The two most common DevOps anti-patterns

November 7, 2021

DevOps is an often misunderstood term. So often, in fact, that I imagine most companies who think they’re doing DevOps aren’t. Instead, they’re probably doing one of these common anti-patterns:

  1. The Ops-to-DevOps rename

    If your old-school operations team was simply renamed to “DevOps”, then this describes your situation. Sometimes the history is a bit more subtle, especially for a young startup that may never have had an operations team. So here’s a quick litmus test to see if this describes your situation:

    • If you renamed your current DevOps team to “Operations”, would everything still function as it does?
    • Is there ever any struggle over handovers or division of responsibility between your developers and your “DevOps” team?
  2. Add a separate DevOps team

    If your old-school structure included a Dev team and an Ops team, and your new structure includes a Dev team, an Ops team, and a DevOps team, this describes you.

    This usually happens when someone in leadership has a partial epiphany about DevOps, such as might occur as the result of a conference talk, or hearing another industry professional praising DevOps, but without understanding what DevOps is actually about.

The common thread in both of these specific anti-patterns is the existence of a “DevOps Team”. DevOps is not a team effort, it’s a cross-team effort. It’s a culture, a set of practices, cooperation, if you will. It only works when it encompasses the entire way of software development and delivery.

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