You Can’t Automate Chaos

In a recent DevOps Foundation Certification class one IT executive said “You can not automate Chaos”! Another learner spoke up and said “Yes you can… that is what we are doing”!   Although that was meant as a LOL moment, it is true that when it comes to velocity and improving cadence all too often service providers jump the gun and look at automation as the silver bullet.  While recognizing that tools, technology and automation are key elements, process and governance must also be considered. Automating before we get management control of these is likely to lead to bigger and faster CHAOS!

Executive buy in and support is rewarded when the business and IT are integrated to the point that IT alignment with the business is a given.  Properly designed and well governed process will enable any automation initiative.  Remember we are talking about “Just enough process” and “Just enough governance”.  If your process is the roadblock then you might have created exactly what you are trying to avoid.

There are many areas that can be automated to support continuous delivery and continuous deployment throughout the service lifecycle so when it comes to vendor and tool selections service providers will benefit by taking a gradient approach.  Considerations will include:
  • An understanding of the integrated value stream including business outcomes and requirements, development, deployment and operational activities.
  • Metrics and report requirements for all functions are an element of technology and automation that are often missed.  Remember that all of these are dynamic so tools and technology must be flexible to meet changing business needs and requirements.
  • Constraints will need to be identified.  These include governance, compliance, financial as well as organization structures and cultural constraints.
  • Considering integrated suites, application platforms and many other functional tools and technology will be required.  We should not be looking at a single vendor or tool but rather the entire tool chain that is required to optimize throughput and automation.
I have found that depending on who you ask there are many interpretations of what DevOps is, what the Agile Values really represent and how ITSM or LEAN initiatives integrate with them. If your organization is considering or is engaged in any ITSM, DevOps or Agile initiative, technology and automation will be required for success.  Let’s not automate chaos!  It’s time for the industry to get out of the CHAOS business altogether. Ongoing communication, education and training are not just buzz words but will likely be your critical success factors. 

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