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5 Key Takeaways: State of DevOps Panel

By September 6, 2021July 24th, 2023Blog, Staff

Contributed by Tracy Miranda, CD Foundation

At the end of August, we hosted the State of DevOps Panel with guest speakers Nigel Kersten, Puppet; Ger McMahon, Fidelity Investments; Tiffany Jachja, Vox Media; and me, Tracy Miranda, as the moderator.

TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch)

Now, you’re back from vacation but you might not have time to watch the entire discussion so we summarized five key takeaways for you!

5 Key Takeaways

1. Don’t Let DevOps Just Happen to You

The State of DevOps Report highlights how DevOps is ubiquitous in software development, but it is rarely done well at scale, particularly in the enterprise. The report aims to help with this problem.

“Every leader and successful team in this space understands the work they do will change and evolve. The State of DevOps report gives us a really good sense of the landscape of change in this fast-progressing industry.”

– Tiffany Jachja

“95% of people in IT just aren’t engaged in the conversation, and DevOps ends up being something that happens to them. The State of DevOps report aims to reach folks especially in enterprises & make DevOps more accessible to everyone. It is a tool for the change agents.”

– Nigel Kersten

2. How You Set Up Your Teams Matters—A Lot

What’s holding most enterprises back is their organizational structure and dynamics. If you want to improve, take a good hard look at how all your teams are set up and how they interact. 

Shoutout to @TeamTopologies model for how to organize a big software delivery organization (stream-aligned teams supported by platform teams & enabling teams with clear interaction models). This model correlates to higher evolved DevOps organizations.

3 key features that teams that are good at DevOps have:

  1. Strong identities, well understood across the org
  2. Clear responsibilities with a high degree of autonomy
  3. Well defined communication channels with other teams

“This 100% reflects reality.”

– Ger McMahon

“At Fidelity, we lean heavily into team identities, taking some inspiration from sports teams. The teams use distinct names and strong branding that speak to what they want to be known for, their philosophy, principles, personality etc.”

– Ger McMahon

“We know we have happy developers when their code is being shipped out, it’s having an impact, people understand it and we’re having meaningful discussions about it. ”

– Tiffany Jachja

Team identity and investment are key.

“Local team optimizations come at the cost of global optimizations. Don’t do that.”

– Nigel Kersten

The big myth in DevOps is that we should all be collaborating all of the time. But collaboration is really expensive and this can limit scale. Instead collaborate deeply at the design phase then convert this to defined interaction paradigms (e.g. APIs).

3. Platform Teams Are Key to Success at Scale

An internal platform is one that’s been built by and for the organization. It is typically a self-service way to enable other teams to build and deliver applications or services. The platform team engineers the internal platform and ultimately scale out the benefits of DevOps across the organization. 

“Platform teams aren’t rebranded shared services teams. Platform teams are API-first, which lets their users recompose those and come up with their own solutions.”

– Nigel Kersten

4. Product Managers for Platform Teams Will Be One of the Most In-demand Roles

The key to an effective internal platform is to treat the platform as a product, for example by having a roadmap, gathering requirements from internal stakeholders, testing features and getting fast feedback from teams that will use them. This responsibility will fall to a product manager for the platform team—a role already in high demand.

5. High DevOps Evolution Is Key to Good Security 

Being able to deploy software frequently, having a short lead time for changes and a low change failure rate are qualities of highly evolved DevOps organizations and these capabilities also happen to be extremely helpful when it comes to dealing with security vulnerabilities in software. 

“The practice of making sure as an organization you can deliver software frequently gives you a much better security posture.”

– Nigel Kersten

⚠️ This is often the best argument to take to your boss to help improve your DevOps practices.

Want more?

More insights in this Twitter Thread. Feel free to Retweet 🙂


For more on security join us at SupplyChainSecurityCon on October 11 (virtually or in-person), co-located with KubeCon + CloudNativeCon. The program has already been announced and the speaker lineup is great!