DevOps community should focus on outreach

The DevOps Enterprise Summit London is just around the corner and our compelling line-up of speakers includes Finbarr Joy, group CTO at Lebara. We wanted to gather some insights from Finbarr ahead of the event, so we asked him a few questions about his past experiences and to share his industry knowledge around DevOps.

Finbarr says technology has never been as interesting as it is today, nor its impact so immediate. We agree and would like to see enterprises moving at the same speed as the world around them — innovating through DevOps and rolling out the best software and applications possible.

It’s not easy though, and technology professionals can always learn from one another’s successes and challenges. That is essentially what the DevOps Enterprise Summit London is all about. Finbarr shares his insights below and we are looking forward to see him speak in London soon!

DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES): What success or failure made you learn the most and why?

Finbarr Joy (FJ): Failures teach us the most! As more sophisticated toolsets began to emerge in the late 2000’s, I think we flocked to a “dev-centric” view too quickly. Back then I think it was mostly termed “Application Lifecycle Management,” and there were attempts to automate, especially in the deploy and provisioning cycles. This meant that things mostly still landed in a heap at the far right of the cycle (devs were still pointing fingers at ops saying, “just use this ‘magic’ toolkit”).

More recently, I’ve seen an endeavour to genuinely blend practitioner communities and better application and adoption of ops culture and concerns by what we might have formerly called ‘development’ teams (increasingly more so as we embrace infrastructure-as-code).

DOES: What was your “a-ha” moment when it first hit you that “this DevOps thing really works!”?

FJ: For me that moment was witnessing a development team building a backlog of mostly ops-centric concerns – truly embracing the ops point of view as a vanguard for development. I was lucky enough to begin my career in the kind of environment where DevOps was the default pattern in any event.

As I began to traverse the larger corporates later in my career, the “a-ha” moment happened when the relative communities (dev and ops) would genuinely combine or merge.

DOES: What quantifiable benefits have you seen thanks to your DevOps initiative?

FJ: The greatest benefit, most regularly is better time to market. Also, greater confidence in early release of MVPs that can be locked into a cadence of subsequent release that gives us better outcomes and products (via the ability to optimize continuous engineering). As we automate more of the cycle and embed security, there is much efficiency gained. It’s maybe too early to completely benchmark, but I’ve also seen benefits in talent acquisition and retention – establishing and excelling at such practices give individuals a route to practitioner “mastery” that means your environment attracts the best talent.

DOES: What should the DevOps community be focused on in the coming year?

FJ: Outreach. I’m still meeting enterprises that view DevOps as someone else’s answer to a problem they don’t believe they have. Also, there are many people who find DevOps too complex or even expensive (not accounting for the costs of what they are currently sustaining!). The community needs to relentlessly network in all forums beyond those that are ‘DevOps’-specific. I think the ‘DevOps’ label can be unhelpful in this regard. To some it smacks of a “cult,” therefore the message is dismissed before the dialogue even begins.

Want to spend two full days concentrating on solving your biggest IT challenges? The inaugural DevOps Enterprise Summit London event brings a community together from multiple industries and more than a dozen countries across the world. The purpose? To identify and amplify the best practices in DevOps based on practical advice presented through personal stories told by fellow technology leaders. If you haven’t registered yet for the event, it’s not too late (but tickets are going fast!). You can still sign up here.

DevOps Enterprise Summit London

June 30 & July 1, 2016

Hilton London Metropole

225 Edgware Road, London, UK

Author: Robyn Crummer-Olson