'devops manager'

698 views
Skip to first unread message

Philip J. Hollenback

unread,
Mar 2, 2012, 10:55:44 AM3/2/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Back to the discussion of calling yourself a 'devops': I put devops in
my job title on linkedin a couple weeks back (devops manager). Since
then I've gotten several pretty solid recruiter queries for exactly that
term.

So, it seems like recruiters are definitely sniffing around for 'devops
X'. Food for thought.

P.
--
Philip J. Hollenback
www.hollenback.net
@philiph

Glenn Brown

unread,
Mar 2, 2012, 11:01:51 AM3/2/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
any recruiter buzz for "Hired Goon?" :)

Scott Smith

unread,
Mar 2, 2012, 11:02:05 AM3/2/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Gonna put Herperations Derpgineer on my next set of bix cards...

Mason Turner

unread,
Mar 2, 2012, 11:03:10 AM3/2/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On Mar 2, 2012, at 10:55 AM, Philip J. Hollenback wrote:

> Back to the discussion of calling yourself a 'devops': I put devops in
> my job title on linkedin a couple weeks back (devops manager). Since
> then I've gotten several pretty solid recruiter queries for exactly that
> term.
>
> So, it seems like recruiters are definitely sniffing around for 'devops
> X'. Food for thought.

Never underestimate the power of a fully loaded buzzword.

I don't mean that to be snarky, just a recognition of reality.

Sarkis Varozian

unread,
Mar 2, 2012, 11:30:55 AM3/2/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
I just changed my linked in profile to my current role of DevOps Engineer and the same results here in the Southern California area.

Sent from my iPhone

Philip J. Hollenback

unread,
Mar 2, 2012, 11:31:46 AM3/2/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
You'll need to A/B test that yourself. Please post your linkedin when
you do.

:)

Spike Morelli

unread,
Mar 2, 2012, 11:58:16 AM3/2/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Thanks for sharing back with the list Philip.

To add a bit of data myself both on my blog post[1] and on a linkedin discussion[2] I've had a few recruiters jumping in that did know their thing and were looking for the real stuff, but couldn't find it. Having spent quite some time with a few of them I must say that if you take a step back and look at their job it's a hard task without a term of reference. They told me they looked for syadmins and in most of those cases they weren't getting what they wanted (more CI, Cloud etc). That is not to say that some recruiters don't play stupid keyword matching games and don't go beyond that, or that some sysadmins don't know about CI/Cloud, but the experience of these people seems to confirm Devops is a useful qualifier in a job title for both ends.

More in a blog post coming soon on your screens if you decide to click on the link.

cheers,

Spike

[1] http://www.spikelab.org/devops-job-title/
[2] apparently the group is members only and I can't share the discussion, fail :/ , but if you are a member look for 'What do you think about DevOps as part of a job title?'

--
http://www.spikelab.org/
http://twitter.com/spikelab
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/spikemorelli

Guillaume FORTAINE

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 7:58:09 AM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Hello,

devops is a culture not a job.

It is absolutely no sense to call yourself "devops x".

Best Regards,

Guillaume FORTAINE

Paul Graydon

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 2:53:03 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
I may be going to that annoying 4 year old place, but I have to ask:

Why?

Why is devops a culture and not a job?

Why can it not also be a job, a department, a team?

Paul

Kit Plummer

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 3:02:42 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
All cultural shifts evolve into tangible things and produce pragmatic ways.  Hanging on to the notion DevOps is just culture (and I'm not even sure there's a valid reason for wanting to) is a little idealistic.

That said I really just see DevOps as a combination of skill sets - distributing both ways - and the _active_ collaboration to deliver the highest quality product or service.  I've not yet been convinced it makes sense to have DevOps be a position, job title, or department.  But, I'm definitely not fighting the direction this thing goes.

Kit

AJ Christensen

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 3:13:31 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
I've been called or calling myself things like:

Development Operations Technical Lead

Development Operations Systems Engineer

Systems Engineer (devops)

Development Operations Engineer (not common at all).

I personally do not believe that devops is a culture, or if it is: I
am a culture too. I am an culture? I am the culture.

I am a development operations specialized systems engineer; Chef is my
rifle. All this being said, I can identify non-devops system
administrators pretty quickly -- what does that mean?

--AJ

Radu Brumariu

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 3:53:32 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
If Object Oriented Manager exists, then so does DevOps Manager.

radu

Chad Woolley

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 3:56:15 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Devops is ponies.  Maybe rainbows too.

Christopher Little

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 4:02:08 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
>  All this being said, I can identify non-devops system
administrators pretty quickly -- what does that mean?

That means a lot. LOL 

I think the emphasis on DevOps as culture is so that it doesn't get sucked up as a job title, because it isn't *a* job. It's a way of thinking and engaging the business of moving apps from inception of idea through production of usable feature (and then back around again)  IMO

I am not surprised that people are using DevOps in a job title because it's the secret handshake to show they understand the deeper issue here: the business needs everyone working together, as a collaborative culture.

Philip J. Hollenback

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 4:17:50 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
I would like my pony now please.

