Episode 45: Harris Kirk of Wolters Kluwer Embarks on a DevOps Transformation

Written by: Diana Hwang
2 min read

On Episode 45 of DevOps Radio, Harris Kirk, senior DevOps engineer at healthcare software solution, Wolters Kluwer, joins host Brian Dawson to explain how the saying ‘every business is a software business’ applies to healthcare. Harris shares Wolters Kluwer’s DevOps transformation story starting with what he refers to as the ‘The Blob.’ While the organization is not quite achieving continuous delivery, the adoption of microservices and containers are providing them with both ability and the opportunity to go faster.

Harris says the first step organizations need to take when embarking on a DevOps transformation is changing the cultural mindset. This means organizations must unanimously agree to undergo the process. This requires incremental changes with both a socialization and collaborative aspect in order to establish a feedback loop and a version control system to support it all. Harris says the key to all this is to be able to fail early, quickly and have that be an accepted practice. This will help organizations learn from mistakes and keep evolving.

Brian and Harris deviate from talking about the details of a DevOps transformation to quickly recount Harris’ stint as a chemist before becoming a software engineer. They arrive at the conclusion that while there are many differences between the two professions, in both science and software, over-design of equipment is a commonality and the two fields could benefit from automation to make it easier for customers. Here, Harris says all organizations need to apply the ‘you ain’t gonna need it principle’ -- meaning it’s best not to overwhelm customers with features they are not using.

As the episode comes to a close, Harris explains the importance of leading by example, or eating your own dog food (also the title of his DevOps World | Jenkins World 2018 session - ‘Pipeline of Pipelines, Eating Our Own Dog Food ’). He explains that he tries to use his own principles with the software designing so that it provides credibility to users.

For more episodes of DevOps Radio, be sure to check out the page on cloudbees.com or head to iTunes or Spotify to subscribe. If you love what you hear, be sure to tell us on Twitter by using the #DevOpsRadio hashtag.

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