The “Why” should always come before the “How”. It’s important to first set goals–you need to have a target to aim at before you pick up an arrow or draw back the bow. The best tools and practices in the world are essentially useless if you don’t have an idea of what you’re trying to accomplish. So, before you go rushing to embrace DevOps culture, tools, and practices, stop to consider what it is that you hope to accomplish.

It has been fairly well established that DevOps is primarily a function of the underlying culture—DevOps is about breaking down barriers and shifting roles so that teams and individuals are empowered to come up with innovative ideas and execute them without the burden of traditional corporate bureaucracy. It is also understood that there are a variety of tools and platforms out there that enable and automate DevOps processes. However, before an organization can even get to the “How”—the culture and tools of DevOps—it should be able to answer the question, “Why?”

I reached out to organizations that have embraced DevOps and leaders in the DevOps field to see what they had to say about the “why”. What benefits can businesses expect, and what goals can adopting DevOps help them achieve—or achieve faster, or achieve cheaper?

“Delay in delivering innovation comes with an increasingly high price tag, perhaps the loss of an entire market to competitors,” declared Forrester Analyst Charles Betz. “DevOps accelerates and improves the quality of software delivery, but that is not an end in itself. The increased speed provided by DevOps is essential to achieving the fast product feedback needed for digitally transforming enterprises to stay relevant and competitive.”

As Betz points out, companies should implement DevOps for the competitive advantage. Dave Lindquist, IBM Fellow and VP of Private Cloud for IBM, puts it another way. “DevOps is at the heart of the digital transformation. It’s how the next wave of disruptions are being developed and delivered.”

DevOps bridges the gap between development and operations teams. Inspired by agile development and continuous integration, and incorporating their principles, DevOps addresses the challenges of today’s condensed timeline for application development.

In that way, the line between the “Why” and the “How” blurs into a bit of a gray area. Companies should adopt DevOps with specific goals in mind—a vision for what they expect DevOps to do for them—because simply eliminating barriers or implementing tools and platforms without a strategy in place for what that is expected to accomplishment is likely to be a waste of time, money and effort. On the other hand, it is very difficult to execute or achieve those goals without also successfully navigating the “How”.

“Enterprises are navigating major technology shifts and demand is therefore higher than ever for simple and consistent automation and management across hybrid infrastructure and application portfolios,” explained Marc Holmes, VP of Product and Revenue Marketing at Chef. “Organizations should adopt DevOps practices for both the culture and tooling to create a consistent and collaborative workflow so enterprises can build, manage and deploy software quickly and safely in any environment.”

Chris Lippi, VP of product at NGINX, claimed, “DevOps can have a direct effect on your bottom line. According to a recent study from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), ‘Companies that excel at DevOps interactions are 11 times more likely to see double-digit annual revenue growth. It doesn’t stop at revenue growth either. According to EMA, 49 percent of organizations also agree that accelerated delivery frequency leads to higher customer satisfaction, and 35 percent find that it enables them to be more agile and competitive.’”

Read the full story at DevOps.com: In DevOps, Figure Out Why Before Considering How.

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About Author

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

1 Comment

  1. As Simon Sinek points out in his infamous TED TALK, about the Golden circle. The What, how and why? Leading always with the WHY? I love the way you’ve highlted your perspective about the  burden of traditional corporate bureaucracy. In the crux of digital transformation, there is an entire area focusing on DevOps waiting to disrupt the realm and enable accelerated delivery. I’d like to know better about the consistent and collaborative workflows that enterprises can build by adopting to DevOps practices. Thank you

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