Philip J. Hollenback

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 4:23:10 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
I agree with Spike - I don't think 'devops' by itself is a description
of your job, but I do think it's a valid modifier - in the same way that
I could be a hiphop manager.

If putting 'devops' in front of my title makes it so that I get more
high-quality queries from recruiters, I'm all for it.

P.

> > > > www.hollenback.net (http://www.hollenback.net)
> > > > @philiph

John Vincent

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 4:41:46 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Replying to multiple folks at once here so forgive the flow.

There is a very simple reason devops is not a title. Because devops is
not something you do. Not only should devops NOT be a title, it should
be avoided. Let me paint for you an entirely real scenario that I
experienced personally.

Devops Team was created (of which I was a part). Our responsibility
was to do all the "devops"-y things we all talk about. The SPECIFIC
reason that the team had to be created was due to political isses
around titles and departments and whatnot.

What was the end result?

Bitching from the "operations" team that "devops" broke something.
Bitching from the "development" team that "devops" broke something.

Things I actually heard:

"That's not my responsibility. Devops did that" - An operations person
"Devops broke that code" - A developer

Channeling a little Lord Cope here "That's fucking bullshit".

By creating a "devops" team or giving "devops" titles you've now
created yet another bureaucracy. A whole NEW group of people to blame.
Another scapegoat. At best, that's all you've done. At worst you've
created actual animosity between folks you were trying to get to work
together.

It's a path of failure. Yes, Devops is kind of a fucked up name. It's
already apparent when people are like "well now we need SecDevOps or
QADevOps or <insert some mashup of two different departments>.

The practices, cultural message, behaviors, toolchain or whatever that
makes up what we call DevOps should be the norm not the exception. If
you have lazy people who don't want to level up, they need to go. If
you have people who can't get on board with the shifting world of IT,
they are toxic to you and everyone else at your company.

I get that people have egos and need to feel unique and special.
That's your responsibility. If you need a special title to tell you
how you should be doing your job, then I have a bit of warning for
you:

http://despair.com/motivation.html

--
John E. Vincent
http://about.me/lusis

Jan Schaumann

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 4:48:35 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
John Vincent <lusi...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Bitching from the "operations" team that "devops" broke something.
> Bitching from the "development" team that "devops" broke something.

If you created a "DevOps" team but kept separate "operations" and
"development" teams... then you're doing it wrong. :-)

-Jan

John Vincent

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 4:54:48 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com

You've obviously never worked in a company with more than, say, 10
people ;) I only partially kid. It's unrealistic and naive to think
that an existing company of any size can mash two teams up like that
at the drop of a hat. Let's not even consider the fact that the person
managing operations may be grossly unqualified to manage developers.

But you're proving my point. The reason devops isn't a title, team or
department is that it doesn't just apply to devops. It's about
aligning ALL of IT with the business - not just development as agile
promised.

What about someone who works at a company with NO development team?
Yes those places exist. Would you tell the guy who manages all of his
infra with puppet that he's not a "devops" because he's not
interacting with a development team? I would say he's more 'devops'
than most.

John Vincent

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 4:57:15 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
For the record, I still think devops is the greatest thing since nutella.

AJ Christensen

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 5:03:55 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
I don't get it. I do development and operations, at the same time. All day.

--AJ

AJ Christensen

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 5:10:31 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Here's another cool one: ask a
non-IT-side-of-the-business-managerial-type what he thinks
"operations" is.

--AJ

AJ Christensen

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 5:16:59 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
fuck, no sexism implied

Philip J. Hollenback

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 5:19:25 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Now that I've read this I agree it might be dangerous to use devops in
your real job title at work. However, John it sounds like your company
had some deeper problems that would probably exist no matter what titles
you use, right?

Maybe there are two separate things here: the title you put on yourself
online so recruiters can find you, versus the title you use in your job.
I know I don't formally call myself a devops manager at work.

P.

Ernest Mueller

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 5:30:33 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Did nobody read the thread before this point? I thought we had a
pretty pragmatic understanding going.

1. Sure, IMO DevOps is in its origin a term for the culture of
developer/operations collaboration, or even more profoundly the
incorporation of operations into the actual company's value chain as
opposed to being some weird trolls in the basement kept around for
"cost of doing business" reasons. John, you're right to say some
places don't have devs. One of the ways I initially got our ops team
a seat at the big boy table at NI was by approaching the business
directly to accomplish projects for them that didn't really require a
developer team - they were just used to handing any implementation to
the devs.

1a. However, diluting DevOps into "it means everyone collaborates
with everyone" or "it's IT aligning with the business" is
counterproductive. Those ideas have been around a while and for some
reason have failed to produce the results that DevOps is. DevOps is
specifically focused on operations and for a reason.

2. However, it's also evolved into a reasonably defined skill set
that those of us who actually hire people want to identify and
attract and recruit. Posting for "DevOps Systems Engineer" is a
signal that significantly improves the fit of the talent that's
responding to postings to the kind of job we have (which is, you
know, devopsey). And it's more than "I touched the puppet", it's a
way of working. In the end, I need to post a job someone will see
and think "oh, that's my deal, I should apply" and I need to read
someone's resume and quickly determine "I want to talk to them."
Concise words have power in that domain.

