The problem with "DevOps" (and what happened to the podcast?)

June 29, 2022
Imagine telling your CEO, "What you need is some DevOps." How would that go?

I’ve been reconsidering my “DevOps” brand, and by extension, the Tiny DevOps podcast brand, and today I want to explain why.

First, as anyone even vaguely familiar with the term knows, “DevOps” is confusing. It has many, often contradictory, uses. Most of them annoy me for various reasons.

  • The name of a cultural movement
  • A job title
  • The name of a specialized infrastructure team
  • The name of some very poorly-named tools1, 2

And while this is related to my rebrand, it’s not really the most important reason.

When I use the term “DevOps”, whether in a way I consider “correct” or not, I think I’m alienating the types of people who most need my help! When I think of the types of people who need help improving their software delivery, the people who come to mind don’t use the term “DevOps” regularly. And if they know the term at all, they most likely have a misconception of it, or at the very least dismiss it as someone else’s concern.

Think of your CEO, for example. Or if you work for a technical CEO in a small company, imagine the CFO. Someone in senior management, who doesn’t write bash scripts at least once per week. Now imagine this person is frustrated by how long it takes to deploy software at your company. And they’re frustrated by quality.

Now imagine you walking up to them and saying “Madam CxO, what you need is some DevOps.”

How would that conversation go?

Yeah. I’ve had that conversation far too many times. 🤣

So… for this reason, I’ve been reducing my talk about explicitly DevOpsy things, and instead trying to focus on the same topics in more generally understandable terms: Flow optimization, team building, and all those fun things.

This is my thinking. Where does it leave me today?

I’ve already removed the word “DevOps” from predominent placement on my web site, to be replaced with more innocuous terms. The only place the “DevOps” word word is embedded in my branding is in the name of my podcast: Tiny DevOps.

So what’s going to happen with Tiny DevOps?

Well, I actually really like that name. I’ve been told by many that it’s very memorable. And I get consistently good feedback about the content on that show. So I don’t want to kill it. But I will probably be changing the focus a bit. This plan is still in the works.

  • Tiny DevOps will remain, with a narrower focus on the technical practices of the DevOps culture: Deployment, alerting, feature flags, and the like.
  • I’ll be launching a new, still-unnamed, podcast focused at middle/upper-management, and the topic of software delivery in non-threatening, much less technical terms.

Once I get the ball rolling again, I intend to do each show on alternating weeks.

The format and exact content of the new show is still a work in progress. As is the name. If you have a brilliant idea for the name, or a guest, please let me know!

About the same time I decided that “DevOps” wasn’t the right term to reach a core part of my audience, we started a 3-week rennovation of my home office/studio. That 3-week rennovation is now in it’s 3rd month, and not yet complete.

When it is complete… or at least complete enough to set up my recording equipment again, I’ll start back into the routine of regular podcast creation. So stay tuned!

Share this

Related Content

In-person management is sometimes like riding shotgun

While sitting in the front seat may make me feel I have more control, I really don't.

My 5 best reads of 2021

As I read a lot, I thought I'd recap my best reads of 2021. Perhaps you'll find something for your 2022 reading list.

Taylorism is dead. Long live Taylorism!

Taylorism has gotten a lot of flack for being inhumane at worst, and ineffective at best. But DevOps is about applying Taylorism to computer systems.