Implementing DevOps in Large, Complex Organizations: An Interview with Mike Baukes


Mike Baukes talks about his definition of DevOps and why it's hard for organizations to get it right, common failues organizations experience when implementing DevOps, and the importance of visibility across the organization, and he even covers some of the great tools available today.

Mike Baukes will be presenting a presentation titled "Lessons from the Front Lines: Implementing DevOps in Large Complex Organizations" at the Agile Development Conference and Better Software Conference West 2014, which will take place June 1–6, 2014.

About "Lessons from the Front Lines: Implementing DevOps in Large Complex Organizations":
Financial services are not about high fives, flashy suits, and Maseratis. Behind the scenes, the technology that powers these companies walks a delicate line, balancing regulatory risk and the need for rapid technology response to continually changing market conditions. DevOps is the perfect fit, a natural for these organizations. Getting it right, however, is quite another story. Mike Baukes describes two recent experiences of wide-scale organizational change in establishing DevOps capabilities in a trading firm and a commercial banking operation. Mike shares his experiences with straightforward accounts of wrestling large-scale technical debt, enterprise cultural change, and a constant stream of pipeline changes going to production. Whatever your level of understanding of DevOps is, you will leave with penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes of what success and failure look like—from someone who has been there as a consultant and an employee.


Jonathan Vanian: Hello. Today, I'm with Mike Baukes. Mike Baukes is going to be speaking in the upcoming Agile Development Conference West. Mike, thank you for joining us today.

Mike Baukes: Hey, thanks. How's it going?

Jonathan Vanian: It's going well. I thought we should start off by having you explain a little bit about your career, thus far, for readers and listeners.

Mike Baukes: My background is, I'm very much an enterprise guy. Mostly financial services, predominantly large-scale enterprise IT. Everything from architecture to operations to app development, I've seen a lot of it and I've had senior leadership roles, had operational roles, and a lot of those types of components, which has been great.

Jonathan Vanian: Right.

Mike Baukes: For me, it was kind of natural after spending close to 12 or 15 years in there, my co-founder and I, we came across this continual problem and that was that it's really, really difficult when you're in a large-scale organization to get visibility across how everything's operating, and the composition of how services that our business relied on are actually stitched together.

Jonathan Vanian: Right.

Mike Baukes: After hitting our heads against this problem so often, and trying to automate solutions to build these services, it became pretty evident that if we were to stop and look at the composition of these companies that the best way to get everyone engaged and understanding these services is to use an emerging philosophy, which is called DevOps. DevOps is really about getting cohesive collaboration inside an organization in order to deliver software for the benefit of the business.

Jonathan Vanian: Are you seeing this in primarily financial service industry or just across the board, any type of large organization.

Mike Baukes: It's not only large organizations. It is across the board, but it's small organizations, it's larger organizations. I think everyone has realized and come to the conclusion that historically developers and operations, they are at odds, and there's no real mechanisms in place for them to establish communication and establish shared learnings between those different groups. I think that while I took them along and there are some pretty interesting processes around—formal adherence to processes for the benefit of operations and to some degree for the system designs principles, agile came along and started talking about iterative development cycles, trying to reduce the waterfall view.

I think we're now seeing, as a result of agile occurring and has a result of the cloud, and the data center perimeter extending out to the Internet, what we're beginning to see is this need to deliver solutions faster and in a more agile way. Naturally, now the operational guys that have historically been very much looking at protecting the environment, and safeguarding it to some degree, are now beginning to learn a lot of agile techniques to effectively manage their infrastructure faster, provide consistency, and really provide clarity and visibility across all those types of environments. It's a pretty exciting time for everyone, I think.


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