Rashad Neloms
Practice Lead – Orchestration & Automation

If I hear “We’re not big enough to do DevOps” one more time, I am going to pull my hair out!

So first off, I don’t have any more hair to pull out. I lost that fight a few years ago! However, this is a sentiment that I hear all too often. There are times when I introduce myself as VeriStor’s Practice Lead of DevOps, and I anticipate the statement being made “We’re not big enough to do DevOps” by the person sitting across from me.

Now, I will admit my past experience and that of several members of our team have involved spearheading a DevOps transformation from the ground up. Unbeknownst to us at the time, together we built, participated and ran a DevOps team at a very large international retailer before the term DevOps even existed! We accomplished this by facilitating a change in our culture, team construction and technical execution. Although we did not set out to be a “DevOps Team”, the standards we instilled as a highly functional team have become the pillars of DevOps today. This was well before the DevOps tool chain was as established as it is now, and long before the governing principles such as those discussed in the “2015 State of DevOps” (provided by Puppet) even existed. By participating in countless conversations, various failures before successes, and constant “No’s”, we finally reached a point of continuous integration, continuous improvement and almost instantaneous delivery! All of that aside, the statement is normally not a result of what I or my team members have accomplished in the past but something far more simple. The mindset of the “Business as Usual”!

Many believe that there is no need to consider DevOps because they only do so much from an IT, development or business perspective. So why would they need to do DevOps? Guess what: if any of those are your excuses for why you’re “not big enough to do DevOps” then my response is “You’re already too big to avoid DevOps!”

Here is my reasoning: when we started the DevOps journey several years ago, we had humble aspirations and expectations. Little did we know we would provide a canvas for innovation that increased quality and communication within our company- while tearing down walls between teams, brokering goodwill amongst our peers, and increasing the company’s bottom line in quantifiable dollars and cents!

Today, if you don’t have a large IT footprint, I can guarantee there is no one who wants IT to do more if it is propelling the business to new heights than the CEO of your company! Although you may not be a large development shop, I am sure there is at least one rockstar somewhere amongst your development team that is just itching to launch new ideas but does not have the proper runway. DevOps is that runway!

Consider these scenarios: you’re either Blockbuster or Netflix. A traditional taxi service or Uber. A RadioShack or BestBuy. Kodak (really- when was the last time you bought a camera…be honest!) or a mobile phone with a camera. There is the competitor and there is the soon-to-be competitor that is not willing to do the same things you’ve always done. The competition is working to figure out how to do it more creatively, efficiently and faster! This is at the core of DevOps. When you consider it in this manner, regardless of the size of your IT infrastructure, development team or business, DevOps is an absolute necessity!

When you begin to implement a DevOps culture (which is a collaborative culture that is constantly learning, constantly improving, constantly moving faster and constantly increasing quality for your customer), THEN THINGS WILL CHANGE! Your IT footprint will grow out of necessity. Your development efforts will expand as you find yourself able to respond quicker to the needs of your customers. Your business will grow as all of the parts of your company are all working in concert with one another. I have yet to see anyone perform DevOps tailored to their company’s needs (big or small) and not experience all three of these results!

So the next time I am sitting across from you and you proceed to say  “We’re not big enough to do DevOps”, just remember:  “You’re already too big to avoid DevOps!”