Episode 57: Haley Daiber of Unusual Ventures Says Organizations Miss the Big Picture in DevOps Implementation

A lot is happening in the world of DevOps and with all the buzz around evolving tools and practices, it’s not rare for organizations to miss the big picture. In the latest episode of DevOps Radio, co-hosts Michael Neale and Karen Taggart speak to Haley Daiber, senior associate at Unusual Ventures

cloudbees devops radio logoTeams are often deeply stuck in the nitty-gritty of tools and technology “without really understanding what’s the big picture of what this (DevOps) shift means and what we’re trying to achieve,” said Haley. Unusual Ventures is a seed fund that focuses on both consumer and enterprise startups. 

While there may be different motivations for organizations to consider new technologies, Haley suggests that it’s more about empowering teams and making the work easier and efficient. At the end of the day, it’s like the shift towards microservices in which organizations want to deliver software faster. 

“It’s how you can create these smaller teams of people that can get things done,” Haley noted.

During the podcast, Haley pointed out the differences between how smaller firms and their enterprise counterparts approach DevOps. Being a seed-stage fund, Haley’s work usually revolves around small teams who are busy solving real-world problems than those who are trying to wrap their heads around how to implement DevOps in their traditional process-heavy setups. 

Is more better? 

Haley turned the discussion around and asked Michael and Karen if bigger organizations want to work with a single vendor or they prefer point solutions from different vendors. Karen thinks that frequently the need for adopting point solutions or newer tools comes from smaller teams working under strict deadlines. These teams are forced to adopt tools and processes that differ entirely from those used by others in their organization. When successful, their organization brings such teams together, which can create conflicts as their DevOps implementation can vary a lot. 

Karen noted the challenge is more pronounced when there is a buyout and (there are) two different companies with two mature DevOps programs working in two different directions. The key to solving such challenges lies in understanding how teams and departments function in an organization. With no two organizations having a similar structure, the differences in ‘which team handles what responsibilities’ creates an endless unproductive cycle of discussions and meetings. 

“…I think it totally comes back to organizational structure and people,” said Haley. 

Looking towards upcoming trends and gaps organizations are trying to fill with a new approach, Haley mentioned businesses are maturing in their DevOps implementation and technology architecture. These organizations want to go beyond traditional testing and build higher resilience against unexpected scenarios or events. She hinted that chaos engineering will gain traction in the coming years. (Chaos engineering involves experimenting on a new software system in production to gauge a system’s resilience against turbulent and unexpected conditions.) 

Haley also suggested the traditional demarcation of roles and responsibilities is becoming irrelevant. There is an increased sense of sharing responsibilities and a QA or a test engineer has to adapt to meet these evolving needs. Haley’s thoughts resonate strongly with the idea of expanding the scope of CI/CD to continuous testing and continuous everything

“If you start to think about the testing process all the way through the software development process, starting even with design, then that’s something that really influences how everything plays out,” said Haley. 

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