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DevOps and Agile – my favourite quotes

Barry Corless

I’ve listed nine of my favourite awesome quotes relating to DevOps and Agile with a little bit of personal commentary added for good measure.  By the way, there’s a twist in here if you pay attention to the words in capitals.

“If you adopt only one #agile practice, let it be retrospectives. Everything else will follow.” @WoodyZuill

You have to have those retrospectives.  Learn quickly and often enough that you don’t simply plough on and exacerbate any issues. PROGRESS ITERATIVELY with a retrospective after each cycle and you will improve.  Make them learning sessions and not “Blamefest 17”

“Devs are from Venus. Ops are from Mars”  Steve Haines 

Dev and Ops are human and will always fight to retain their own culture.  There are elements of both that can be adopted without disrespecting the other.  A positive culture comes from empathy and emotional intelligence.  It’s not about compromise, Dev and Ops must learn to COLLABORATE and do what’s best for the common good.

“Develop Systems not software” Ben Butler Cole

It’s so easy to get stuck and be working in your functional bubble.  A DevOps culture is designed to prick that bubble.  We can see functionality, security, automation, support and knowledge as the sum parts of a greater whole.  The trick is to develop to a state where we THINK AND WORK HOLISTICALLY

“The most powerful tool we have as developers is automation” Scott Hanselman 

If you automate garbage you get…err…well…automated garbage.  Automation in the release cycle can give you speed and consistency but doesn’t guarantee quality.  The tools just aren’t available to automate the kind of complexity and out of the box thinking that is built into many release and change mechanisms.  AI is coming but can only take you so far.  The easiest way to glean the benefits of automation is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

“Deployment celebrations should be about the value of new features, not joyful relief that nothing went wrong” Rebecca Parsons

“We had a release yesterday.  Nothing has gone wrong yet” was a comment in a recent conversation I had with a senior leader at a utility company.  In fairness, she knew exactly what the business value of the new release was but it’s a natural first communication that “Look it didn’t fail” as opposed to “Look what you can do now”.  FOCUS ON VALUE in development, deployment and adding more at the next iteration.

“The relationship between dev and ops in a company is defined by the release process. You will understand the relationship if you examine this process.”

I can guarantee that there are elements of your development and deployment practices that you’re going to want to keep from the Dev and Ops houses as you move towards the holy grail of an automated release process.  Don’t throw both on the garbage heap as you seek to lean it down.  START WHERE YOU ARE…there is no need to reinvent the wheel

“Users don’t know what they want. Users know what theydon’t want once you’ve built it for them.”  Jez Humble

An iterative, continuous delivery approach to defining functionality, operability and usability makes it far more likely that you’ll get more things right first time.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and fail learn fast (always though fail fast without learn was nonsense.  Thanks Ed.).  You’ll get an immediate chance to put it right and learn lessons.  In all of this remember who the service is being delivered to and DESIGN FOR EXPERIENCE of your customer.

Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.

Involving and immersing yourself in the business activity services are supporting allows you to fully understand the value they add.  You’ll understand better what are the Must, Should and Could features you need to deliver.  Equally, it becomes easier to spot where improvements can be made if you get out there and OBSERVE DIRECTLY what actually happens when customers sample your digital experience.

To tell the truth is an act of love. To withhold the truth is an act of hate. Or worse, apathy.” ― Gene Kim, The Phoenix Project

Always tell the truth to your customer, your colleagues, your supplier or indeed any of the stakeholders in any development or delivery lifecycle.  There is nothing worse than having to remember to whom you told that little untruth.  Hopefully, the type of culture that a DevOps approach can foster will make BEING TRANSPARENT a positive experience.

So there we go.  Nine quotes from people with insight into DevOps and Agile environments and culture.  Some sage advice from them to boot.  Did you spot the connection between the words in capitals? Yes, ITIL’s 9 guiding principles for service improvement and delivery.  Continuing investment in the basics of sound service management is not wasted.  See beyond the perceived anti-process rhetoric of people who probably certainly don’t understand DevOps or ITIL.  Remember you can’t be disruptive and innovate without understanding the mould you are breaking.  Derivations of ITIL’s core capabilities still define the best way to support IT Operations.  Without these capabilities your chances of delivering DevOps workstreams?  Don’t hold your breath!

Global Knowledge

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Barry Corless

Global Product Director for DevOps and IT Service Management

As a Global Product Director for leading IT and business skills training specialist Global Knowledge, Barry Corless is responsible for helping organisations enhance organisational capability through application of best practice frameworks.  His role incorporates the development and delivery of service management, DevOps, programme and project management, enterprise architecture and business analysis learning and development solutions.  An experienced consultant and IT specialist, Barry undertook additional voluntary roles Director of itSMF International from 2017-2019, and Chair of itSMF UK from 2009-2011.  

An industry champion for ITIL, Barry credits its common-sense approach to endemic IT issues as the reason for his long-term track record with this international service management practice.  He has trained and consulted on ITIL in over 20 countries. Barry continues to act as an ITIL examiner and has been part of the author team that inputs into the ever-adapting ITIL guidelines.  

Barry’s attraction to analytical problem solving began early and his first ambition was to be a weather man.  He became an Assistant Scientific Officer for The Meteorological Office after leaving school in Cheshire.  Barry recognises that passion for the topic is a key attribute for success as a trainer, as well as the ability to bring a subject to life.  He thinks open-mindedness is vital.  “Lifelong learning has taught me that we all have to prepare to unlearn what we previously accepted as best practice,” he says. 

Having spent over 20 years training he has seen many changes in an industry that has embraced virtual classroom and digital learning.  He advocates the teaching of project management and service management skills early.  “In an economy that is 80% service based, we should be teaching these key management skills in schools,” he says.   

As Best Practice department head, Barry enjoys the variety that his role brings him, and he continues to work with consultancy and education clients to ‘keep it real’.  Barry’s ability to identify with learners makes him a sought-after trainer and his passion and detailed understanding of ITIL meant that Global Knowledge was able to develop the world’s first bridging course for professionals going from ITIL v3 to ITIL 4.  Global Knowledge remains the world’s leading provider of ITIL certification and exams.  

A popular commentator on ITIL and a frequent blogger, Barry doesn’t like to think of himself as ‘one track minded’.  “ITIL skills are transferable outside the IT hinterland and lesson learned in other environments should be used in optimising technology solutions” he promises.  “ITIL4 is more focussed on people, agility and collaboration.  With the pressure on IT teams to provide a lightning-fast route to market, it’s vital that all stakeholders across an organisation and throughout the supply chain are working well together.”  

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