3. Large companies. Well, actually, qualifying "Operations"
potentially as "Developer Operations" is helpful, as we have Sales
Operations and Content Operations and about a dozen other
"Operations" teams in any org of any size. On the multiple groups
problem - before we had the word "DevOps," at NI we had a "Web Admin"
team that sat between the dev teams and the by-tech infrastructure
teams (unix, windows, network, etc.). And that was painful. We
weren't sufficiently aligned with/embedded in the dev teams, and the
infra teams couldn't understand why a working Web system didn't
magically emerge from them just tossing all their technical parts
into the mixer. However, the reason it was difficult was because we
didn't understand how to effectively collaborate with the devs, and
the infrastructure teams didn't want to collaborate. So? It's like
agile doesn't work if the devs and product managers are oppositional
c*ckknockers instead of working together for the common good.

So yes, we could call it "a collaboration focused approach to both
altering the way we do operations to adopt some best practices coming
out of the development world, and integrating better with partner
teams with an understanding that we are trying to bring value to the
business" - but some Belgian guy came up with a less tongue-twisty
way to say that.

Ernest

Sean OMeara

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 5:37:33 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
My ten foot pole. Let me show it to you.

Kent R. Spillner

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 5:39:53 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
the title you put on yourself
online so recruiters can find you

Now you just need some DevOps certification and you'll be set. ;)

Sent from my iPhone

gareth rushgrove

unread,
Mar 3, 2012, 6:17:13 PM3/3/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 3 March 2012 22:19, Philip J. Hollenback <phi...@pobox.com> wrote:
> Now that I've read this I agree it might be dangerous to use devops in
> your real job title at work.  However, John it sounds like your company
> had some deeper problems that would probably exist no matter what titles
> you use, right?
>
> Maybe there are two separate things here:  the title you put on yourself
> online so recruiters can find you, versus the title you use in your job.
>  I know I don't formally call myself a devops manager at work.
>

Job titles are all about marketing.

Either you're marketing to your colleagues (and maybe other people at
work), or you're marketing to the rest of the world (probably for some
nefarious reason like finding a job or being noticed by the internet).

So having different "job titles" for different audiences can make
sense. If you're a company then having a third "job title" that you
use in adverts might be handy too.

I definitely change what my "job title" is in different contexts at
work depending on who I want to listen to me most at the time.

G

--
Gareth Rushgrove
Web Geek

morethanseven.net
garethrushgrove.com

Spike Morelli

unread,
Mar 4, 2012, 3:42:35 AM3/4/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Hey John,

yours is a very real scenario that I've experienced myself and I totally hear your arguments, that said I'd like to take a step back because I'm a little confused.

What problem are we looking at? The commercialisation of devops as a bad thing for the movement? Devops as a job title harmful to promote its values within a company? That it makes the non-devops folks in a company now think that XYZ is invisible^Wsomeone else's problem? Those are very different issues with their own different solution. Which reminds me, devops is probably a wicked problem ( http://www.jedi.be/blog/2012/01/08/devops-a-wicked-problem/ ) with all that that implies.

When Philip started this thread (see what you've done man!? :) ) I read his question as: I recognise myself as a devops person, I share the values this movement advocates, so should I reflect that in my job title to the purpose  of finding a place where those values are understood and appreciated? The answer, based on collected data, seems to be a strong yes. Mind you, the recruiting system is fundamentally broken imo so the story isn't all there, but that's for another blog post and doesn't invalidate the point above.

Now, If we want to look at the implications of that on other parts of the ecosystem that's great, but for best results it seems worth to keep those questions separated. In that respect and to get to your point, was it a poor choice in that situation to create a new department to foster collaboration? Obviously, but was it because of the devops department itself or pre-conditions with the other departments? But in general, when two or more parties do not collaborate, adding an independent group that helps them overcome differences and integrate can work. Of course ideally you would help the parties from within to 'grow up' and understand that collaboration is the interest of the business they are serving, but that doesn't always work either.

hope this helps,

Spike

Spike

Asega Olima

unread,
Mar 4, 2012, 12:59:17 PM3/4/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 3 March 2012 04:58, Guillaume FORTAINE <gfor...@gfortaine.biz> wrote:
> Hello,
>
> devops is a culture not a job.
>
> It is absolutely no sense to call yourself "devops x".
>

Oh Guillaume, look what you've done.
--
Asega

Jez Humble

unread,
Mar 5, 2012, 8:36:54 PM3/5/12
to devops
On Mar 3, 1:41 pm, John Vincent <lusis....@gmail.com> wrote:

> Devops Team was created (of which I was a part). Our responsibility
> was to do all the "devops"-y things we all talk about. The SPECIFIC
> reason that the team had to be created was due to political isses
> around titles and departments and whatnot.

As someone once said to me, "why would you try to solve a silo problem
by creating a new silo?"

