What is DevOps? Our network event tries to give the answer


Last night we met for Oatcakes and Tech (our new, regular tech networking event), welcoming our regulars along with a few new faces too. We focused this month on DevOps. As we all know this is the word on everyone’s lips. Across tech teams, senior management and boards alike we’ve all heard the murmurings, the confusion, and of course the question: “What is DevOps?”... 

Well, Stephen Walters kicked us off with his first well-received opinion of the night: there is no such thing as an answer to “What is DevOps?”... Cue enthusiastic nods and a few confused faces around the room.

Steve shared with us some lessons, tips, tricks and insights he’s collected along the way. Perhaps the biggest take home for all of us was “Start with Why”. Taking inspiration from Simon Sinek’s popular TED talk – it was put to us that the most successful and pioneering businesses are bound to be those that start with why. (If you’ve not heard of Simon Sinek, hit Google up NOW)

In DevOps transformations or any kind of transformation, let’s start with why. You might be tempted to look first at What you want to do: in the case of DevOps that could be increased automation, faster releases or even more releases. Next, you might look at How you do it: by implementing tools such as Elasticsearch, Ansible, Chef and the like. But – and here’s the rub – have you actually examined and appropriately considered Why you want to do it. You should do this first. What do you want to achieve? Will it lead to success? (How will you measure that success?) Will it actually make you better, more profitable, more competitive? Why?

This was a topic hotly debated and in the end we agreed that there is no “What is DevOps” only “Why DevOps”.

More intricately, we discussed the challenges of setting up your structures and cultures to embrace a DevOps transformation, the benefits of “Thinking Agile”, examining and assigning value to different activities within the project along with starting small whilst thinking big.

The Oatcakes and Milkshakes team were fantastic keeping us well lubricated with teas, coffees and milkshakes and we even had time to try their award winning oatcakes. A fantastic evening had by all and we proved once again that there is a significant appetite for fuss free tech networking in Staffordshire.

We closed with a chat/ vote on what next for O&T – How GDPR might affect tech seemed a popular choice – but watch this space and get involved!

With special thanks to Stephen Walters, Lead Solutions Consultant at HPE and indeed all our lovely members.

Any further contributions, thoughts or feedback gladly received.