In the war between Development and IT operations the most important thing to understand is why and how this conflict begins, and from there we can call a truce.
Bridge the Gap
There has been something of a war raging between Development and IT operations, and it’s time to call a truce. The chasm between these two areas has mainly come about because they each see themselves as having different goals to the other, and so they each work towards their own goals, rather than seeing ways to work together. This attitude and approach doesn’t make sense. After all, they are both on the same side. But worse than that, it causes delays in progress.
Why the war?
Traditionally development will have responsibility of responding to changes in the market. They will do this as swiftly as possible in order to catch a wave and they will deploy changes needed into production. IT operations will deal with providing customers with services that are secure and reliable. This has meant the two areas see themselves as being at opposing ends, as IT operations will do its best to stop any changes going ahead that will get in the way of those stable customer services.
Break it down
If we look at how we work through this day to day, we can see why the break down occurs. IT operations has a prime objective of keeping applications and infrastructure running. In some ways this is a constant battle of its own as many of these infrastructures and applications are complex and fragile. Many of our most fragile infrastructures support our most important projects, creating lag and holes. Someone will see a way to plug this hole and improve the situation, perhaps by inventing a new feature which will impress customers. This is often brought to the table by product managers who don’t have the long sight to know how this will be implemented, or even if it can be. Development is then faced with the task of having to implement this in a short time frame, causing further technical problems that need to be solved.
The results are war
All this creates a slowing down of production. All areas of the business become busier and problems are thrown up at every corner. Each department blames another and feels they are each left to sort through problems. This in turn creates fear and mistrust and when faced with changes next time, a growing sense of overwhelming dread. Ambition is replaced by fire fighting.
This might sound like a bleak situation, but it’s one all businesses face at some point. But if we can see our business as essentially IT based, as all companies are, we can start to see a way forward. This often requires us to step back and see the problems that are occurring and why. Once we do this it’s easy to understand how to make changes that streamline and simplify, and the most important change of all is the truce. If we implement DevOps we begin to understand each other as separate, and not opposing, areas of business, that can work together for a shared goal.