I think that in certain situations - especially where there are
political issues in play - creating a "devops team" can be a good
tactical move. Unfortunately the kind of organizations where this is
true are the ones least likely to actually ever achieve the goals of
devops culture (rapid, incremental software delivery, resilient
systems, useful data etc.)

John Vincent

unread,
Mar 5, 2012, 10:30:47 PM3/5/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com

Jez,

You're absolutely right. That was almost exactly the situation. The
person who was driving this had no choice in the matter either. The
need for a distinct team was both driven by corporate policy AND by
the need to pull a subset of folks out of the "muck" to focus on these
changes full time.

As I said, it didn't work originally for multiple reasons. Things
finally panned out but this slide deck was actually inspired by my
experiences there:

http://devops-culture-hurdles.heroku.com/#1

Having said all that, the fellow who was much of the driving force
behind that is actually on this list.

Spike Morelli

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 3:44:23 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 6 Mar 2012, at 02:36, Jez Humble wrote:

On Mar 3, 1:41 pm, John Vincent <lusis....@gmail.com> wrote:

Devops Team was created (of which I was a part). Our responsibility
was to do all the "devops"-y things we all talk about. The SPECIFIC
reason that the team had to be created was due to political isses
around titles and departments and whatnot.

As someone once said to me, "why would you try to solve a silo problem
by creating a new silo?"

As someone else once said to me, "don't confuse causation with correlation"

I think that in certain situations - especially where there are
political issues in play - creating a "devops team" can be a good
tactical move. Unfortunately the kind of organizations where this is
true are the ones least likely to actually ever achieve the goals of
devops culture (rapid, incremental software delivery, resilient
systems, useful data etc.)

you speak the truth. but, can either of you (since you and John seem to agree on this) help us out (me at very least) understand how this is related to desire to manifest that, as a professional, you share and endorse a certain way to approach work (both culturally and technically)? Because as much as I totally agree with you on the issues of ending up creating yet another silo, I don't see how that issue is caused by using devops as part of a job title instead of being correlated to the fact that that organisation had some other fundamental issues.

I've spoken to several individuals who in their outward facing communications broadcast their devops affiliation in their job title while internally to their organisation they treat the subject differently, either that being just dissemination under that term or avoiding the term altogether and focusing on the principles. I'm one of those individuals and personally I'd love the help of this community to understand if and why that approach will eventually lead to troubles.

thanks,

John Vincent

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 4:15:18 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 3:44 PM, Spike Morelli <f...@spikelab.org> wrote:
> you speak the truth. but, can either of you (since you and John seem to
> agree on this) help us out (me at very least) understand how this is related
> to desire to manifest that, as a professional, you share and endorse a
> certain way to approach work (both culturally and technically)? Because as
> much as I totally agree with you on the issues of ending up creating yet
> another silo, I don't see how that issue is caused by using devops as part
> of a job title instead of being correlated to the fact that that
> organisation had some other fundamental issues.
>

I can't speak for Jez but I can speak about general human nature in
large corporations (having sadly been a part of them).

One of the problems that we say devops tries to solve is 'throwing
shit over the wall'. The reasons people do that in the first place are
varied but I'd like to think it boils down to basic human nature:

People pass the buck

My experience has been, and continues to be, that I hear things such as

- "I don't do that. I'm not a devops"
- "That's a devops problem"
- "Devops did that"
- "I want to be a devops"

I've heard all of these things in the last two years including recently.

By attaching the label, you give people an easy target. But EVEN
ignoring that part of human nature, there's the resentment it creates.
What *IS* a devops? Is it some super secret ivory tower department
that issues edicts from on high? I've had someone describe it to me
that way at a previous company - "Devops says we have to use puppet".

Now you have two problems.

> I've spoken to several individuals who in their outward facing
> communications broadcast their devops affiliation in their job title while
> internally to their organisation they treat the subject differently, either
> that being just dissemination under that term or avoiding the term
> altogether and focusing on the principles. I'm one of those individuals and
> personally I'd love the help of this community to understand if and why that
> approach will eventually lead to troubles.
>

Let's take a different approach first. Would you accept that something
is a "devops" tool? I wouldn't because devops isn't a label for tools
(I'm going to let the obvious joke slide here). How many products have
we seen REbranded in the last year as "For DevOps" or "a DevOps tool"?
I've lost count.

It simply doesn't make sense any more than saying "Foo is an agile
tool". You don't hire "agiles" or "waterfalls" so why would you hire
"devops"?

As to the specific thing you mentioned about inward vs. outward. I
find that even more insulting and two-faced.

I'm okay with people saying "we practice devops [methodologies]" or
"we grok devops". It still feels wrong but to say "I'm a devop[s]"
sounds unnatural to me. It just doesn't make sense. Devops is a way of
thinking about your environment and your business. It doesn't change
the underlying responsibility of your job. If it does, you've created
YAS (yet another silo). SysAdmins SHOULD be cooperating with
development and vice versa. Automation, metrics, testing - all of
these things that fall under the purview of the "DevOps" as a concept
but that doesn't change what your job is. Your responsibility as a
developer is, broadly speaking, to write code. Your responsibility as
a sysadmin, is broadly speaking, to keep shit running. The WAY you do
those jobs doesn't constitute a whole new title.

