Devops. Development Operations. A relatively recent name duct taped to an old practice. Basically pouring 5 heaping tablespoons of Agile development sauce into a quart of infrastructure stew, bring to a caffeined boil, lowered to simmer and dished up ITIL style with some parsley and french fries.

Let us digress and digest this anecdotal mystery. Shall we?


Devops. One of the last, truly untamed frontiers of the traditional IT world remaining today. Pure development being the other. Infrastructure having been shackled and broken-in long ago by the bean counting hordes of MBO-land. Led into the conference rooms like captured slaves on parade before the Roman citizenry. Forced to conform their daily existence into status reports, project plans,  Gantt charts, change management review meetings, and those murky swim lanes.

Their every movement tied by electronic chains to the merciless beast they call the “service request ticket”. It becomes a demigod to which they must bow, or get a bad review and lose merit points, or some sort of ass-chewing.

Meanwhile, outside the walls, just beyond the moat, the razor wire and the mine fields, roam the coders. Laughing hysterically, slinging caffeine red liquids about like an uncontrolled fire hose, they emit a magical flow of power and beauty. It touches screens and they call it: code stuff.

As they empower their unicorn friends (comouters) with these magical powers, they relax and breathe in the wonders of creativity. At least until the suit arrives and starts asking why the latest builds are not updated in team center and github. Oh and then there’s that disgusting, smelly, putrid, fly-ridden mess they call…. documentation.

Gradually becoming less free, and more regulated, controlled, documented, measured, analyzed, compared, and packaged for the almighty god of budgetary heaven: the consumerization effort.  The enterprise coders of today do not roam as freely and naked as their ancestors did twenty sun rotations ago.  Okay maybe sometimes naked, but only after enough drinking.

Inevitably they were rounded up. Reprogrammed to use more sophisticated telemetry and performance metrics. And then they had to use that on their code as well.

The at-home coders remain the last of the true nerd renegades. The guerilla bandit gypsies that make apps and games for phones that keep the rest of us domesticated robots busy at staff meetings.

And on this nerdy ball of dirt and water, there exists three other types of e-creatures.

And Devops engineers.

I’ve heard legend of other creatures but none can be proven yet. At least not by modern debugging tools.

Devops engineers are a curious and confusing breed. Inspiring both friendly curiosity and deathly disdain.  For they are the levitating symbiotic transmorphing enigmas that bridge the two worlds of code and case study. Liaisons of the datacenter, who bring laziness to the overzealous,  and energy to the comatose. I think that means that they do a little of both programming and infrastructure work.

They are the mind and spirit of artistic music-loving hippies, clad in iron business suits, wielding clever MBA infused vocabulary. Able to step out of the dangerously hot foundries of release management into the chilly waters of monotonous business planning meetings, all the while smiling and managing to pull it off equally annoying with a starbucks cup in hand.

Few are fortunate enough to wear the title in an official capacity.  Most are relegated to denial in the face of excoriating cross examination. Some are able to live a quiet life disguised as members of the infrastructure tribe. Staying late to ply their true coding desires, secretly, in the war to stave off the deadly redundant-waste-of-time beast.

But as with all techno-things which sprout official names or acronyms: they attract the familar gangs of regulatory compliance groups, project managers,  analysts, certification groups and vendors. Soon. After enough of these leeches attach to the slowing herds of envelop-pushers, the gradual drag and blood loss takes its toll.  Rendering the eager followers less powerful and ultimately bored out of their fricking minds.

What was once a daring and impressive foray into vast fields of process challenges, and piles of bodies claimed in the name of creative automation, soon becomes an incessant barrage of meetings, metrics, reviews, presentations, business case studies, ROI/MBO/SLA soup, micro management by teams of visionaries who couldn’t tell Kar Wax from a Kandinsky, and a deluge of project management derailment that finally turn the exciting camping trip into an ebola-infused chainsaw diarrhea festival.

And that’s the good part.

Yeah. It’s been a long week and it’s only Wednesday.


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