Myths & Misconceptions: 5 Things DevOps is Not

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Myths & Misconceptions: 5 Things DevOps is Not

While an increasing number of companies are successfully implementing DevOps methodology, there are still pervasive misconceptions about DevOps.

In our first article, we outlined the fundamental principles of DevOps, highlighting the paradigm’s enormous potential to add business value. And while an increasing number of companies are successfully implementing this methodology, there are still pervasive misconceptions about DevOps. Read on as we debunk five common myths circulating in the IT industry.

1. DevOps is not a role, a job title, or a team.

Many people approach DevOps looking for a silver bullet. However, DevOps is not just a strict set of rules to follow, nor is it a person or a job title. DevOps is a concept. At its core, DevOps is not just about tools or code…it is about people. While DevOps does incorporate best practices and requires certain sets of skills, successful implementation of DevOps also requires a cultural shift focused on increased communication and collaboration. Done well, this vastly improves an organization’s ability to release defect-free code, quickly. Without the cultural appropriation of DevOps principles, your company will not see the potential ROI that is otherwise possible.

2. DevOps is not just development’s responsibility (nor is it just Operations responsibility, either.)

In some organizations, there is a misconception that this paradigm favors developers. Because DevOps enables rapid development, delivery and feedback, it can be seen as an Operations team’s worst nightmare, inviting instability into their environments. However, done correctly, DevOps combines a series of processes and practices across the entire SDLC, touching stakeholders on both teams and focuses on the collaboration between the two to create a better product overall. DevOps makes quality everyone’s responsibility.

3. DevOps is not (only) a toolset.

Similar to Agile methodology, tools are an integral part of a DevOps strategy. But utilizing these tools is not the same as adopting DevOps. There are a number of automation tools available in the marketplace today that enable DevOps practices. But implementing these tools without adopting ancillary practices and principles such as increased collaboration, enhanced bi-directional feedback, and ultimately even service-oriented architecture will deliver subprime results. The goal of any organization considering DevOps should be to first document your DevOps strategy, which includes defining your pipeline and identifying current constraints, and then identify appropriate automation tools – not the other way around.

4. DevOps is not just a new label for old processes.

DevOps is not merely a new set of trendy words used to describe current processes. Much like with the inception of the Agile methodology, many IT organizations may say they now employ DevOps, since they have adopted the lingo. However, simply re-titling a group or renaming documents does not make teams any more nimble and adaptive. If you don’t fundamentally change the way you do things, like recognizing the value of communication and experimentation, you cannot really call yourself a DevOps shop. You must wholly embrace the principles.

Moreover, DevOps is not just the automation of development practices, but also the automation of strategic build and release practices along with the increased focus on rapid feedback loops. Organizations employing DevOps principles automate their development processes, allowing them to produce code with more reliability and frequency. However, if Operations is not adequately equipped for this velocity, it does not matter how much code is being produced …the same amount of code is going to get into production, with a stack up of stale code sitting in a backlog. Successfully automating both development and build/release processes to achieve continuous integration (and the capability of continuous delivery) is a cornerstone of DevOps.

5. DevOps is not a rejection of traditional software development methodologies.

DevOps does not take trusted software development and build/release processes and throw them away. In fact, DevOps strives to tie the disciplines together, reimagining the traditional relationship between the two. Done properly, this model brings production support into the fold to create a closed feedback loop, enabling continuous improvements. DevOps may be a new paradigm in the IT world, but it is in no way a denouncement or invalidation of past software development methodologies. In fact, it can be argued that it is actually an evolution of pre-existing disciplines that allows IT teams to realize the vision for software development they’ve always had.
As more and more companies successfully implement DevOps practices, its definition is becoming slightly less murky. However, these (and many other) misconceptions about the DevOps paradigm continue to plague the industry, misleading and misguiding IT leaders looking to improve their agility and software quality. Understanding these common myths will save your team time and effort, and enable your organization to unlock the full value of DevOps, increasing your ability to get software from conception to production quickly and reliably.

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