different sectors bring different needs and challenges however DevOps transcends that diversity, at the heart of DevOps it’s all about the people, as I’ve described before therefore no matter where you ply your trade DevOps can and will add value to your organisation.

Jason Cox of Disney articulated beautifully that ‘Motion does not equal work or value, it’s all about continuous improvement’, unless you can identify waste or sub-optimal processes, technologies or stuff, then you will always be hampered in progress. Therefore invest in the capability to measure and analyse what you do, once you have transparency across the service(s) you are offering, you can identify waste and truly improve in a continuous way.

All in all, I had a great time and came away with a positive buzz about the future of DevOps and the journey we as a community are on, so in closing take care of your people and they will take care of the rest.