Imagine yourself in one of the following scenarios (if you have not been in one of these scenarios yet, I imagine you could be sooner than you think):
- You have just been told invited to implement DevOps at your organization
- You were just told invited to lead your company to the cloud by X year
- You are already embarking on your DevOps and/or cloud journey and you question if you are leading your team down an effective path
- You have not been told invited to do anything around DevOps or the cloud and you have taken a proactive approach to implementing DevOps best practices within your team
Congratulations! Please pass Go and Collect $200 (not literally but in the Monopoly board game kind of way).
These are common scenarios I have found clients in as we start initial conversations and begin working with them. One thing I want to caution you of before I dive into three common questions (and answers) below is this – do not assume you all have the same definition of DevOps and the cloud. You will want to get very clear on what DevOps and the cloud mean to you, your team and your organization as a whole. If you are just embarking on this journey, you may not have clarity on what it means to the entire organization and at the very least the individuals responsible for deploying something from idea to production should be clear. DevOps is not just one person with a title or one team leading the charge, it is truly a mindset shift. Architecting your environment for a cloud-first approach is not just clicking a few buttons in a portal and spinning something up, it too is a mindset shift.
If you disagree with the underlined sentence above, stop reading here, the Q&A below will not add value to you… yet.
Question 1: Do I need to invite the infrastructure team to this DevOps engagement?
For context, this question came during a project kick off call for a DevOps Assessment engagement. They wanted this DevOps Assessment conducted to make sure they were in alignment with their ideal state and to get a roadmap on how to go from their current state to their ideal state.
Answer: Absolutely. The very nature of this question made me glad they were bringing us in. Anyone who is responsible for implementation from idea to production (including stakeholders/business, maintenance, support and infrastructure to make sure its going to perform in production) should be part of the DevOps conversation. Don’t get me wrong, each role will have a different responsibility but you will want to be singing from the same sheet of music. I have yet to come across an organization where “the dev team” wanted “the ops team” to tell them what to do and vice versa (if you have found this purple squirrel team that wanted to be told what to do please enlighten me). Be one team with one ideal state and get clear on the role each team member is going to play on the journey toward the ideal state. Also keep in mind you will want a continuous feedback loop and based on this feedback and new experiences/expertise your ideal state may shift.
Question 2: We don’t know what we don’t know about the cloud, can you still help us?
For context, this question comes up quite a bit, usually from Infrastructure and Security teams and also from Dev, Marketing and Ops teams. One recent scenario was a dev team who wanted to move an application to Azure and the other teams – Infrastructure, Security, Operations, etc. wanted to get on the same page with choices and get questions answered around governance, pricing, architecture and security.
Answer 2: Yes! We have a variety of ways we can assist clients who are in a similar state. We have done week long “Azure Fundamentals” engagements, 1 day high level overview workshops, 2 day deep-dive workshops with teams as well as helped companies compare which cloud solution is right for them. While Microsoft Azure is our tool of choice, we can help compare workloads in Azure to other cloud solutions from a capabilities and cost perspective. I have found that most of the teams that had this question were on board with the cloud, they just want to understand how it will affect them. For example, the security team wants to ensure the cloud solution chosen has security measures in place that ensure compliance with their security audits and whoever controls the budget wants to make sure there are restrictions in place that don’t allow anyone to spin up anything they want in the cloud with no consideration for the budget on the project. In some cases, dev teams may have played around with Azure and they want to make sure they are educated on which path makes the most sense for them, should they simply rehost in Azure via IaaS or could they rearchitect/refactor/rebuild via some of the PaaS offerings. If you are not sure what you want out of the cloud or if you are on the right path, we can help.
Question 3: Should I start by buying a DevOps tool?
Answer: That is a no (without hesitation). We highly recommend starting first with processes, people and the mindset shift then seeing how the tools you already own can help you achieve success. You may decide to buy additional tools to either replace or augment the ones you have but starting with a tool will 9 times out of 10 lead you down an ineffective path. There is no silver bullet tool, you cannot skip the hard part of defining processes. The combination of people, processes and tools along with the mindset of continuously delivering value to your customers will lead you down an effective DevOps path.
If you have not started talking about DevOps and cloud solutions in your organization or if you have questions that were not answered here, on the monopoly board analogy I am here to offer you the get out of jail free card. Please contact me at Chelsea@NebbiaTech.com and I will be happy to have a conversation with you!