Instaread Summary, Analysis & Review of Gene Kim’s, Jez Humble’s, Patrick Debois’s, and John Willis’s The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, & Security in Technology Organizations
Three out of five stars
In many organizations, the Development and Operations teams are distinct and often siloed off from each other. This creates problems with the flow and feedback of creating and supporting products. DevOps is a term used to describe the breaking of the silo walls so that the two groups work together rather than engage in inefficient conflicts, duplication and poor communication. DevOps is a set of principles and tactics used to eliminate and reduce the problems between the two groups.
Everyone that has worked in either of the two groups can no doubt relate problems that had to be dealt with due to development and operations being at odds. There are three broad principles to the implementation of DevOps listed in the “Overview” section of the summary.
*) “The First Way emphasizes the flow of work through the value stream to ensure that it arrives speedily and efficiently at its endpoint in the hands of the consumer.”
*) “The Second Way emphasizes the construction of multiple feedback loops throughout the product’s journey across the value stream. These feedback loops can help Operations inform Development of problems as they arise, so they can be addressed with alacrity.”
*) “The Third Way emphasizes the creation of a corporate culture that values experimentation and learning. By sharing lessons learned in a blameless environment, a company is able to promote innovation and fearlessness.”
There is nothing in these three principles that can be disputed.
The most significant sentence in the summary is that of key takeaway 6:
*) Implementing DevOps requires a major change in company culture.
This is so easy to say, yet so hard to execute. Making major changes in the culture of a large company generally takes years and sometimes just does not work.
While the summary does point out the potential value of implementing DevOps, there is little in the way of depth to the description of what it is. Much of this is the natural limitations of a summary over a complete book. Yet, there could have been more depth to the explanations of what DevOps is, how one implements it and common problems that are encountered. There is too much emphasis on the “rah-rah” aspects. This is summed up in the last key takeaway:
“DevOps can be a tremendous force for good.”
It reminded me of when we studied propaganda in high school, specifically the phrase “Glittering generalities.” There is no additional substance to that sentence, why write a book about something if it adds no significant value?