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People, Processes, and Tools: The Foundation of DevOps
DevOps cannot be implemented by merely installing a tool or following a specific meeting schedule. Instead, the technology you use to enable DevOps and the processes you follow must be underpinned by a DevOps culture. Depending on which article you’re reading, the “People, Processes, Tools” may also be described as “People, Processes, Technology” or “People, Processes, Product.”
An organizational culture that enables DevOps success is made up of people – the developers, testers, operations, and leaders. It would be difficult to complete any project, including software development and delivery, without any people. DevOps seeks to break down barriers between different teams so that people are working towards shared outcomes.
Although automation is one goal of DevOps, computers and AI cannot duplicate the creativity and intellect of a talented team of people. Today’s teams have evolved from those of our parents’ generation – employees on the same team may work in different countries, from an office or home, be full-time employees or “gig economy” labor. This flexibility allows teams to attract, compete for, and hire the best people for the job.
Even with the best employees working towards the same goals, people make mistakes. People forget to do things, have a different definition of “complete,” or provide inconsistent quality. Organizations adopt processes and tools to help employees do their best work and reduce errors from occurring.
Processes help employees remember all of the tasks they need to complete, be consistent in quality, and audit the project for errors. Processes range from simple checklists to Agile sprints and epics.
Processes should enable DevOps team productivity and accuracy, not bog them down in procedural tasks that create silos and unnecessary delays. Bureaucratic delays caused by cumbersome processes should be eliminated if they are not adding value to the software development life cycle.
Repetitive processes are targets for automation, which helps employees focus on higher value-add tasks.
DevOps tools exist to help teams be more efficient and automate tasks that computers do better than humans. DevOps teams from different companies will adopt different sets of tools (the toolchain) to support and implement DevOps.
Selecting the right tools will depend on your team’s size, regulatory requirements, DevOps maturity, and business goals. Each new tool introduced to the DevOps team will change how people and processes operate, so it is crucial to choose only tools that add value and not those that create barriers to productivity.
DevOps is successful when you use processes and tools to remove barriers, reduce errors, and enable people to perform their best work. Tools and processes can automate repetitive tasks but cannot replace the intuition, intellect, and creativity of people.