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7 signs you're doing devops wrong

Adam Bertram | Dec. 8, 2015
Misconceptions and flawed implementations may have you missing the true upsides of devops

Devops-heavy cultures realize that even though it may take more time to introduce automation up front it will pay off through more reliable and faster code deployments in the future. Your company must understand that everything is on the table for automation. This means deployments, testing, code check-in policies, servers builds -- everything.

If your company spends hours poring over checklists to ensure code is ready to be deployed, you're doing devops wrong.

Sign No. 4: You release code to production every few months (or years)

Now that we've addressed automation it's important to address deployment frequency. The sole purpose of devops is to fix bugs and release new features to production faster. That's not done by following a traditional waterfall model; that's done by being agile.

At its heart, the agile methodology consists of releasing small changes as often as possible. Its premise is to not plan every little detail ahead of time before releasing to production. It is about defining what is considered "production ready," representing that with a set of automated tests, and trusting that the tests written correctly define what it means for code to be "production ready."

Devops is synonymous with concepts like continuous integration and continuous deployment. Notice the key word in both terms: continuous. Devops is about consistently having developers check code in as often as possible, which kicks off automated tests.

For the true devops rock stars, it's also about taking that code and sending it directly to production through continuous deployment. If your company allows developers to check in code that goes through automated pre-check-in tests, gets handed over to another set of tests to ensure that the code is ready for production, then goes live on your production servers if deemed ready automatically, then you know you've achieved devops greatness.

If your company releases code changes less frequently than the harvest moon, you're doing devops wrong -- no matter how small the changes or how quickly you make them.

Sign No. 5: You consider failure unacceptable

Culture is often considered a "soft" aspect of IT, but it couldn’t be more essential to devops. This is where companies often fail to achieve the promise of devops. They might be automating with the optimal mix of tools. They might be continuously updating their code. But their inability to fully assimilate devops culture gets them every time.

For example, when the code you committed goes on to blow up a production database, what happens to you? Does your boss publicly scold you? Do you get immediately called into a manager’s office for a "closed door" meeting? Is losing your job or your ability to deploy code to production ever again a possible outcome of committing code? If so, then your company is not practicing devops.


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