Pandemic moved the 3rd Kosovo AWS User Group meetup online where Polymath Labs CEO Visar Gashi discussed DevOps culture, engineering, and how it relates to your organization and your career.

The DevOps ethos lies at the heart of Polymath Labs’ culture, ensuring our structure and processes are all defined by the unifying goal of adding value.

DevOps, the Movement

Joined by Diatom Labs CEO, Altin Ukshini, our CEO Visar Gashi took the official Polymath Labs - AWS User Group Meetup online, offering attendees from around the world an intimate, firsthand look at how two elite technical minds have used DevOps to build thriving businesses. For the uninitiated, DevOps is as "a movement driving the optimization of value delivery" representing the logical continuation of Agile software development practices. In fact, Visar sees DevOps as the last missing piece of the puzzle, completing the Agile delivery promise:

DevOps, the final piece of the Agile puzzle

Joining the DevOps "movement" requires a culture shift, as organizations adopt a DevOps driven culture, they go from siloed / reactive to collaborative / proactive:

From:
  • Large Siloed teams
  • Error prone manual processes
  • Distributed responsibility
  • Delegated blame
  • Inherently political priorities
  • High cost of delivery
To:
  • Small integrated teams
  • Repeat-proof automated processes
  • Shared responsibility
  • Blameless collaboration
  • Value focused priorities
  • Lower cost of delivery

DevOps drives a holistic approach to assessing and perfecting an organization’s function, and it all relies on having a corporate culture defined by the transformation to a high trust collaborative model. On more than one occassion, Visar referenced the The DevOps Handbook as a great source of wisdom, and a required desk reference for anyone looking to get involved in the DevOps movement. The book authors have the following to say on the topic of transformation:

”Instead of a culture of fear, we have a high-trust, collaborative culture, where people are rewarded for taking risks. They are able to fearlessly talk about problems as opposed to hiding them or putting them on the backburner—after all, we must see problems in order to solve them. And, because everyone fully owns the quality of their work, everyone builds automated testing into their daily work and uses peer reviews to gain confidence that problems are addressed long before they can impact a customer. These processes mitigate risk, as opposed to approvals from distant authorities, allowing us to deliver value quickly, reliably, and securely—even proving to skeptical auditors that we have an effective system of internal controls.” The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations" - Gene Kim, Patrick Debois, John Willis, Jez Humble, John Allspaw

DevOps Engineering

If we are all part of the DevOps culture, is there really a need for DevOps Engineers? The answer is a resounding, Yes, specialization is still important! Once a DevOps culture is established, then come processes and tools, and DevOps Engineers are the specialists.

As organizations and individuals transform to DevOps, it important to note that the “DevOps Engineer” role is new, no prior role translates well. A common misconception regarding the DevOps Engineer role leads to the reduction of the adoption of DevOps to a mere change of titles. While any engineer can strive to, and become a DevOps engineer, swapping a System Admin title with a DevOps Engineer one, for example, does the organization and the individual a disservice.

DevOps and Your Organization

So how does an organization transform to DevOps? Gradually, and with deliberate planning. DevOps offers the blueprints, the destination varies by organization, and each organization fits somewhere in spectrum starting from a reactive culture, moving toward an optimized one:

Visar Gashi Polymath Labs Presents DevOps And Your Organization

It is important to note that each organization must weigh the cost / benefit of where they want to be in that spectrum. It doesn't mean that every organization must and will strive for the highest level of maturity. Many attributes of the organization (e.g. size) play a role on the objective destination. But the key point is to have a deliberate DevOps plan and roadmap.

Final Thoughts

In closing, Visar emphasized the role of continuous learning - both as organizations and individuals - in the success of DevOps. In addition to the The DevOps Handbook referenced earlier, he also recommended The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford, a fictional novel that provides an entertaining introduction to DevOps transformation.

For the entire recording of the presentation, including the second part covered by Diatom Labs CEO, Altin Ukshini, visit the AWS User Group | Kosovo Meetup page.

Contact us if you want a copy of the presentation.