CDW Blog

The Intricate Tangle of Dev and Ops, and How to Unravel It

13 July, 2021 / by Pete Hulme

As an intelligent and capable software development strategy, DevOps is hard to beat. It pulls on the expertise of the developer to unpack the innovation and create the applications that are needed to drive business at scale, and it tugs on the capabilities and efficiencies of the operations teams to ensure that these innovations and applications are delivered on time, without issues and continuously. In essence, DevOps was designed to minimise the conflicts that traditionally arose between developers and operations when the two teams operated in silos. However, IT Ops still has its issues with Dev, and Dev still thinks that IT Ops can be slow and obstructive. So, what happened?

The problem lies in the differences in processes and approaches between IT Ops and developers, and the need for deeper collaboration.


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Unpacking the developer divide

The problem is that, as a developer, your focus is on using the right tools to engage in a constant cycle of improvement. Your goal is to get the solution done, to make sure that it has the right feature sets, and that it meets the demands laid out by the business. However, developers rarely do as much troubleshooting as IT Ops is ultimately forced to do. It’s the developers who are sleeping sound in their beds at 3am when IT Ops is dealing with unexpected issues. Developers create and evolve; IT Ops teams monitor and report. It’s easy to see why resentment can fill in the cracks.

It’s also easy to see why developers perceive IT Ops as slow or obstructive. The reality is that IT Ops is dealing with multi-faceted platforms and the challenges that come with these platforms—interoperability issues, compliance/governance, security, integration complexities, limited toolsets and poor visibility into potential issues. When Ops holds up a hand and asks for a pause, it’s because teams are under pressure to ensure solutions are secure, tested to the edge of efficiency, and capable of service delivery.

Finally, one of the biggest challenges is that the collaboration between Dev and IT Ops is often not clearly defined, which makes it hard to draw lines, build boundaries and operate effectively. This is an essential bridge to build. Not only does a clear approach to collaboration improve visibility and responsibility, but it stops pandering to the idea that Devs don’t get Ops, and vice versa. Both are capable, relevant and essential to successful outcomes.




The risks of limited collaboration

If the challenging landscape between Dev and IT Ops isn’t resolved, then risks creep in. Risks that go beyond just resentment and frustration. If the teams are not communicating and visibility is limited, then Devs could bypass IT Ops altogether, moving past the perceived obstacles that the IT Ops teams put in place and forging ahead without process. This introduces the risk of shadow IT and unmanaged public cloud investments as an example—and these pose a compliance, security and cost risk. It’s a concertina of complications that knocks on into team efficiencies and DevOps relations.

Resolution isn’t a simple or quick fix, but it is an intelligent one. It requires that the two teams have visibility into one another’s workloads, processes, flows and requirements. Understanding breeds collaboration. It asks that developers recognise the limitations placed on IT Ops when it comes to applications and investments, and that IT Ops be more transparent in its reasoning. Without some kind of bridge between Dev and IT Ops, the perception of IT Ops as the enemy will only erode the potential of DevOps from within.

Keen to understand more? Our "In the Mind Of" blog series continues. Read a Developer's Guide to getting on the right side of Operations here >