Engineering

Keep CALM And Embrace DevOps – Culture

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Summary
Interested in learning about the CALMS DevOps framework? Read More.

Keep CALM And Embrace DevOpsThis is my first blog post at AppDynamics, and I have to say that it’s great to be aboard. It’s been a hectic first couple of weeks, but the energy, enthusiasm and friendliness of everyone I have met has made me very excited about 2015! AppDynamics has a market leading APM and analytics platform but it also takes great people to make a great company – and AppDynamics has a wealth of talent!

So to start my blogging life at AppDynamics I want to focus on something that is a red-hot buzzword in IT at the moment – DevOps! For the last couple of years, every conference I attended and nearly every call I had at Forrester had a discussion on DevOps. There is a good reason for this, because from my perspective, DevOps promises that the software-powered business can deliver quality app-fueled business services rapidly, to delight customers.

I would also say that the term DevOps is not encompassing enough as it’s not just about development and operations. It’s also about the business, because in today’s digital business, every function is accountable for software strategy success. Take a look here at this blog by my colleague Anand Akela for our view on BizDevOps.

The CALMS Framework For DevOps

In most discussions I have had with ops professionals, one question came up again and again in regards to DevOps, and this was “Is there a framework for DevOps adoption?” Now there are good reasons for this question and one is that many enterprise ops folk are aware of frameworks such as ITIL. But rather than a framework, ITIL morphed itself into a whole, daunting library of books. This is something, which I hope never happens with DevOps!

But there is one framework that has emerged which was originally coined by Jez Humble (@jezhumble), a pioneer in DevOps. Jez devised the CALMS framework, which makes perfect sense to me (Ok I know the title of my blog says ‘Keep Calm’ but I am in marketing now ☺):

C – Culture
A – Automation
L – Lean
M – Measurement
S – Sharing

Let’s Start With Culture

Culture – One of the most used words in business today. “It’s all about the culture…”,Culture is how organizations ‘do things;…“, “Culture is about rituals….”, etc., etc. Well, that clears up what culture means?!?!? The reality is that culture is such a fluffy term that it means something different to different circumstances, people, businesses, industries, countries, etc.

To define culture and what it means for DevOps you have to understand the starting point, or the challenges that your enterprise’s operating model currently faces in regards to software strategy and what the end, new ‘DevOps’ operating model looks like. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. Shift from a fear of failure, to a fail-fast, fail-forward approach. DevOps is about speed. If your operating model today promotes zero failure and employees are scared of failing then you will stifle the ability to innovate, to promote new ways of doing things, to move fast. Failure can be good so long as we learn and improve. This is all part of innovation, which is central to DevOps.
  2. Shift from a tech obsession, to a customer obsession. In today’s digital world, it can be so easy to get caught up with tech buzzwords such as mobile, wearables and cloud. But the rules of business have not changed. Deliver what your customers want, delight them, and hopefully they will help to promote your brand. This means that every employee has to think about the external customer, their needs, their wants in order to guide strategic decisions. It’s about moving from an inside-out to an outside-in operating model.
  3. Shift from organizational silos to a collaborative model. Let’s face it, the desire for collaboration across different business functions has always been a goal. But collaboration is never as good as it can be. I could write a whole book about why, but largely this is because business = people = different agendas = politics = failure to collaborate. To move fast, deliver quality software rapidly, and then it’s essential we get collaboration right. This is not just about collaboration between Dev and Ops, but an operating model that promotes collaboration across business functions (e.g. digital teams, marketing), development and operations.
  4. Shift from big data confusion to real-time information driven insight. In the fast moving world of DevOps information and insights in context will be your business lifeline. This means that having application data such as engagement, technical and business data (revenue etc.) changed quickly into information that can be consumed by different business audiences is essential to making fact-based strategic decisions. So we have to move away from the current confusion around big data and analytics and shift to an operating model that makes an analytics solution that focuses on applications, a core part of making strategic decisions in regards to software strategy.      

Why APM And Analytics Is Key To DevOps Culture

Having worked with many enterprises and APM solution vendors in my time at Forrester, I believe that a great APM solution can support all four of my points above. We are at a turning point in the APM market as APM is no longer just about incident management and response but is about making sense of application data, turning it into insight to support business decisions. A great APM solution today has analytics baked in and it has to be simple to use i.e. simple to turn data into information, simple to display information to different audiences. At AppDynamics, we uphold three core principles for our application intelligence platform:

  • See – Our platform is able to safeguard and optimize application performance from the end-user (customer or employee) through to the infrastructure workload and database/data store backend. This means that we can detect potential issues before they impact the customer. This supports a fail-fast, fail-forward operating model in a customer-obsessed business.
  • Act – Our platform includes automation features meaning that the business can respond quickly to potential problems that could impact the customer. So for example, if an application server is being maxed out, we make it easy to automatically spin up another server before a performance or outage issue. On top of this our war room feature makes it simple for the business, development and operations to collaborate looking at the same information in real-time, to resolve issues quickly.
  • Know – Our integrated application analytics makes it easy to display information in context of the audience. We collect all application data and make it simple to for technical or non-technical audiences to change this data into information so that strategic insights can be made.

In my next blog I will tackle Automation but for now I would love to hear your comments on DevOps and culture.

Anand and IDC Vice President, Stephen Elliot, the author of the “DevOps and the Cost of Downtime: Fortune 1000 Best Practice Metrics Quantified” report will be speaking on and upcoming webinar about DevOps best practices. Register now!