Welcome!

Apache Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Christopher Harrold

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, @CloudExpo, Apache, FinTech Journal

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Chopping Up the Can By @ScriptRock | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

After Agile yesterday, today, DevOps is the latest and greatest in making work efficient

Chopping Up the Can: How to Get More Done

By Greg Pollock

Today, DevOps is the latest and greatest in making work efficient. Before that, Agile called on us to rework our development process. If we keep going back we eventually reach Frederick Winslow Taylor and the birth of scientific work management.

Taylor famously (or infamously) measured the time needed for every action in a production process. While degrading for workers, it was also effective. Taylor was able to pay higher wages because he made workers more efficient.

IT workers can't be "Taylorized"-they need to make decisions on their own, not mechanically follow a script-but the method of increasing efficiency by breaking work into smaller units still applies. Agile replaced the monolithic waterfall with the iterative unit of the sprint. The Phoenix Project draws strong parallels between the division of labor in a factory and in the software development lifecycle. Amazon's "two pizza rule" is another way of limiting scope to keep work units smaller.

When automation efforts fail, or fail to even get off the ground, over-sized work units are often to blame. This is a common complaint among people trying to implement DevOps ideals: automated build systems are feasible for green field companies but require too many moving parts for the enterprise to seriously consider them. Framed as an "all or nothing" work unit, automation is out of reach.

This is why some shops try to automate a little bit at a time. Doing it that way makes sense in the short term but ultimately results in a maintenance nightmare. An automation strategy needs to be comprehensive. Otherwise, each of your automations becomes another set of snowflakes to maintain. We know this happens because we often help clean it up.

One of the effects of gaining system visibility via GuardRail is being able to divide work into smaller units. Ian Buchanan, a Product Manager at VersionOne, started using GuardRail to standardize pockets of automation. After getting a clear picture of his build system he realized there was a lot of work ahead-much more than could be done immediately. Because Ian had visibility, however, he was able to divide up automation tasks into smaller units that could be completed without creating technical debt. Rather than kicking the infrastructure can down the road:

"ScriptRock allowed us to 'chop the can' into smaller pieces so what we are kicking down the road is smaller. In other words, ScriptRock enabled a more iterative and incremental solution. We don't need to solve all of our configuration drift problems at once. The upside is that we started to solvesome of our configuration drift."

The ability to actually get something done points to one of the less obvious virtues of smaller work units. Even if a given project takes the same total amount of time no matter how you slice it, being able to divide it into smaller work units gives you more flexibility in how you schedule that work. A project that requires 40 consecutive person hours is going to take longer to get on the roadmap than 40 one hour projects. Even if they both conclude at the same time, the smaller tasks completed first will have been creating business value the whole time you were completing the rest of the work. (This principle is one of the foundations of continuous deployment and modern finance.)

Breaking up projects into smaller units makes your time more efficient and your planning more flexible. System visibility enables you to know what you need to do-and that alone is a huge step toward effective automation-but it also lets you measure and predict that work with greater precision. Once you know what you have, you know what you need to do and when you'll be able to start.

More Stories By ScriptRock Blog

ScriptRock makes GuardRail, a DevOps-ready platform for configuration monitoring.

Realizing we were spending way too much time digging up, cataloguing, and tracking machine configurations, we began writing our own scripts and tools to handle what is normally an enormous chore. Then we took the concept a step further, giving it a beautiful interface and making it simple enough for our bosses to understand. We named it GuardRail after its function — to allow businesses to move fast and stay safe.

GuardRail scans and tracks much more than just servers in a datacenter. It works with network hardware, Cloud service providers, CloudFlare, Android devices, infrastructure, and more.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DSR is a supplier of project management, consultancy services and IT solutions that increase effectiveness of a company's operations in the production sector. The company combines in-depth knowledge of international companies with expert knowledge utilising IT tools that support manufacturing and distribution processes. DSR ensures optimization and integration of internal processes which is necessary for companies to grow rapidly. The rapid growth is possible thanks, to specialized services an...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...