DevOps growing up in Lisbon - A report from DevOps World | Jenkins World

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My impression is that DevOps is growing up fast. This is not meant to be patronising, DevOps is simply the best new idea for building software that has come along. But it is about culture and an agile mindset, more than about technology and tools. Good DevOps tools are necessary but not sufficient, as Andre Pino, VP of Marketing at CloudBees implies when he says: “True transformation is way more than technology”. People matter.

At DevOps World | Jenkins World, Forrester told the assembled press and analysts that DevOps is winning and that use of waterfall methods, by only about a third of developers, is falling.

I’d rather turn this on its head. Despite DevOps, almost a third of people are still using Waterfall – probably, that will be iterative Waterfall, as people aren’t stupid.

Why is Waterfall still alive? Well, partly because it still fits some use cases, perhaps; but also because of issues of scale, business integration and process management with DevOps, I’d suggest. I hear DevOps evangelists in big-iron vendors reporting pushback on “DevOps makes business better”. Customers accept that DevOps delivers apps better, but they are starting to question the business benefits achieved with current DevOps in big enterprise systems.

One issue is that you can’t just be agile in part of your organisation. Delivering computer code faster doesn’t help an organisation with a culture hostile to agile delivery of evolutionary change to the business. The benefits and implications of DevOps and evolutionary change have to be understood by C-level management, not just the DevOps team, and the DevOps feedback loop needs to include Business Vision and Business Outcome. We have – sometimes – removed the Dev and Ops silos, we mustn’t replace them with a DevOps silo.

Behind this, in part, is a failure to make all the information in the CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) DevOps pipeline available to management in a way that it can relate to. To get real management buy-in to a process, you must, at least, share its information and governance.

So, I was very interested to talk with Anders Wallgren (once CTO of Electric Cloud, and now Vice President of Technology Strategy at CloudBees after EC’s acquisition in April 2019) at DevOps World about all the governance and security features in Flow and how CloudBees’ Software Delivery Management (SDM) is promising to turn “software delivery into a core business process

It does this by, fundamentally, providing a shared common data model that is available to both developers and the business. An SDM strategy should be based on four pillars:

  1. Common data, with a consistent domain model, so it is accessible across the whole organisation.
  2. Universal insights from cross-organisation visibility, supporting continuous learning.
  3. Common connected processes, orchestrating not only software delivery but also the bringing of ideas to market – for maximum adoption, and the achievement of business value.
  4. Collaboration across all functions and teams.

What this implies, to me, is that an SDM platform needs a role-based user experience, so that business managers can relate to CI/CD at a business level, while developers can still go in at the technology level. Michael Baldani (Product Marketing Manager for SDM at Cloudbees) tells me that this will be the case for the Cloudbees SDM Platform.

It also implies that business managers must take ultimate ownership of the CI/CD process instead of it belonging just to a DevOps silo. The DevOps CI/CD pipeline needs, ultimately, to deliver rapid evolution of business outcomes, in response to a changing business environment, not just to deliver more code, faster.

I think anybody operating, managing or benefiting from, a CI/CD process with CloudBees products should consider signing up with the CloudBees solution for SDM preview program. However, note that, sensibly,

since we [at CloudBees] want to ensure close collaboration between CloudBees and the first preview users we will limit the number of users and organizations we are adding, so we can provide a first-class experience.”

Regardless of the vendors involved, some form of Software Delivery Management process, with the business as an equal stakeholder, will be essential if DevOps is to achieve “grown-up” maturity for all businesses.