The two tribes of DevOps
DevOps works to unite Dev and Ops communities to remove the vertical fracture in our IT organisations.
Ironically in the process of doing this we appear to be fracturing on a horizontal line between those oriented towards technology, software and coding, and those oriented towards business, people and practice.
Maybe this is a reflection of the principle of Dunbar's Number: that once a group of humans reaches a certain size it will always split into two tribes.
I went to a meeting of a DevOps community some time ago where there were multiple presentations on the subject of DevOps. I literally did not understand any of them as they were all intensely technical. There was not a single discussion that was recognizably about people, behaviour, practices, culture, flow, feedback, knowledge, community, collaboration, or business. One presenter said they worked in cultural change and then proceeded to give a presentation that was entirely displayed from the Linux command prompt. and consisted of endless screeds of green characters which were apparently a demonstration of a cool utility. One colleague of mine actually left after the third presentation but I was trapped in my seat and decided to stay to see if I could garner anything. The nearest we came was a comparison of two DevOps tools (TerraForm and IForgetWhat) where I understood that a comparison was being made but understood almost nothing of the actual comparisons. To be fair, other meetings of this community have been more evenly spread; it was skewed by a tech conference that was on. Nevertheless, way to alienate a huge part of the DevOps constituency.
There's a world outside of the machine. Especially in Horse DevOps, we are trying to reverse engineer CALMS (culture, automation, flow/Lean, feedback/measurement, sharing/community) which doesn't happen magically in a legacy environment. Apparently unicorns just sneeze it.
There are two kinds of people: those who divide people into two kinds of people and those who don't. I can see this split clear as day. Sure, lots of people straddle both, but there are clearly two distinct DevOps mindsets/communities. It can even get a bit snobby.
It's not the only DevOps split: the horse/unicorn split is there too.
In everything we do and say, we need to be clear whether we are addressing tech or business, horse or unicorn. And we need to clearly communicate which ones we are catering to, or we risk alienating people.