DevOps has already brought us Tikkie, Uber and Spotify. Quick conclusion: DevOps is the way to quickly develop high-quality products that can grow in no time. This is true. Then again, it didn’t. If only because no one can say exactly what DevOps is. There are some basics, but there is no exact definition, manual or certificate. Still, I would venture to say that it is promising. With a few caveats.


First to the basics: DevOps stands for Development and Operations. It’s a way of working where previously separate departments or silos start working together in one team around the development of a product. In it, everyone works together toward one common goal. By bringing all disciplines together, opposing interests become immediately apparent. Colleagues do need to empathize with each other. One person’s problem is another person’s problem. What they encounter, they solve together, moving quickly. This increases the quality of the final product and avoids frustration.

Second key pillar of working according to DevOps is automation: smart DevOps tools allow for faster work, less manual work (i.e., fewer errors) and greater efficiency. While DevOps is certainly not reserved for organizations that already work entirely in the cloud, working from the cloud can enhance the DevOps approach, because configuring and requesting cloud infrastructure – think setting up a test environment – is highly automated. Setting up a test environment, for example, takes no time at all.

The advantages of DevOps are clear: more efficiency, more knowledge sharing between disciplines, more flexible employees who are more widely deployable, a shorter time-to-market, fewer frustrations, more job satisfaction and higher quality. So far so good.


Working according to DevOps is something you see a lot in startups. Indeed, they can hardly do otherwise. They are simply too few to form separate teams, usually have one clear common goal – to develop that new product – and have the drive to prove themselves quickly. They almost always work agile: release quickly, adapt quickly. Or quickly conclude that it doesn’t work.

It is the notable successes of startups – think Facebook and Twitter – that inspire large companies to start working differently as well. This is not always successful. Because where a startup releases quickly and also quits quickly if it doesn’t work, large organizations are often used to starting a project with one set goal in mind and finishing it no matter what. Even if it takes years. Quitting when something turns out not to work is not in the culture. And that is immediately the biggest prerequisite for a successful DevOps deployment: an appropriate culture.


From management consultant Peter Drucker is the quote
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch and everything else for dinner.”
In other words, if your culture is not ready for the fast-paced, agile way of DevOps, you will run into problems. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but it’s not a quick win. What we often see working well in practice is starting small. You start with one DevOps team in your organization, made up of people who are excited about it. If that works well, inspire other teams. You achieve small successes, colleagues and managers see that. Enthusiasm grows, creating a movement for culture change from the bottom up. This often works better than when a culture change is imposed from above.

We often jump in temporarily at clients, either gathering around us a team of client employees who are willing and able to work according to DevOps. Or we form a team composed entirely of rockstars to initiate development in an organization. Can work very well and we enjoy doing it. And if it doesn’t work? Then we dare to say the same.

Will DevOps work for you?

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Vincent Bitter

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