What's Causing the Pushback with DevOps?

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The term DevOps gets horribly abused. Don’t get me started on all the weird additions to it like DevSecOps. No, I just mean the term itself gets beaten up quite a lot. It’s to the point where people are starting to shy away from talking about it. I’ve even changed my approach when discussing DevOps to instead say “a DevOps style process”. My intention is to try to steer clear of some of the rocks forming around the term.

What I don’t entirely understand is why the pushback is occurring, but it’s out there. The core concepts of DevOps are pretty simple. Let’s focus on people in order to help them get their work done. We start with the elimination of silos and walls between groups, combine Development with Operations. It’s in the name. We focus on process that better supports people so that more, and better, stuff gets delivered for the organization. In support of that process, we implement as much automation as we can. That, in a nutshell, is DevOps. Who could possibly push back against that?

Well, if that paragraph above represented how everyone understood DevOps, we wouldn’t be seeing pushback. However, there’s just tons of information out there that is poor. People get told stuff, a lot, that just isn’t true. So, a bad opinion forms. Further, a DevOps style process is something of a challenge to implement. You have to make changes to how you do things, always a challenge. Then, in order to support more and better automation, you have to spend a lot of time and effort in learning new tools and building new stuff. Sometimes, the implementation of a DevOps process fails. So, the misinformation and the failures combine to build a somewhat negative impression.

However, more and more people are successfully implementing DevOps approaches. Even as you see some implementations fail, the details of the process, for example, getting your databases into source control, still results in overall improvement in how people work. In short, even if we toss the term because it’s being abused, the overall approach is succeeding and won’t go away. That’s a win!

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