Industry leaders: how to optimise DevOps

The speakers at Human Centric DevOps Transformation, a dining club hosted by, gave attendees advice on the success and set-backs of what makes DevOps work.

At the event in London, IT leaders gave key pieces of information when it came to using DevOps in a company.

Keep systems up-to-date

Although this may seem like an obvious point, IT leaders at the event said many companies do not implement this practice. They suggested that this, and the weakness of some systems, can be a downfall when it comes to applying DevOps practices.

According to, one IT leader of a big media company gave their example of how although engineers in their company were working successfully on old software. But, when the systems inevitably broke, they were struggling to replace the parts.

Newer systems offer higher levels of flexibility, better integration with new systems and quicker and more accurate reports.

Make achievable targets

One piece of advice given at the conference was not just to be able to ensure that engineers where engaged in what they do, but that they were given targets that are achievable too.

Kris Saxton, founder and CEO of Automation Logic, noted that often, organisations do not measure work. On the topic he says: “Those that do are generally measuring what is easy to measure and not what is actually related to the outcome they want. In most cases, there are a very small number of metrics that really matter and most people aren’t measuring those at all.”

One solution his company has is to offer is dashboards that show in real-time how well the engineers are doing. The dashboards also show how well the web pages are doing and the success of the employees work.

If any of the pages are having issues or not reaching targets, the creators are informed as to what they can do to improve the situation before it gets worse.

Give engineers responsibility.

According to, the speakers at the event added that one way to ensure the smooth running of an operation was to make the engineers in charge of their own work.

“Trust your engineers, but make them responsible for the outcome,” said a CISO of a major industrial company.

“DevOps, like Agile, is often accused of being devoid of governance. There’s a huge responsibility on leadership to ensure that teams are moving towards the goal, to support and facilitate where that’s not happening (rather than ‘assure’ and whip), and also to make decisions to ‘kill’ or ‘pivot’ when the data suggests your hypothesis is wrong.” The CISO continued to say.

Companies can sometimes miss the essence of what DevOps is

One CIO at the dinner spoke of how companies only tend to realise that something is missing when a problem drastically occurs.

Speakers also discussed how this type of failure leads to a method of ‘learning from mistakes. Which should be adopted to reach success in DevOps.

“You’ve got to have people willing to fail and to fail often – but they’ve also got to learn from those failures.” Suggested a chief architect for another financial company.

A lot can be said about a team

Optimising team work can be lesson number one for any company to succeed. At the dinner, Saxton spoke of how a team should not be afraid to rely on each other. He also said that heads of companies should take their time in choosing members of a team.

“As we move to more loosely-coupled architectures, teams need to be aware of their inter-dependencies with other services and to be able to continue to function in the event that those services or not available or degraded,” says Saxton.

He continued, “Front loading that effort meant that the team now works well together and therefore sticks together,”

The Automation Logic CEO added that in his company, there was a very low turn-over rate.

Saxton re-iterated the value in a good team by saying, “All of the problems we solve are bigger than any one person, especially in enterprise settings. It’s more important that an engineer can collaborate than try and put out the world’s fires on their own.”