What DevOps is Not: Defeating Three Common Myths

By David Tucker June 15, 2016

Defining What DevOps is not can provide some clarity and perspective on the topic and help you better understand what DevOps is. DevOps is not developers taking the role of operations, nor is it allowing anyone to deploy code to production at any time. This is a common misnomer due to the way organizations like GitHub, Netflix, and others have configured their build process. While these approaches are popular and often connected to the overall DevOps philosophy, this is not a true DevOps implementation.

  1. DevOps does not mean that developers are responsible for ops and maintenance. This is a common misnomer that many people hold as truth. What it does mean is that ops is considered a first class citizen in the planning process. How an experience is deployed, monitored, and maintained should be just as important as the overall user experience and architecture. Following agile best practices, cross-functional teams should be utilized, which means that ops integrates very closely with either the development teams or at the program level, which provides support to the development teams.
  2. DevOps does not mean that anyone can deploy an experience at anytime. There are multiple methodologies when it comes to deployment within an agile development methodology. The concept of ‘always deploying changes’ is what we refer to as continuous deployment. At Universal Mind we believe that DevOps as a whole exists to enable continuous delivery. There is a significant difference between these two. One of the core principles of the Scaled Agile Framework is ‘develop on cadence, release on demand’. We believe that decisions to release software should be strategic. We don’t believe in infrequent monolithic releases, but we do believe that you should release code to your users when it makes sense for your organization.
  3. DevOps does not mean that governance and compliance must fall by the wayside. Some have reviewed the development methodologies of organizations like Netflix and Facebook and assume that the entire concept of DevOps cannot exist within their industry. Verticals like Financial Services, Healthcare, and Government may have unique challenges in terms of compliance. However, creating a DevOps culture with continuous delivery is possible even in these challenging verticals. Successful organizations have determined what processes can be automated and which become a part of the release management process. There are many organizations that have embraced DevOps while also moving forward their compliance, governance, and security initiatives.

If you are fighting an internal battle to embrace DevOps concepts, the first step may be using this information to defeat the myths. With many organizations struggling to even give a definition of what DevOps is, it is clear that most people are bringing their own ideological baggage to discussions about it.