A few weeks ago I had a friend Grace reach out to me and ask me if I could speak to my experience with the DevOps movement from an engineering management perspective. Grace is one of the organizers of the Portland DevOps Groundup meetup group. Their goal is to educate others and discuss topics having to do with DevOps. I agreed to speak as well as host the event at Jama (one of the very cool things that we do as an organization is to host such community events).
The term DevOps did not use to be widely known, now it has become a fairly common term. With that wide adoption also comes misuse and misunderstanding. People are using the term for all sorts of things as well as it being buzzword for catchall job titles. To me, DevOps is all about collaboration, communication and integration. I titled my talk “DevOps is dead, long live DevOps” on purpose to gain a reaction from people (which I definitely did get reactions from some of the recruiters in attendance). My point in picking that title was that the term has become diluted and misused and is becoming irrelevant.
I focused my talk on my personal history in software development coming from an operations background. I’m no expert, this was just me sharing my experiences as a manager of technical people and how I’ve tried to build highly collaborative teams that enjoy working together and solving tough problems. I really enjoyed being able to share three separate work experiences with a large group of people and discuss how I’ve learned from each job and applied those learnings in an effort to improve upon the process each time. I spoke at length to my most current experience here at Jama and how we are working as a group to better integrate the practices and principals of DevOps into all of engineering instead of it being a single team called “DevOps” that is tasked with the work. This cultural shift is starting to happen and that is a good thing for all of Jama engineering.
I spoke for the better part of an hour and received some really thoughtful questions at the end of the talk around how people can work to affect change in culture and gain business adoption of these practices. DevOps in some ways is still mysterious for people or they think of it only in terms of tools and technologies, my hope is that my talk made it less of a mystery and starting more people thinking in terms of collaboration, communication and integration across the company culture.