Just Because You Use The Tools, It Does Not Mean You Do DevOps

I have long said that many of the tools and practices used in DevOps are suitable for Legacy software development. Their use should be encouraged. But beware. Just because you apply some DevOps and Agile practices, it does not mean you are doing DevOps. For example, just because you have automated builds in a pipeline, it does not mean you are doing DevOps. DevOps (and Site Reliability Engineering) require particular aspects of Agile to succeed. Have a stand-up? Do you actually stand up? Is the stand-up less than fifteen minutes? Do you only cover what you did yesterday, what you plan to do today, and list your blockers?

I have witnessed a few things over my career at companies that do DevOps, but no, not really. I will update this as more come to light. I am sure more will come to light.

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy.


If you complain the Agile ceremonies are taking too much time out of your day for coding, you’re not doing DevOps.

If getting a team to look at an issue requires several manual emails to more people than have appeared on Survivor, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you are outcome-driven rather than output-driven, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you have to have a laundry list of features that have to be finished before code freeze, you’re not doing DevOps.

If your features sit unused for months before they are implemented into production, you’re not doing DevOps.

If your shortest scrum of scrum meetings gave you a minute back in your day, and it was only 59 minutes long, you’re not doing DevOps.

If your API gateways are tracked manually, updated randomly, and require multiple teams to update, you’re not doing DevOps.

If your API gateways are stored in version controls, but you have to update your code manually, you’re not doing DevOps.

If your automated deployment process requires an email to be manually sent to more people than a Major League Baseball team to start the smoke test, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you track build release numbers manually on a spreadsheet or a wiki page for each environment, you’re not doing DevOps.

If they changed the password again, and we have to get it from… is a common refrain in your RCA meetings, you’re not doing DevOps.

If your request to refresh test data is met with a we don’t have the time, response, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you run out of disk space because the application or system is not monitoring and alerting, you’re not doing DevOps.

If running out of disk space causes your application to fail, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you are not using elastic environments, you’re not doing DevOps.

If the term self-healing is met with blank stares, you’re not doing DevOps.

If the phrase yeah, we noticed that bug in development too, is common during RCAs, you’re not doing DevOps.

If the phrase worked in the lower environments, is common during RCAs, you’re not doing DevOps.

If another team is writing the unit tests and behavioral tests (TDD/BDD), you’re not doing DevOps.

If you have to set up a reminder to replace or renew your certificates, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you have to call two dozen people and wait an hour for a pull request to production, you’re not doing DevOps.

If your security system worked in production, and development, but no longer works after your release, and you made no changes to the code, you’re not doing DevOps.

If a minor upgrade to production requires a meeting of more people than the cast and crew of Game of Thrones, you’re not doing DevOps.

If the first step in updating your applications is turn off the web server, you’re not doing DevOps.

If a minor update to production requires you to shut down for a day and notify the business that their systems will be unavailable, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you are more worried about data backup procedures than being down for a day, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you are more concerned with your roll-back plan than you are about being down for a day for a minor upgrade, you’re not doing DevOps.

If you need to take a day to do a minor upgrade, you’re not doing DevOps.