De-Mystifying DevOps

DevOps has gotten an enormous amount of hype in organizations, the press and various trade conferences and journals. Everyone has latched onto the term as something they want or need for their business, software development and technical delivery to be successful. DevOps is 100% deserving of the hype because it is foundational management innovation enabling what AgileTrailblazers believes are the four core competencies (speed, scalability, adaptability, quality) to break out within organizations, and in turn supports Continuous Business Value Delivery (CBVD).

DevOps conceptually shines a light on the value of breaking functional barriers and silos within organizations. The management innovation that is DevOps is composed of people, process and technology innovations, innovations around what we do, how we do it and how do those things eventually get delivered to actual customers in the marketplace. Development teams the world over have started to bring to bear faster, more efficient ways to accomplish things, leaving infrastructure and operations pressed upon to meet the needs created by development’s additional delivery speed. This leaves infrastructure and operations folks in a lurch because they still need to be able to keep things manageable, maintainable and supportable given that new rate of delivery speed.

Additionally, it is not natural for organizations that have separate functions of R&D and operations/infrastructure to communicate or consider each others' needs nor recognize the interdependence they have on enabling ‘fast flow’ within the organization. DevOps, when it has broken down barriers, turns into the engine that makes that ‘fast flow’ of delivery break out and blurs the lines between development and infrastructure. When it has accomplished that blurring – people start to take notice and experiment with blurring lines elsewhere in their organizations.



People/Organizational Destination:

  • Everyone considers that “production matters” and comes from a “test infected” Mindset
  • The individuals assume a Culture of Caring where they are paying attention to the fact that they work with other humans that likely have the same problems that they do.


  • Lean Release Management becomes the norm where everyone is focused on creating the safest, quickest running delivery and test mechanisms that can be supported
  • Shared Roles & Responsibilities – teams feel responsibility to help manage and maintain the systems that have been constructed based on the needs that they described. The lines between Development groups and infrastructure and operations individuals blur. 
  • Bi-Directional operational support – Developers are in the same ship as those in operations and are help to the same level of support and accountability for the software that they built.


  • Smart cloud infrastructure – helps enable the fast flow within the organization allowing for environments to be requested and delivered in minutes instead of days or months. Configuration becomes code, infrastructure becomes something that can be tested and verified.
  • Operational Visibility Tooling – every one can now see the current state of environments, applications that are deployed, what the current actions being taken are and what has been taken over the last so much time.
  • Continuous Delivery Pipelines – Software delivery now looks more like a standard process. While development itself is a thought exercise and prone to variation, the delivery of that completed package isn’t and should be repeatable and is able to be automated.
    Now that you have an organization of good people, process and technology innovations it is possible to realize the four core competencies to enable fast flow to break out. 


Continuous Business Value Delivery® Using DevOps

Continuous Business Value Delivery describes four primary competencies in an organization and how those competencies are needed, grown and supported to allow you organization to succeed at its best with Agile Software delivery. For DevOps - those same CBVD competencies can be applied.

Speed breaks out when:

  • We automate the mundane
  • Drive towards providing quicker – appropriate feedback (learning loops)
  • When we can regress what has been developed at any time, with speed

Scalability breaks out when:

  • The feedback in the system is available and visible to team members, whole teams and eventually the entire organization.
  • A software release’s overhead is minimized to minutes or seconds allowing individuals to place emphasis and focus elsewhere.
  • The machinery is in place to allow for small batches of work to be delivered with ease.

Adaptability breaks out when:

  • The machinery of DevOps/delivery enables new and revised products to be created with simplicity and ease.
  • New creations can be added and implemented in the engine of DevOps in routine and mappable ways. 

Quality breaks out when

  • All of the testing for software is as automated and visible as it could possibly be, run with every build and executed on each and every release
  • All of the metrics related to a release cycle are available and visible for anyone interested in looking.
  • Testing is running constantly, the developers are doing it before checking in, the system is doing it on code commit, and again when merged with main line code branches. Continuous testing is made practical for everyone to use.