Book Notes #47: The DevOps Handbook by Gene Kim, Patrick Debois, Jez Humble and John Willis

The DevOps Handbook shows leaders how to elevate their company IT stack with DevOps and win in the marketplace.

Title: The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations
Author: Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, John Willis
Year: 2016
Pages: 480

More than ever, the effective management of technology is critical for business competitiveness. For decades, technology leaders have struggled to balance agility, reliability, and security. 

And yet, high performers using DevOps principles, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Etsy, and Netflix, are routinely and reliably deploying code into production hundreds, or even thousands, of times per day.

As a result, I gave this book a rating of 8.0/10.

For me, a book with a note 10 is one I consider reading again every year. Among the books I rank with 10, for example, is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Overview of The DevOps Handbook

The DevOps Handbook is a book written by Gene Kim, Patrick Debois, Jez Humble and John Willis that explores the principles and practices of the DevOps movement, which aims to improve collaboration and communication between development and operations teams in order to deliver software more quickly and reliably. 

The book covers topics such as continuous delivery, infrastructure as code, and monitoring and metrics, and is intended as a guide for organizations looking to adopt or improve their DevOps practices.

The goal of DevOps is to move away from the adversarial behavior of teams, rallying instead toward common delivery goals by creating a safe, efficient, fast flow of valuable work to customers — minimizing the overhead of developing, testing, and deploying code.

Following in the footsteps of The Phoenix Project book, The DevOps Handbook shows leaders how to replicate these incredible outcomes, by showing how to integrate Product Management, Development, QA, IT Operations, and Information Security to elevate your company and win in the marketplace.

The DevOps Handbook presents several key concepts and practices that are central to the DevOps movement, including:

Culture: The book emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of collaboration, trust, and shared responsibility between development and operations teams in order to improve communication and reduce silos.

Automation: Automating as much of the software delivery process as possible, including testing, deployment, and infrastructure management, is a key aspect of DevOps.

Continuous Delivery: This concept focuses on the ability to release new software quickly and frequently, which is achieved by automating the testing, deployment, and release process.

Infrastructure as Code: This practice involves treating infrastructure, such as servers and networks, as code that can be managed, versioned, and automated, in the same way as application code.

Monitoring and Metrics: The authors stress the importance of monitoring and measuring various aspects of the software delivery process in order to identify bottlenecks and improve performance.

Lean principles: The book draws heavily from Lean manufacturing principles, which focus on eliminating waste and maximizing efficiency, to improve the software delivery process.

Feedback loop: The authors also discuss the importance of creating feedback loops to quickly identify and correct issues that arise during the software delivery process.

The most important lesson is that everyone needs to be exposed to other teams’ problems. We all work towards a common goal in the end. 

As we become more familiar with the problems of developers, testers, and operations, we can often find better solutions and fix problems earlier, and at a lower cost.

It does not have any code, so it is an ideal book for non-technical readers that would like to know what their teams are talking about.

The DevOps handbook is one of the most important DevOps books available. It combines the most important DevOps ideas, examples from known companies, and best practices.

My Book Highlights & Quotes

“… DevOps is a manifestation of creating dynamic, learning organizations that continually reinforce high-trust cultural norms…”

“… In high-performing organizations, everyone within the team shares a common goal—quality, availability, and security aren’t the responsibility of individual departments but are a part of everyone’s job, every day…”

“… Ask a programmer to review ten lines of code, and he’ll find ten issues. Ask him to do five hundred lines, and he’ll say it looks good…”

“… It’s difficult to overstate the enormity of this problem—it affects every organization, independent of the industry we operate in, the size of our organization, whether we are profit or non-profit. Now more than ever, how technology work is managed and performed predicts whether our organizations will win in the marketplace, or even survive…”

“… Bill Baker, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, quipped that we used to treat servers like pets: “You name them and when they get sick, you nurse them back to health. [Now] servers are [treated] like cattle. You number them and when they get sick, you shoot them…”

“… Management hints that the person guilty of committing the error will be punished. They then create more processes and approvals to prevent the error from happening again…”

“… By relentless and constant experimentation in their daily work, they were able to continually increase capacity, often without adding any new equipment or hiring more people…”

“… High performers use a disciplined approach to solving problems. This is in contrast to the more common practice of using rumor and hearsay, which can lead to the unfortunate metric of meantime until declared innocent—how quickly can we convince everyone else that we didn’t cause the outage. When there is a culture of blame around outages and problems, groups may avoid documenting changes and displaying telemetry where everyone can see them to avoid being blamed for outages…”

“… DevOps is a manifestation of creating dynamic, learning organizations that continually reinforce high-trust cultural norms…”

“… The core, chronic effect – when organization measurements and incentives across different silos prevent the achievement of global organizational goals…”

“… Every IT organization has two opposing goals, and second, every company is a technology company, whether they know it or not…”

“… Is defined as the process required to convert a business hypothesis into a technology-enabled service that delivers value to the customer…”

“… Organizations adopting DevOps are able to linearly increase the number of deploys per day as they increase their number of developers, just as Google, Amazon, and Netflix have done…”

“… A technology value stream is “the process required to convert a business hypothesis into a technology-enabled service that delivers value to the customer” — with the goal being to identify, and optimize this value stream…”

“… We can measure and improve our value stream by using lead time, process time, and percentage complete and accurate (%C/A) to inform value stream optimization…”

“… By limiting our WIP and reducing batch sizes, we’re reducing the potential for distraction and multi-tasking — improving our overall productivity…”

“… Limiting WIP makes it easier to see the problems that prevent the completion of work…”

“… The equivalent to single piece flow in the technology value stream is realized with continuous deployment, where each change committed to version control is integrated, tested, and deployed into production…”

“… Because failure is inherent and inevitable in complex systems, we must design a safe system of work… where we can perform work without fear, confident that any errors will be detected quickly, long before they cause catastrophic outcomes…”

“… The faster you can detect a problem with feedback (ideally in real-time), the faster you can act on the problem…”

“… Always make quality everyone’s responsibility — not just the responsibility of a single department or role…”

“… Effective change management policies will recognize that there are different risks associated with different types of changes and that those changes are all handled differently…”

“… Our goal should always be to maximize opportunities for organizational learning, continually reinforcing that we value actions that expose and share more widely the problems in our daily work…”

Following in the footsteps of The Phoenix Project, The DevOps Handbook shows leaders how to replicate these incredible outcomes, by showing how to integrate Product Management, Development, QA, IT Operations, and Information Security to elevate your company and win in the marketplace.

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