The Valentine's Day DevOps Challenge: Who Do You Love?
February 14, 2017

Aruna Ravichandran
CA Technologies

Everybody loves DevOps. In fact, DevOps is the hottest date in IT. That's because DevOps promises to satisfy the deepest longings of digital business — including fast execution on innovative ideas, competitively differentiated customer experiences, and significantly improved operational efficiencies.

But who does DevOps love?


This is more than a cute Valentine's-themed question. It's a fundamental challenge for anyone leading a DevOps initiative. What passions and motivations are driving your DevOps teams? How do you know? And if those motivations aren't the right ones, how do you re-direct them?

Metrics, it turns out, may hold the answers.

The Danger of DevOps Narcissism

Many of us know what it's like to be in a relationship with a narcissist. Narcissists can actually be very attractive. They maintain the best possible outward appearance and exude confidence. They can also be quite charming and seductive.

But relationships with narcissists ultimately turn out to be quite toxic, because narcissists only love themselves. So they use our feelings for them to meet their own emotional and material needs—giving us little or nothing in return.

Left unchecked, DevOps can easily devolve into a similar state of narcissism. Technology professionals, after all, typically love technology. So as they catch DevOps fever, they start to view DevOps, agile and continuous delivery as objectives to be pursued for their own sakes.

There is nothing wrong with having a DevOps team that is super-enthusiastic about DevOps excellence. You want your team to be excited about DevOps best practices and DevOps-enabling tools.

But enterprises aren't investing millions in DevOps so that IT can congratulate itself. It's investing in DevOps to address an existential business challenge. DevOps narcissism is thus potentially quite toxic.

One way to detect creeping DevOps narcissism is through the metrics by which DevOps performance is measured. Narcissistic DevOps teams focus on narcissistic metrics (also known as "vanity" metrics). These metrics include lines of code produced and function points created. Leaderboards and gamification can also both indicate and promote DevOps narcissism — especially if they utilize vanity metrics to keep score.

Romancing the Business

The proper object of DevOps affection is, of course, the business. The whole point of DevOps is to accelerate time-to-benefit for business-driven digital deliverables produced by agile development — while also diligently addressing performance at scale, production economics, security, compliance, business continuity and other digital business requirements.

DevOps therefore can't just look inward. It must look outward to see how well it is communicating and collaborating with all relevant digital stakeholders in order to achieve the goals of the business.

What metrics best indicate alignment of DevOps efforts with the business? There are several—but I'll just highlight one here: NetPromoter. NetPromoter scores (NPS) are broadly used by organizations to quantify the customers' perceptions about the quality of their engagements. I won't weigh in here regarding the concerns CX professionals have about excessive reliance on NPS vs/ other CX metrics. I'll simply point out that, whatever its flaws, NPS is a far more business-directed metric than lines of code or function points. And, as such, it is a much-needed antidote to DevOps narcissism.

NPS is also practical to obtain and immune from corruption by DevOps staff — two key requirements for any management metric.

Other metrics (cycle times, FTE-to-customer ratios, MTTR, etc.) can also be very useful for DevOps leaders. And I'll write more about them in future blogs.

But on Valentine's Day, it's appropriate to ask a relationship question. Yes, everyone loves DevOps. But who does DevOps love? If it's not the business, then there's going to be some heartbreak. And that heartbreak is likely to come in the form of failed expectations and subpar business outcomes.

Aruna Ravichandran is VP, Product & Solutions Marketing, DevOps, CA Technologies
Share this

Industry News

January 26, 2022

Puppet announced a new competency-based global channel partner program for the company’s almost-200 worldwide channel partners that operate across 35 countries.

January 26, 2022

Weaveworks announced the acquisition of Magalix.

January 26, 2022

WhiteSource released an Azure DevOps repository integration, allowing Azure DevOps users to detect all open source components and automatically enforce security policies directly from their repository.

January 25, 2022

DataOps.live and Okera, the Universal Data Authorization company, announced a strategic partnership to increase the speed and security of sensitive data workloads running on the Snowflake Data Cloud Platform.

January 25, 2022

ConvergeOne released a Cyber Recovery as a Service (CRaaS) solution that utilizes innovative technologies from Dell Technologies and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

January 25, 2022

ArmorCode secured an additional $8 million in seed financing.

January 24, 2022

Oracle achieved FedRAMP High Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) for an expanded set of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) services.

January 24, 2022

Prophecy, the enterprise low-code data engineering platform that brings the speed of DevOps to data engineering, raised a $25 million Series A round.

January 20, 2022

Progress announced the R1 2022 release of Progress Telerik and Progress Kendo UI, powerful .NET and JavaScript UI libraries for app development.

January 20, 2022

CodeSee raised $7 million in additional funding, bringing the company’s raised total to $10 million.

January 20, 2022

Bugsnag now supports Unreal Engine by Epic Games used to develop 3D games, and Electron, a framework to build cross-platform desktop apps in JavaScript running on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

January 19, 2022

Dell Technologies introduced multi-cloud capabilities that offer a consistent experience wherever applications and data reside.

January 19, 2022

Harness announced that it is opening the CD component of its DevOps platform, which is now free and accessible under a source-available license, complementing its CI platform, which is already available under an open source license.

January 19, 2022

The latest offering from Plutora, the Test Environment QuickStart Bundle, takes an agile approach to evolving DevOps practices.

January 18, 2022

Appvance has secured $13 million in Series C funding to accelerate global expansion and product roadmap development.