I really do get that companies are trying to find the right people.
What I don't get is this idea that "we have to use devops as a title
to filter candidates because we get so much crap" in one breath and
"It's hard to find people" in the next. Quite frankly I wouldn't go to
work with a company that wants a "devop" because half the time I've
talked to them, they want someone to do two jobs.

You can be a jack of all trades and you can even be a master of some
of them. That doesn't mean you have the TIME or ABILITY to do them
both with the level of attention they deserve. Please don't get me
wrong. I'm all for wearing many hats and doing everything possible to
make the companies I'm a part of succeed but I think part of devops is
about restoring balance to the Force. We went ass over tea kettle and
built huge silos as an overreaction and now we're trying to fix that.

So what I'm really trying to say is "devops" doesn't make sense as a
title unless your responsibilities somehow change. And if you change
them, you're just creating a new silo, breeding contempt and standing
up new straw men for people to attack.

Paul Lathrop

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 4:26:23 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
I want my next title to be "DevOps Hipster" because I was doing DevOps before it was cool...

Matt Ryanczak

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 4:41:35 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 03/06/2012 04:26 PM, Paul Lathrop wrote:
> I want my next title to be "DevOps Hipster" because I was doing DevOps
> before it was cool...

You jest I'm sure, but I think you also allude to something that a lot
of people that have been around a while believe. Many of the best
practices and methodologies of the "devops lifestyle" have been around
for a long time, especially in smaller shops where people have had to
wear many hats. What intrigues me most about the devops movement is that
I view it as an opportunity to open the eyes of engineering shops that
have gone in the direction of specialization and compartmentalization.
It shows them there is another way. Complexity is going up and with it
organizations need to embrace more complex relationships among their
producers. This Devops stuff can help realize this. To me though, it is
just good engineering practices with a new name.

Paul Lathrop

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 4:49:55 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
That's definitely what I was going for, tongue-in-cheek comment aside.

Should DevOps be a title? I'm not going to say "Yes" or "No" - I think titles are orthogonal to the purpose of the movement.

--Paul 

Christopher Little

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 4:52:56 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
>  To me though, it is just good engineering practices with a new name. 

To me, it's good business practice. That is if you're aiming to be the best you can at your app development. I mean, whether you're in engineering, operations, QA, or . . . even marketing.

I haven't been dev for a long time but I've been in a lot of start-ups and the culture of DevOps is strong in all the ones I was in that a) worked out and b) had kick-ass product. 

I'm fascinated by DevOps as a 'movement' -- and have been now for a couple of years. I noticed something over the years about a lot of software start-ups that mature into multi-hundred person company cultures: at some point all the people stop pitching together to pull something off and start being siloed corporate employees. And that is very much like the point where organically "the DevOps" got lost.

I am uncomfortable with it as a title. Or a Microsoft certification. Or a college degree. Or a shiny sticker you slap on the outside of a box of CDs that says "now with DevOps!"

Matt Ryanczak

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 5:08:16 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 03/06/2012 04:52 PM, Christopher Little wrote:
> I'm fascinated by DevOps as a 'movement' -- and have been now for a
> couple of years. I noticed something over the years about a lot of
> software start-ups that mature into multi-hundred person company
> cultures: at some point all the people stop pitching together to pull
> something off and start being siloed corporate employees. And that is
> very much like the point where organically "the DevOps" got lost.

Call me fascinated as well. I'm a long time ops person. It is
interesting that as companies mature they lose that "devops" magic.
Perhaps something about people wearing fewer hats which leads to tunnel
vision. (or something)

> I am uncomfortable with it as a title. Or a Microsoft certification. Or
> a college degree. Or a shiny sticker you slap on the outside of a box of
> CDs that says "now with DevOps!"

+1 Its a philosophical thing not a bullet point.

John Vincent

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 5:11:01 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 4:41 PM, Matt Ryanczak <ryan...@gmail.com> wrote:
To me though, it is just good engineering practices
> with a new name.
>

Sadly best practices are not always the best or practiced ;)

Paul Graydon

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 6:42:55 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 03/06/2012 11:52 AM, Christopher Little wrote:
>
> I am uncomfortable with it as a title. Or a Microsoft certification.
> Or a college degree. Or a shiny sticker you slap on the outside of a
> box of CDs that says "now with DevOps!"
>
Damnit.. guess I'd better go cancel those "I <3 DevOps Managers"
t-shirts, mugs and pens.

Ernest Mueller

unread,
Mar 6, 2012, 9:33:22 PM3/6/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
At 03:41 PM 3/6/2012, Matt Ryanczak wrote:

>You jest I'm sure, but I think you also allude to something that a
>lot of people that have been around a while believe. Many of the
>best practices and methodologies of the "devops lifestyle" have been
>around for a long time, especially in smaller shops where people
>have had to wear many hats. What intrigues me most about the devops
>movement is that I view it as an opportunity to open the eyes of
>engineering shops that have gone in the direction of specialization
>and compartmentalization. It shows them there is another way.
>Complexity is going up and with it organizations need to embrace
>more complex relationships among their producers. This Devops stuff
>can help realize this. To me though, it is just good engineering
>practices with a new name.

