DevOps Myths Debunked

Content By Devops .com

Leaders need not be DevOps experts, but they need to distinguish DevOps myths and realities to lead their digital transformation projects.

As I indicated in a recent article, Engineering Practices Can Overcome DevOps Challenges, leaders need to set an inspiring DevOps directional vision for the organization, and proactively stimulate and sponsor team activities toward goals. To be credible, communication from leaders need to distinguish between myth and reality. It is easy for leaders to get confused, because there are many popular myths surrounding DevOps. It’s important to remember that, in DevOps, definitions and engineering best practices for DevOps have not entirely been nailed down.

As Doug Miller, senior director strategic partnerships, Perforce Software, said “Working in an industry that has yet to settle on an accepted ‘definition’ for DevOps makes each day a challenge. The ever-morphing landscape makes it difficult for technology vendors and consumers alike to ensure we’re all talking about the same thing in the same way.”

Here are some of the most important myths that leaders need to be aware of.

Debunking DevOps Myths

Myth: “DevOps is a cultural movement.”

The truth is that implementing DevOps requires a careful and balanced engineering approach that considers a wide array of people, process and technology aspects. In my article, The Time Has Come for an Engineering Approach to DevOps, I explained that while culture is a critical success factor, DevOps is much more than just culture. Furthermore, DevOps is not just a movement. In the larger context of software engineering history, the word “DevOps” is new, and perhaps it will be replaced by another word someday, but the underlying engineering principles and practices that constitute DevOps could apply to almost any engineering project throughout the ages.

Myth: “DevOps requires continuous deployments.”

The truth is that DevOps enables continuous delivery of release artifacts to a staging environment to be ready to deploy safely, but frequent deployments to production is not always a goal. There are valid customer use cases that do not desire frequent deployments to production. For example, customers may not want to receive a new version of a software platform product frequently, because each new version may be disruptive and risky for reasons beyond the scope of the product itself. The engineering benefits of delivering complete releases to staging without deployment to production are still considerable. Each release is produced and validated in a pre-production environment, and made ready for deployment on demand without disrupting customers that do not want to take a new release.

Myth: “DevOps applies to any software product, service or application.”

The truth is that DevOps engineering yields high ROI in many circumstances, but some cases do not warrant investment in the people, process, and technology changes needed for DevOps. For example, applications that rarely change do not warrant the cost of DevOps changes. Organizations that are heavily siloed will find it too frustrating and counterproductive to implement DevOps. The application of DevOps to some commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products may not yield sufficient ROI, because business-to-business barriers may behave as impenetrable organizational silos. Applications that have few tools in their toolchains suitable for DevOps may find the transition to DevOps too expensive.

Myth: “DevOps requires Agile.”

The truth is that DevOps and Agile can be either complementary or competitive. The notions of working with small, incremental changes is common to both Agile and DevOps. However, organizations that embrace Agile are focused on optimization of the development end of the pipeline, and may struggle with DevOps, which emphasizes engineering of end-to-end process optimizations.

Myth: “The scope of DevOps is the same as CI/CD.”

The truth is that a well-engineered DevOps implementation encompasses continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), but also extend beyond integration and delivery into other practice areas such as planning, operations, governance, disaster recovery and other practices that must work together with CI/CD to accomplish business goals.

Myth: “DevOps does not apply to platform products such as software code embedded in manufactured products.”

The truth is that DevOps does apply to embedded code products, as well as web services, business applications and other types of products. It even applies to development of software and services for DevOps itself! In the case of platform products, typically, deployments are planned. They are not continuous, but, instead, continuous deliveries of candidate releases are delivered to a staging environment to make sure the changes implemented for the platform are fully developed and verified as the platform is built, instead of waiting for a big-bang release.

Myth: “DevOps is an elimination of IT operations.”

Jeremy Bosch, in his article, Top 9 Debunked DevOps Myths, “As per the NoOps concept, the IT sector will become so automated that it will not require any in-house team to manage the software. However, no matter how automated the services may become, there will always be a need for operations. Although there may be changes in operations, they will still hold significance in DevOps.”

There are many persistent myths about DevOps, such as the examples in this article, that can confuse and misdirect uninformed leaders. Leaders that learn to distinguish between DevOps myths and realities are better able to communicate realistic goals to lead their digital transformation projects.

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