DevOps is the glue

I saw a tweet recently “DevOps is not a job title“. It got me thinking. I know what they were saying and I half agree. Let me explain.

It’s becoming increasingly common to see DevOps jobs advertised. My former employer was one of the first to create the role “DevOps Manager”, with sysadmins and developers reporting directly to the same person. IMHO it worked well.

So DevOps can be a job title. And I’ve seen it work.

But I understand what the author of the tweet was talking about. You can’t get a Uni degree in DevOps. And you can’t replace a developer and a sysadmin with a single DevOps guy to save money (well you can, but it won’t end well).

Let’s frame this in work culture.  There are attributes that clearly distinguish someone as DevOps person. They are exceptional communicators. They understand enough about the disciplines of operations and development to be able to bridge the gap. I see them as the glue that sticks the two sides together.

But you don’t need to replace all your devs and ops staff with DevOps staff to get the benefits of the movement and the approach.

Your UI specialist shouldn’t necessarily have to understand backend storage. You may have a grumpy DBA that guards company data fanatically but wouldn’t be seen at a standup unless dragged along by the ear. Or a developer who needs to be locked in a dark room alone for a week to make something awesome. That’s ok too.  People all work in different ways.  You just need a few DevOps talented and passionate DevOps people to help these people work together effectively.

Change the work culture (if it needs change) and get the communications going. Don’t worry excessively about the technology. You might find the tools (almost) build themselves.  It’s the DevOps community that’s the harder (and more important) part.

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