The following is an interview I conducted with Jayne Groll who is the co-founder and CEO of the DevOps Institute (DOI). Jayne carries a long list of IT credentials including ITIL Expert™, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Agile Service Manager, DevOps Foundation and is a Certified Process Design Engineer (CPDE)™. Her IT management career spans over 25 years of senior IT management roles across a wide range of industries. Jayne is very active in the DevOps, ITSM and Agile communities and is the author of the Agile Service Management Guide. She is a frequent presenter at local, national and virtual events. Without further ado, here is the interview:
1. You are the co-founder and CEO of the DevOps Institute. What led you to founding this organization and what purpose does it serve?
In 2012, I was invited to a DevOpsDays in Mountain View, California where there were many of the well know and early DevOps thought leaders and evangelists. While the crowd was more unicorn than enterprise, there was a palpable energy that I had not seen since the early days of ITSM. As DevOps started to cross into the enterprise space, my business partners and I recognized the need to build a community of learning around emerging DevOps practices. We stood up the DevOps Institute in 2015 and since created a free Continuous Learning Community, that includes a DevOps job board, a members only Slack channel and additional content. We have accredited five competency specific DevOps certifications being delivered by over 100 partners around the globe.
2. Any new technology comes through what Gartner call the Hype cycle. Where do you feel we are in terms of adoption as an industry of DevOps?
DevOps has definitely crossed the chasm into the enterprise early adopters who are actively trying new ways of working and optimizing CD automation. What’s even more interesting to me is how many enterprise organizations are interested in DevOps and engaging in internal dialog about what it means to them. Over the past year, I have seen a more of a trend away from “What is DevOps?” to “How do we do this and where do we start?”
3. DevOps started with bringing Development and Operations teams together into a CICD world. How is the marriage coming along?
"Great question" (her words not mine). While the intent is for Dev and Ops to have a single flow within the value stream, I sensed a lot of confusion over who was responsible for which aspects of the pipeline. Is DevOps really Dev-Dev, Ops-Ops or NoOps? And where does security fit?
The good news is that there is more clarity today around the practices, the categories of tooling, reference architectures are starting to emerge and DevSecOps is establishing a sound set of security practices inside DevOps. Most importantly, the human aspects of the pipeline are in the spotlight with the recognition that culture is as important as automation.
4. Based on where we are at in terms of adoption of DevOps what do you see are the trends in the next 2-5 years?
As I said, there is more clarity around the practices, some of which have emerged from real life organizations such as Spotify and Target and some of which will come from automation and thought leadership. Enterprise IT will experiment with some of these practices and (hopefully) reap some benefits by adapting the people, process and automation aspects to their organization and requirements. Scaling may be a challenge but I believe their will be more case studies and guidance about scale. Tools will continue to evolve and site reliability engineering will join CI/CD as a core focus area. Learning will become a lifestyle and skills modernization will be essential for all IT professionals.
5. Do you believe DevOps adoption requires for it to be a specific role as in "DevOps engineer" or is this more about changing beliefs and cultures of existing dev and ops organizations?
At DevOps Institute, we stay away from generic roles such as DevOps Engineer, DevOps Master, DevOps Expert, etc. They are just too ambiguous and do not address the evolving need for skills modernization. If we pigeonhole DevOps into a role or a team or think we can just implement automation, we run the risk of unintentionally recreating our existing paradigm of silos and delays. There is a range of skills in DevOps that have emerged as being critical -not only for the specialist roles (I-Shaped) but to the multi-dimensional digital professional (T-Shaped). These include test engineering, continuous delivery architect, devsecops.
6. Here at Oracle and in the IT industry in general there is a greater awareness and push to encourage and enable Women in Technology. How do you think we can help this movement become an integral part of our culture?
There are several ways to enable more women in technology. First, work has to be a safe place for everyone and a no-tolerance policy has to be implemented and enforced. Next, I think everyone needs to reflect on their conscious and unconscious biases – I know some organizations have introduced mandatory Unconscious Bias training to help with this.
In my experience, most women don’t want to be treated differently than their male counterparts but they don’t want to have to act like “one of the boys” in order to fit in. Encourage your teams to embrace all kinds of diversity – gender, ethnic, fluidity.
And finally, organizations such as Oracle can do a lot to encourage young women to enter the tech and science fields by reaching into the school systems, creating intern or externships and supporting organizations such as Girls Who Code and Women in Linux,
7. What should I have asked you and didn't?
(She laughs) Why is training and certification important in DevOps?
DevOps is being built around a Collective Body of Knowledge comprised of books, case studies, videos and practices introduced in actual enterprises. It is so broad that it cannot be captured (and should not be captured) into a single body of knowledge like other frameworks. The good news about that is that there is ample opportunity to introduce or update a practice or tool or cultural aspect without the constraints of a publication cycle like with the ITIL library. The frustrating news is that there is so much (sometimes conflicting) guidance around DevOps that organizations and individuals have a hard time discerning “best practice”. That’s where organizations such as the DevOps Institute come in by researching, curating and making sense of the practices that are delivering real value.
There are a few reasons why training and skilling in DevOps is important – first, everyone needs to update their skills portfolio – whether a developer needs to be a test-driven developer or an infrastructure person needs to learn more about continuous delivery. Learning has to become a lifestyle and knowledge shared and acquired in lots of different ways. Training gives multiple people an opportunity to have a shared learning experience – not only on the topic but by exchanging ideas in a collective learning environment. Certification demonstrates a level of competence that should give individuals pride and managers confidence. Some see training and certification as commoditization but the truth is that we need structured training as professionals to grow our careers.
Thank you Jane.