What If DevOps Principles Were Applied to Your Thanksgiving?

For many families, Thanksgiving is a time to gather and celebrate what has happened in the past year. This often means good food, some awkward conversation and a grand event. The idyllic Thanksgiving may happen in some places, but for plenty of families, there are always a few miscommunications, relational barriers or differences in expectations that cut into the fun. After all, such a complex holiday with so many moving parts can easily become almost as stressful as it is exciting.

Similarly, IT departments have become more demanding. They're getting larger all the time, the diversity of tasks coming up in day-to-day operations is increasing and many professionals are asked to carry a huge operational burden. All of this can lead to as much tension as having too many single-minded cooks in the kitchen at Thanksgiving, and the underlying values of DevOps could solve your problem.

At its core, DevOps is about breaking down the longstanding barriers that have come between development and operations teams. Let's take a look at how these principles would impact an ordinary Thanksgiving celebration to paint a simple picture of how DevOps is changing the technology world.

Coordinating Dishes
One family member is bringing the turkey, another is on stuffing duty, and somebody else is making a vegetarian option. The list goes on and on. Many families establish a full checklist of traditional items and clear responsibilities on who is bringing what prior to the event. Then, when Thanksgiving rolls around, somebody decides to change the script - which is often law even if it is left unwritten - and bring an unusual dish to the event. Suddenly, you have competing types of green bean salad creating a bit of a battle between two relatives and the tensions get high.

For IT teams, this problem takes a simple shape - developers that are exploring one function while ops teams adjust the backend in a direction that opposes that new capability. Neither of these teams have any sort of ill-wishes for one another, of course, they just haven't formalized and coordinated their operations. DevOps plans supported by advanced IT service management tools ensure that every stakeholder on projects understands what their team members can do and receives any change notifications in real time. As such, the opportunity for miscommunication and combative strategies disappears.

Apply this principle to your family Thanksgiving and you may avoid having somebody improvise their dish of choice and adversely impact the dinner.

Clarifying Expectations
At many gatherings, there will be one or two people who are absolutely attached to a tradition and will be heavily disappointed if their expectations are not meant. There will also be a couple of individuals who are clueless to the tradition, have habits of their own and can unwittingly cause strife.

In DevOps, coordination across departmental boundaries prevents problems like this from arising. Dev and Ops teams have traditionally been kept apart, but DevOps breaks down these barriers to create cross-disciplinary teams that understand what to expect from one another. In the same way, clarifying expectations, even among guests from outside the family, can make for a smoother, happier holiday.

Avoiding Bad Habits
People have a tendency to revert to certain behaviors when they are near specific people. Siblings that fought a lot in high school, but get along on the phone as adults may revert to their argumentative ways when they are in the same house for a few days around the holiday. Finding ways to break people out of bad habits and bring out their best is key if you want a smooth Thanksgiving.

In DevOps, clearly laying out expectations, scheduling times for people to work together in healthy ways and creating a culture of teamwork all come together to eliminate the old divide between dev and ops teams. For years, dev teams have built apps with the end-user experience as the only consideration, and let ops teams worry about getting the apps into production. The opposite held true as well, creating a huge cultural chasm that can fuel conflict. Being intentional about creating a team spirit through carefully coordinated processes and advanced collaboration tools has helped organizations overcome this problem.

You can learn from DevOps here and be intentional about creating connections between your more tenacious relatives. Change the habits and routine a bit to build fun, healthy interactions into the schedule, and you could be left with a much more pleasant Thanksgiving.

IT departments are not, by any means, a family. However, they do consistent of people who interact closely for extended periods of time. As you consider the potential of a DevOps strategy within your organization, consider taking a moment to think about how these strategies might apply to your own holiday dinners. You may end up laughing a bit, but you'll notice a clear trend - many conflicts can be smoothed out through clear communications and teamwork. DevOps brings that functionality to your IT teams, and we hope that harmony extends to a wonderful holiday for you and your loved ones.

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