DevOps grew out of the Agile manifesto formulated in 2001 as a new way of developing software that focused on “individuals and interactions over processes and tools,” “customer collaboration over contract negotiation,” or “responding to change over following a plan.”
When this revolutionary approach to software development was finally implemented in operations, the result was a team where everyone works toward the same goal and communicates without any organizational barriers. DevOps dissolved the inevitable tensions between traditionally siloed teams and instated a new era of collaboration where engineers work side by side to deliver innovative and more reliable new features faster.
The purpose of DevOps is to enable faster delivery of higher quality software. But DevOps is more than a set of tools or a paradigm–it is often designated as the intersection between culture, processes, and tools. The foundational principle of DevOps is to apply a developer mindset to the operations team. This new approach to software development promotes increased collaboration and open communication. Through continuous learning and improvement, engineers are able to improve quality and deliver products faster to market, thus increasing user satisfaction and ROI.
Fig 1: The DevOps Lifecycle
To effectively bring under the same umbrella two formerly divided groups requires a cultural transformation at an organizational level. Furthermore, the DevOps processes and culture incorporate infrastructure engineering, security, risk of failure management, and the end consumers into the software development cycle. Since the method encompasses more than just development and operations, it requires a company culture that allows and supports such a singular shift.
The tech world frequently talks about a DevOps culture because, in its essence, the practice is more about people and how they work together than about technology or using a specific set of tools. DevOps revolves around a key tenet of continuous communication, learning, and shared goals and responsibilities between developers and the operations team.
The premise is ambitious, but bringing together conventionally separate teams is no easy feat. No matter what or how many advanced tools or processes the team uses, without an organizational culture rooted in transparency, empathy, and trust, a culture that enables the core principles of DevOps, a company will fail to benefit from the full potential of the DevOps practice. After all, without the proper cultural positioning, tools can only take you so far.
Fig. 2: What Makes a DevOps Culture Successful?
The DevOps community is unwavering: DevOps is not a role–it is a culture. DevOps is a revolutionary way of approaching software development that involves the entire organization, not just the developers and the operations team. Simply adopting automated testing, agile planning, or continuous delivery can’t yield the actual benefits of DevOps.
Although important, no amount of processes and tools will work without a necessary cultural shift that embraces the core values of DevOps. As many professionals in the space call it, DevOps is a “trinity of people and culture, process and practice, tools and technology.”