So let me argue against this a bit.

This is the same argument used about agile and about cloud and now
about DevOps (and has been used for innumerable shifts in the
computing landscape over time).

Sure, a lot of these techniques have been around for a long
time. Chef and puppet predate DevOps. Collaboration predates Agile.
Doing elastic provisioning predates the cloud. Object oriented
programming was invented in like the 1970s. There was the Internet
before the Web. "Oh, it's just doing it *right*. I've always done it right."

However, that is only true in the most uninteresting of ways. So
what? Let's posit you were an early adopter and the whole DevOps
movement hasn't taught you anything new you didn't already know. Now
that it's "crossing the chasm" and becoming a more widely accepted
set of best practices, pooh-poohing it as "nothing new" is
technohipsterism of the most extreme sort.

Not to bag on you, but I've heard this for years about cloud
computing now, and before that about the Web, and my reaction is
always "Yeah, sure, whatever."

Ernest

Erik Hollensbe

unread,
Mar 7, 2012, 1:38:49 AM3/7/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com

On Mar 6, 2012, at 6:33 PM, Ernest Mueller wrote:

> At 03:41 PM 3/6/2012, Matt Ryanczak wrote:
>
>> You jest I'm sure, but I think you also allude to something that a lot of people that have been around a while believe. Many of the best practices and methodologies of the "devops lifestyle" have been around for a long time, especially in smaller shops where people have had to wear many hats. What intrigues me most about the devops movement is that I view it as an opportunity to open the eyes of engineering shops that have gone in the direction of specialization and compartmentalization. It shows them there is another way. Complexity is going up and with it organizations need to embrace more complex relationships among their producers. This Devops stuff can help realize this. To me though, it is just good engineering practices with a new name.
>
> So let me argue against this a bit.
>
> This is the same argument used about agile and about cloud and now about DevOps (and has been used for innumerable shifts in the computing landscape over time).
>
> Sure, a lot of these techniques have been around for a long time. Chef and puppet predate DevOps. Collaboration predates Agile. Doing elastic provisioning predates the cloud. Object oriented programming was invented in like the 1970s. There was the Internet before the Web. "Oh, it's just doing it *right*. I've always done it right."


When I started my development career the ops people were some of the most skilled coders in the company. They were the guys you went to tune your application or database use, or alert when the app was going to take a significant performance hit so they could preempt it. There has been a sharp decline in workplace expectation of this knowledge in the last 15 years or so for operations folks. This can lead to other engineers thinking that operations people are dumb or janitors or just coders that aren't skilled enough to write <x> applications or w/e.

Now, this comes off wrong because it is 100% abrasive, I understand that and I hope I'm not faulted for it, I'll address it in a few here. :)

That said, I think if you really look out there you'll find I'm "close enough" for a multitude of workplace environments, close enough to make the argument that DevOps is not about moving forward but returning to the past. We're getting back to skilled code and returning to being in that consultation/communicative role instead of the person who sits in the corner and only 2 people in a 100 person company know what s/he actually does.

I got into ops because I wanted out of application development, which always turns heads. I interviewed at a few places last year trying to find straight devops/ops work (I would have accepted either). I have a very web-application-senior-lead-type resume. "You want *in* ops?", the applications engineers say. They're stunned. They don't understand how I consider ops a step up from app development. Most of my career has (intentionally) been at small shops were I get to wear a lot of hats. I like systems programming and automation, and I've had to step around my fair share of ops people who simply do-not-get-it to get the job done.

We've all worked with them so let's not pretend they don't exist.

Anyhow, going off on a tangent. The point is, for me, devops is more about returning to AwesomeOps, the kind you can go to to get shit done, and less about the kind of ops that have 12 certifications and no projects to show for it. It's about destroying (read: absolutely obliterating) the culture that sitting in a corner reading slashdot all day because the servers are up makes you a good ops person. And the result has largely been positive from where I sit: I know of several "hard ops" people that are actually picking up C, python, ruby, CM tools and all sorts of other stuff because that's where the skill set and the salaries are going and they need to remain competitive.

This is GOOD. We're working our way back to the ops guy that has 12 years of C and Systems Programming experience and heading away from the MCSE and RedHat jockeys that barely know their tools and take 12 weeks to configure four systems. (Disclaimer: there are plenty of redhat users and mcse's that are not this way. But we all know what I'm talking about, I hope.) We're eroding the "us vs. them" attitude between ops and dev teams. This is all absolutely beautiful.

Maybe I'm saying the obvious but this thread doesn't make me feel like I am, so I hope this wasn't too painful. :)

-Erik

Matt Ryanczak

unread,
Mar 7, 2012, 7:33:47 AM3/7/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 3/7/12 1:38 AM, Erik Hollensbe wrote:
> Maybe I'm saying the obvious but this thread doesn't make me feel like I am, so I hope this wasn't too painful. :)

You captured my feelings pretty well anyway.

