DevOps Driving School - Explaining DevOps in 5 Minutes

DevOps is not a title, not a box to buy, nor a software to install - how can you explain DevOps in 5 minutes, e.g. as an elevator pitch riding up to the top floor with your boss?

DevOps is like a driving license for running code in production

In my opinion, this is the easiest and best explanation, that everybody can understand. Specifically, it is like a motorcycle driving license and this analogy carries surprisingly far, e.g.:

  • motorcyclists pass a theoretical exam → Engineers should know about their obligations before working in production

  • motorcyclists drive on their own, the instructor drives behind and gives instructions via radio → Engineers should work in production and a DevOps coach should accompany them with expertise

  • motorcyclists are fully accountable for their mistakes (e.g. hitting a tree) while they learn driving → Engineers working in production are fully accountable for their mistakes, e.g. opening a database to the internet

  • ... and so on

It is important to note, that DevOps is - in the end - the result of doing the right things. To make it simple to check your "DevOps adoption", I created these 5 DevOps Principles which serve criteria or key performance indicators (KPI) against which you can measure your own progress:

  • … if every person uses the same tool for the same job

  • … codified knowledge - everybody contributing their part to common automation

  • … if all people have the same privileges in their tooling

  • … if human error is equally possible for Dev and Ops

  • … replacing people interfaces by automated decisions and processes

Doing all of these topics properly will yield DevOps as a result. See 5 DevOps Principles Homepage for more resources, talks, slides and videos.

It is important to keep in mind that DevOps solves primarily a people problem, and not a tech problem. You can even keep using your existing tech stack and achieve DevOps if you treat all Engineers equally.

Watch my DevOps Driving School 5 minute lightning talk (download slides) for my version of this elevator pitch:

I gave this talk at the 46th BLN DevOps Meetup on May 30th, 2024. Sadly my talk was the only DevOps-specific talk at this event, which maybe also shows a little bit the decline of DevOps as a hot topic. In my observation however, DevOps is still very much a thing, and many organisations or companies still struggle with getting DevOps done right.

Are you interested in learning more about the topic of transformation in your company, or how to establish Platform Engineering? Together with my colleagues from Tektit Consulting I'll be happy to support you with your personal DevOps, GitOps, Platform Engineering or transformation journey!


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