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Demystifying Dev Ops: What It Is and What It Isn’t

By: Craig Morrow, Jennifer Habos


Many organizations struggle with fostering fluid and iterative DevOps, and this will continue to plague organizations across all industries. Gartner predicts that throughout 2022, 75% of DevOps initiatives will fail to meet their expectations. These failures will be caused in large part by problems related to organizational learning and change management.

Even organizations with ample resources, budgets, and high-tech tools at their disposal fail to successfully complete a DevOps transformation. Why? According to George Spafford, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, it’s “the people-related factors” of DevOps — not issues with technology — that tend to pose the greatest challenges.

In this article, we’ll explore how organizations can provide people-centric solutions to business problems through effective and continuously iterated DevOps.

What is DevOps?

A mash-up of “development” and “operations”, DevOps combines an organization’s tools, practices, and company culture to promote iterative, value add services to be delivered across the enterprise. DevOps goes beyond simply assisting with delivery in a more cyclical manner, it includes the rapid and consistent improvement of tools and service and the teams that use them. As a result, DevOps helps organizations better serve customers and outperform the competition.

It may seem like DevOps is all about upholding enterprise tools and services. However, at its core, great DevOps is about marrying agility and collaboration with process and control. It’s never just about how tools are deployed — DevOps is about the people deploying them, and how teamwork and collaboration can best support their goals. 

“People, Process, and Technology” is a popular phrase in DevOps, but few understand how to truly weigh People, Process, and Technology equally. Successful DevOps transformations take the best parts of agile, ITIL, and company culture and turn them into a highly effective consumable service — one that benefits every part of all organization sizes and types.

Why are Organizations Failing at DevOps?

One of the main reasons DevOps initiatives fail can be boiled down to a single flaw: focusing heavily on the tech and tools, but giving little attention to the people behind the technology.

This key DevOps roadblock stems from a cultural problem present within many organizations. Often, the enterprise addresses DevOps challenges by throwing more technology at the problem. They try to build faster, stronger, more “powerful” solutions to keep up with modern-day technology and customer expectations. Instead of empowering end-users, this leaves behind complexities that turn into massive DevOps challenges that prevent future innovations.

Meanwhile, the root cause of almost all DevOps problems is actually related to the people, not the technology. This can include insufficient training, lack of accountability, and failing to nurture an environment of teamwork, collaboration, accountability and mutual respect. When DevOps focuses on the wrong thing — tools and technology, but not the people — it begins to unravel.

It takes a very special kind of person to do DevOps, someone who’s willing to get in the weeds in order to keep everything moving forward. The real key to DevOps is nurturing these characteristics and helping everyone collaborate openly, honestly, and continuously. Only then can organizations execute truly proactive and people-focused DevOps. 

The Infinity Loop

Another key reason why DevOps endeavors fail within organizations is a stagnant approach to software, development, and deployment. Businesses reach these final DevOps stages and think the job is done, only to later face changes in technology or customer expectations. Suddenly, they’re behind once again and the cycle continues.

If organizations want to succeed in DevOps, they can’t have a “set it and forget it” approach. Instead, DevOps must be agile, ongoing, and consistent. The DevOps Infinity Loop helps organizations leverage iterative, continuous DevOps that promotes consistent and long-lasting solutions.

Using the Infinity Loop concept, organizations can plan and document processes ahead of time, allowing for consistent and continuous integrations within DevOps. The Infinity Loop supports all phases of DevOps: planning, building, testing, deployment, and monitoring. Successfully leveraging the Infinity Loop practice requires a people-centric approach to DevOps processes, emphasizing respect and collaboration throughout.

Implementing the Infinity Loop doesn’t necessarily require you to rebuild applications year after year. What the Infinity Loop does promote is a company mindset and commitment to continual investment, iteration, and feedback for steady improvements. In short, the Infinity Loop means the DevOps transformation is never really finished.

Support Infinite DevOps with SEI

In a successful DevOps transformation, IT teams and business groups are seen as a symbiotic team. This allows for an infinite loop of DevOps development, where software can evolve and users feel supported. For organizations that don’t adhere to the standard of continuous improvement set by the Infinity Loop, DevOps rarely succeeds — and you’ll be among the majority of organizations who fail to meet their DevOps expectations in 2022.

SEI helps all kinds of organizations use the Infinity Loop to foster iterative, inclusive DevOps that truly considers the people behind the technology. As a result, you can leverage constant and collaborative DevOps processes that promote efficiency, consistency, mutual respect, and overall success. Get in touch with SEI today to learn more!

Craig Morrow


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Jennifer Habos


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