On December, 16th 16 IT professionals from the Stuttgart area met at an office of Bosch in Vaihingen to talk about DevOps in Big Companies. Find some minutes of the Meetup here. Since we agreed upon not mentioning any company names or people in summaries or blog posts for enabling an open discussion - the content of this post is “anonymous” (see Chatham House Rule).
After a short introduction of the attendees we started with a presentation about how DevOps was “kick-started” at a huge Software Company. Here are some notes:
- Top Management wanted to become a “DevOps Company” so there was great support from this side
- Developers also wanted to become more agile and implement DevOps
- Driven by “Cloud Development” happening around them
- Tricky part: the “in-between management” (between developers and top-management)
- Conduction of a DevOps Workshop with a trainer and developers, operations and management
- Making a gap-analysis: where are we now, what are the biggest problems, where do we want to be
- Create a prioritized list of issues to work on from this gap analysis
- Build up a culture and values
- Establish continuous delivery for software and feedback loops
- Establish DevOps communities within the company with regular (monthly) meetings
Following the presentation there was a discussion about the experience of the other attendees concerning DevOps topics. Here’s a short summary:
- Many well-established, hence “old” companies want to become an IT / Software company. It is hard to establish a new culture (e.g. Agility or DevOps) with the “old” set of people and management.
- Agile principles and culture makes a lot of the established hierarchies unnecessary. Roles change and deciders (managers) should rather become enablers and supporters (servant leaders) .
- In big companies, internal IT is often too slow to meet the demands of innovative teams that want to experiment and build prototypes. People rather use external services e.g. AWS.
- Many prototypes start in a DevOps setup, which gets lost, once the application is taken over by the company processes. Afterwards, heavyweight company processes are applied and DevOps is dead.
- DevOps often starts as a grass-roots movement and comes from the people who do things rather then from management (bottom-up instead of top-down).
- There rarely are any “hard-metrics” or numbers by which you can measure success or failure when rolling out DevOps. It’s rather the working conditions that change. Things to measure are maybe time-to-production of new features and number of “on-duty” calls for operations.
- Systems became very complex so that sometimes you cannot even make root cause analysis since there is no single root cause but rather a bundle of reasons why something went wrong.
- It’s not about technology it’s more about the mindset.
- Developers are often attracted by DevOps, operations people are more sceptical and rather want to continue working in the same setting they’re used to.
- Fast release cycles (as favored by developers) mean constant change in systems, which ultimately means instability, seen as a reason for failure and incidents by operations.
- Big companies often do not manage risk but rather avoid it. Contradicts the fact that innovation means taking risks.
- It takes people that take (personal) risks with a clear vision to change things - even big companies allows them to do so.
Next DevOps Stutgart Meetups
We agreed upon a bi-monthly date for the Meetup. There shall be a mixture of technical and non-technical topics and if we talk about technology we will also take a look at how it affects the collaboration of the people involved. For the next Meetup around beginning of February we are still looking for a place to meet and a topic. Presentations should be held as an entry point for further discussion and take about 45min.
If you are interested, please join our Meetup group at http://www.meetup.com/de/devops-stuttgart/.