Spike Morelli

unread,
Mar 7, 2012, 7:39:30 AM3/7/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Hey John,

appreciate the thorough reply.

On 6 Mar 2012, at 22:15, John Vincent wrote:

My experience has been, and continues to be, that I hear things such as

- "I don't do that. I'm not a devops"
- "That's a devops problem"
- "Devops did that"
- "I want to be a devops"

I've heard all of these things in the last two years including recently.

that's very interesting, I've seen none of that (except maybe some of the 4th actually). Maybe that's in part where the different positions come from. 


Let's take a different approach first. Would you accept that something
is a "devops" tool?

I wouldn't care. If a tool was developed to help that crowd and fit to the spirit, why not? the problem is another (see below)

How many products have
we seen REbranded in the last year as "For DevOps" or "a DevOps tool"?
I've lost count.

too many indeed, the spam especially on the linkedin group is a sad story. But that happened long ago even before we started this conversation about devops as a job title. That started basically as the movement started to get bigger,  the devops in 'devops movement' is equally a label, it creates the same anger, commercialisation and a market to advertise to, which is what led to the rebrand spam. However in my opinion the solution is not to avoid the label, but rather communicative its meaning as clearly as possible so that the real thing is obvious.

As to the specific thing you mentioned about inward vs. outward. I
find that even more insulting and two-faced.

I'm sorry you feel that way, I certainly didn't mean to be two-faced. What I was trying to say is that different contexts require different language, the same thing recounted in an article on the national newspaper or at the pub with friends probably will call for different wording . Is that being two faced? to me two faced is when you tell different things to different people, ie the content of your message changes. If you're just picking a different form to get better understood that seems actually of value both to the recipient and yourself.


I'm okay with people saying "we practice devops [methodologies]" or
"we grok devops". It still feels wrong but to say "I'm a devop[s]"
sounds unnatural to me. It just doesn't make sense. Devops is a way of
thinking about your environment and your business. It doesn't change
the underlying responsibility of your job.

agreed, and I believe I haven't said otherwise. All I've tried to argue is that it makes sense to broadcast that you are thinking that way. I think it helps strengthening the community by helping it crossing the chasm.

If it does, you've created
YAS (yet another silo). SysAdmins SHOULD be cooperating with
development and vice versa. Automation, metrics, testing - all of
these things that fall under the purview of the "DevOps" as a concept
but that doesn't change what your job is. Your responsibility as a
developer is, broadly speaking, to write code. Your responsibility as
a sysadmin, is broadly speaking, to keep shit running. The WAY you do
those jobs doesn't constitute a whole new title.

agreed, and it's not a whole new title. 'devops manager'  is not a new title, you're still a manager, an engineering manager, but the kind that looks at your group (and the others in the company) in a certain way.

I really do get that companies are trying to find the right people.
What I don't get is this idea that "we have to use devops as a title
to filter candidates because we get so much crap" in one breath and
"It's hard to find people" in the next. Quite frankly I wouldn't go to
work with a company that wants a "devop" because half the time I've
talked to them, they want someone to do two jobs.

I see your point, however I've been offered jobs by companies that wanted 'sysadmins' and it turned out they had printers to fix and toners to swap among others. The title of the job, like your title, is only worth so much.

 I'm all for wearing many hats and doing everything possible to
make the companies I'm a part of succeed but I think part of devops is
about restoring balance to the Force. We went ass over tea kettle and
built huge silos as an overreaction and now we're trying to fix that.

yeah, that's why I love this movement and I'm grateful to you and the others that helped to kick this off and are investing so much to help it grow in the right direction. I'm trying to contribute myself even tho I seem to have fuelled the mother of all evils (along with noops, the father of all evils) :P

So what I'm really trying to say is "devops" doesn't make sense as a
title unless your responsibilities somehow change. And if you change
them, you're just creating a new silo, breeding contempt and standing
up new straw men for people to attack.

once again I agree. I'm not promoting the creation of a devops team in companies as a solution to their problems, I'm just saying that from a communication standpoint it seems helpful. 

To be as specific as possible, lemme share my current situation which maybe will help to move forward. I'm a manager of an operations team of fantastic people (operations, not devops, same team as it was) that I'm glad to be able to work with. Most if not all of them doesn't like the label devops and certainly wouldn't put it in their job title, but they fully embrace the movement. Now the thing is, I wouldn't be there if I didn't have 'devops' in my linkedin profile. Did the recruiting folks even really understand what devops meant? not really ( and I've been fixing that, but that's another story). That said the engineering group responds to those values and so I guess that's why they told recruiting to look for a 'devops manager'. Yes there are some companies that are obviously embracing the movement and the principles and have visibility in the community (Opscode, Netflix, etc), but most don't. And while I could look for them or try to get a job with those that are visible, there are many great opportunities out there that you could miss out just because it's hard for both sides to find each other.

so here, lemme take a step back, let's say I don't want to be a 'devops manager' because it will result in problems down the road (I never wanted to be a 'devops'), how do I find a job in a company that understands and embraces (or wants to embrace) the value of this movement?

