From DevOps to Continuous Delivery of Value

Accenture | SolutionsIQ Managing Director and DevOps thought leader Stas Zvinyatskovsky recently participated at the 2019 DevOps World conference media panel where, in a two-hour Q&A, he shared his thoughts on DevOps covering everything from common misunderstandings to where he thinks the DevOps industry is headed.

1. What is still the biggest misunderstanding when it comes to DevOps?

People think it’s all about automation. Don’t get me wrong: automation is great, but it’s not sufficient alone. DevOps is what allows you to answer the question “Can your business actually deliver value continuously?” with a resounding “Yes!”

DevOps is so much more than automation because it’s about creating the technical and cultural infrastructure to support the continuous, rapid, easy delivery of value.

Another misconception that I often run into is that people think DevOps is all about tools. They say, “We do DevOps: we use Jenkins.”

What we say is DevOps is a set of values and practices, and tools like Jenkins support and enable them. You can’t live without the tools. But they should be in service of the values and processes, not the other way around.

2. Do you think success and the ROI of DevOps is being measured more accurately today? How?

I don’t think so. At least not inside companies. Businesses generally struggle to define which data to collect and what to do with it. We have industry surveys that are really good, but inside companies it hasn’t been happening.

I wrote a blog post about important metrics for software teams. There are only a few of them and they are relatively easy to collect. But companies don’t do that.

It’s a mystery to me: I honestly don’t know why companies don’t measure things that are actually important. One thing that I noticed is that people tend to overcomplicate these things and to try to fit the DevOps way of delivery into their pre-DevOps concepts. And that makes things unnecessarily complex.

3. What is the biggest DevOps success surprise you’ve encountered?

Every single team that I have encountered that achieved true Continuous Deployment – meaning there’s no human intervention after the code is merged – stopped branching, which makes sense: if you are checking in code and it’s in production in just a few minutes, safely – why branch? The fact that so many teams successfully achieve continuous deployment – that is both a surprise and a success to me.

4. Where do you think DevOps is headed in the next 6-12 months?

I don’t expect any revolutionary changes in the next 6-12 months. Companies will continue jostling over the control of your software delivery pipeline…

Longer term, I think several things:

  • The Ops part of DevOps has been underserved. I think, naturally, that’s where we expect to gain more quality and productivity.
  • The discipline needs to start talking more about aspects of enabling Continuous Deliver of Value that are NOT automation. As I said, DevOps is so much more than that.
  • (I’m going to say something controversial) What we have seen over the last several years with Kubernetes is the law of preservation of complexity at play. Containers were supposed to make things simple and uniform. But people have taken all of their complexity and brought it into this new world. And the same thing happened with many delivery pipelines as well.
  • I think, over time, automation will become invisible and it will just be the way things are done around here. I think cloud providers will codify best practices and it will be just the way things are done.

5. What do you think is you/your company’s DevOps superpower and why?

Our people and the transformation experience they bring. We have the most experience implementing engineering and business transformations. We provide a comprehensive solution for your concept-to-cash Value Stream.

DevOps is a critical piece of the puzzle, but it’s only one piece. You need to look at the entire business and make sure that it’s aligned – from the architecture, the organizational infrastructure, your roles and responsibilities, your leadership, strategy, how you bring products to market – all of it goes together. You can’t just focus on one part of the puzzle and expect everything else to fall into place.

The real DevOps superheroes are the people who work on improving the overall system, not just their patch.

Accenture also received a CloudBees Innovation Awards award for DevOps Scalability Achievement by the DevOps World event organizers, CloudBees. This award recognizes “organizations who have achieved outstanding results in their DevOps transformations.”

Photo by DevOpsTV.