This is the first in a series of bitesize DevOps blogs by AL Partner and Co-Founder Kris Saxton. Part one is introducing DevOps and differentiating it from other industry methodologies.

At its heart, DevOps is very simple: DevOps is an organisational model where people operate in teams arranged around a product or service instead of a function or specialism.

Born into the same revolutionary family, DevOps is often confused and conflated with its siblings Agile and Digital Transformation, so let’s take a moment to define and disambiguate:

The goal of DevOps is to get a valuable change delivered to a user more quickly and DevOps does this by gathering all the key stakeholders within a “value chain” (generally a software product or service) and organising them into a single team.  This team then has the singular goal of getting the most valuable change delivered into the hands of its users as quickly and safely as possible.

This makes DevOps an enabler of Digital Transformation (where the valuable change is a new software product or feature).  Also, because DevOps seeks to increase speed by breaking down functional silos and their related processes, it borrows heavily from Agile which seeks to prioritise “individuals and interactions over processes and tools” and “working software over comprehensive documentation”.

DevOps done right, to me is when a team has the ability to deliver value to a customer without having to wait for any external resource or person. In other words, they are dependent only on themselves and are fully autonomous. The speed at which they move is determined by their own skills and abilities, not by waiting for anything or anyone.

The organisational model is the key differentiation between DevOps and Agile or Digital Transformation. You can’t do these without changing the organisational model. What’s unfortunate for those trying to understand DevOps is it has a technical title and following, but actually the thing that’s most radical about it is the organisational change it demands. I sometimes think it should actually be called ‘DevFinSecHRArchOps’, but that’s not very catchy. Basically, you have to bring everybody with you.

The end goal for an organisation is to connect with people who are creating a product or service with the end customer or user of that service. And in so doing, create a ‘tight’ feedback loop so the team is able to understand whether or not the thing they are building is adding value to the organisation.