DevOps Tools: The Least Important Factor

As I travel around the country, and now the world, talking to organizations about DevOps and their implementation of DevOps, I find a common theme in every conversation: tools. Tools are on the top of everyone’s list of questions regarding the subject of DevOps. It seems everyone has a tree to cut down and all they need is a chainsaw.

In 15 minute consultations, the top questions everyone wants to know:

“What CI tool should we use?”

“Should we use Chef, Puppet, or Ansible?”

“What tool should we use to monitor our services?”

“Github or Bitbucket? What about AWS Code Repository?”

“We use Jira, but what are the other ALM tools out there?”

“Terraform or Cloudformation?”

“Is there a Jira plugin for Automated testing?”

“I have a windows environment, we’ve been using Octopus Deploy.” (This is a statement, but every time I hear it the tone is phrased in the form of a question).

“AWS Code Deploy seems so cool, but what does that do to our Chef implementation?”

“We are using containers, which tool should we use to monitor our containers?”

These are all great, relevant questions, but, these questions are not the most important questions to ask. My response to people asking DevOps tooling questions is always the same, a question.

My response questions include:

“What does DevOps mean in your organization?”

“What is your plan for gaining organizational buy-in to DevOps Culture?”

“What is your strategy for adoption of DevOps?”

“How are your teams addressing skill gaps?”

“How will you show the ROI of making a shift to DevOps?”

“Is product management and your business leading the effort?”

DevOps success is more dependent on culture, organizational buy-in, and skill sets than what tools are used to get the job done. A hammer in the hand of a computer engineer will generate some destruction, the same hammer in the hands of a carpenter will build a home.

Address your people, culture, and processes first. We help companies build end-to-end pipelines that automate the entire process for product teams. These efforts allow our successful customers to build and deploy applications in an iterative fashion at the speed the business desires. As robust as these solutions are, a process that still requires change advisory board (CAB) approval will not realize the promises of DevOps.

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