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How DevOps Complements Agile at Nokia Entertainment

by Ben Linders on Nov 15, 2013 |

It makes you wonder why DevOps is getting so much attention when it seems agile has everything, says John Clapham from Nokia Entertainment in Bristol. Agile has the manifesto and principles, it focuses on people, clarity for the stakeholders, faster delivery, and happier customers, so why would you need DevOps? In his talk at the Agile Methods in the Finance Sector and Complex Environment conference, John explained what DevOps is and what it has brought to their business.

Nokia Entertainment were practicing agile software development, but still had a release schedule of 3 months. Seeking a way to deliver faster they looked to see if DevOps could help them, as described by John in the InfoQ DevOps War story DevOps @ Nokia Entertainment.  If DevOps really has value, I want to understand it, and be able to grow it said John. But like growing a plant, I need to understand the conditions it needs, and those may be different to Agile.

In many organizations tensions separate IT Operations and Development, like:

  • Stability vs Change
  • Operations Culture vs Dev Culture

If these tensions weren’t enough, both groups have their own unique technical challenges.

Nokia Entertainment wanted to create a culture of collaboration and trust, which made it possible to share knowledge and responsibility. They gave attention to the people aspects to create change in this organization that would be durable and long lasting.

Along with other initiatives, like Continuous Delivery, DevOps has improved speed of execution from end to end to Nokia Entertainment, they became able to deliver twice as fast. Doing DevOps didn’t bring stability AND change, but it helped them to find a balance between the two.  It helped them to improve quality, cost and efficiency, and increase product reliability with the early involvement of IT operations.  These approaches helped motivation by bringing more autonomy, and a focus on mastery. Generally this has improved engagement of employees. Many organizations report that a strong DevOps culture also helps them to attract and retain personnel.

Another way DevOps differs from agile is by being driven by a community of enthusiasts. Time will tell if that is a good or bad thing, said John. For now, DevOps is a neat package, a pattern for some common but difficult problems in delivering software. Focusing on culture and sharing has delivered results for Nokia Entertainment, it will be interesting to see if this continues.

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