Matt Ryanczak

unread,
Mar 7, 2012, 7:59:37 AM3/7/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 3/6/12 9:33 PM, Ernest Mueller wrote:
> However, that is only true in the most uninteresting of ways. So what?
> Let's posit you were an early adopter and the whole DevOps movement
> hasn't taught you anything new you didn't already know. Now that it's
> "crossing the chasm" and becoming a more widely accepted set of best
> practices, pooh-poohing it as "nothing new" is technohipsterism of the
> most extreme sort.

I'm not pooh-poohing anything. In fact, just the opposite. I'm embracing
this movement and am genuinely excited at the prospect of large scale
reinvention of technical operations and the role it plays in engineering
and business as a whole. I do believe that there are many old ideas and
methodologies at play though. Some of that has been relegated to small
shops because of the drive toward specialization in larger enterprises.
Now these big enterprises are paying attention and there is an
opportunity get them to embrace a better way of doing things. Whether
those ways are old or new is probably not relevant.

Actually, I am pooh-poohing one thing, I don't believe that devops is a
job title.

Christopher Little

unread,
Mar 7, 2012, 8:41:24 AM3/7/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
Actually, I am pooh-poohing one thing, I don't believe that devops is a job title. 

Well, I don't like it but I think I understand why it's happening: it's a code word for "good", among other things. Still, like it or not, type in "devops jobs" and you get 701,000 results in Google as of 2 minutes ago. 

Harlan Barnes

unread,
Mar 7, 2012, 10:50:36 AM3/7/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On 03/07/2012 01:38 AM, Erik Hollensbe wrote:
>
> The point is, for me, devops is more about returning to AwesomeOps.

> the kind you can go to to get shit done, and less about the kind of
> ops that have 12 certifications and no projects to show for it.

Screw all this devops-title-stuff, I want AwesomeOps in my title. :)

Philip J. Hollenback

unread,
Mar 7, 2012, 11:20:46 AM3/7/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
In that case you should also use the Awesome List for your weekly
meetings with your manager: http://www.hollenback.net/TheAwesomeList

:)

P.

Philip J. Hollenback

unread,
Mar 7, 2012, 11:35:35 AM3/7/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
On Wed, Mar 7, 2012, at 01:39 PM, Spike Morelli wrote:
> I'm trying to contribute myself even tho I
> seem to have fuelled the mother of all evils (along with noops, the
> father of all evils) :P

Note that BroOps is the cool uncle of all evils.

Scott Smith

unread,
Mar 13, 2012, 12:54:45 AM3/13/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
I did it:

Inline image 1

On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM, Scott Smith <sc...@ohlol.net> wrote:
Gonna put Herperations Derpgineer on my next set of bix cards...

On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 7:55 AM, Philip J. Hollenback <phi...@pobox.com> wrote:
Back to the discussion of calling yourself a 'devops': I put devops in
my job title on linkedin a couple weeks back (devops manager).  Since
then I've gotten several pretty solid recruiter queries for exactly that
term.

So, it seems like recruiters are definitely sniffing around for 'devops
X'.  Food for thought.

P.
420222_10150676434044308_551794307_9076012_785141463_n.jpg

AJ Christensen

unread,
Mar 13, 2012, 12:56:47 AM3/13/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
fell off chair
420222_10150676434044308_551794307_9076012_785141463_n.jpg

John Vincent

unread,
Mar 13, 2012, 12:57:58 AM3/13/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
What he said
420222_10150676434044308_551794307_9076012_785141463_n.jpg

Philip J. Hollenback

unread,
Mar 13, 2012, 1:17:53 AM3/13/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
NAILED IT

> Email had 1 attachment:
> + 420222_10150676434044308_551794307_9076012_785141463_n.jpg
> 94k (image/jpeg)

Jeremiah Shirk

unread,
Mar 13, 2012, 1:22:22 AM3/13/12
to devops
I will gladly buy you a beer (or alternate beverage of your choice)
for one of those cards. EPIC

On Mar 12, 11:54 pm, Scott Smith <sc...@ohlol.net> wrote:
> I did it:
>
> [image: Inline image 1]
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM, Scott Smith <sc...@ohlol.net> wrote:
> > Gonna put Herperations Derpgineer on my next set of bix cards...
>
> > On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 7:55 AM, Philip J. Hollenback <phil...@pobox.com>wrote:
>
> >> Back to the discussion of calling yourself a 'devops': I put devops in
> >> my job title on linkedin a couple weeks back (devops manager).  Since
> >> then I've gotten several pretty solid recruiter queries for exactly that
> >> term.
>
> >> So, it seems like recruiters are definitely sniffing around for 'devops
> >> X'.  Food for thought.
>
> >> P.
> >> --
> >> Philip J. Hollenback
> >>www.hollenback.net
> >> @philiph
>
>
>
>  420222_10150676434044308_551794307_9076012_785141463_n.jpg
> 93KViewDownload

ranjib dey

unread,
Mar 13, 2012, 1:34:03 AM3/13/12
to dev...@googlegroups.com
insane . :-)
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages