Blab: How do DevOps and Bimodal IT play together?

by Brendon Livingstone on 19/01/2016 10:00

In the previous posts in this series we have discussed What does DevOps mean in a New Zealand context? and What does Bimodal IT mean in a New Zealand context? Both subjects are topical at the moment and in this Blab we address the question 'How do DevOps and Bimodal IT play together?'.

Blab topic: Exploring DevOps and Bimodal IT in a New Zealand IT context

We recently ran a Blab session (find out more about Blab) discussing DevOps and Bimodal IT in a New Zealand context, where we worked through these questions:

This post covers the third question. The recorded Blab is ~4 minutes long and there is also a transcript of the discussion below.

Blab presenters

Our presenters during the Blab presentation were:

  • Blue polo: Bill Ross, Principal Consultant, Equinox IT Wellington office
  • Grey shirt: Herman van Krieken, Principal Consultant, Equinox IT Wellington office
  • Green shirt: Peter Smeaton, Senior Consultant, Equinox IT Wellington office
  • Green polo with window blinds behind: Brendon Livingstone, Marketing and Communications Manager, Equinox IT Wellington office.

Transcript of conversation

Brendon: So that's a probably a good point for me to move on to the next question which is 'How do DevOps and Bimodal IT play together?'

Peter: I don't know that they're necessarily related and I don't know that DevOps and Bimodal IT are necessarily even related to Agile or Lean. They can be and it's just I'm putting this up as a thought. I think you can have any one of these things without the other, but to get an end to end release pipeline going which has got faster or more responsive and as you said in one point, Herman, lower risk because the delivery increments are so much smaller. Then you have to bring all these pieces together, probably not Bimodal IT though. Bimodal's the Gardner thing. It's not one of the...I don't see it as one of the solutions.

Herman: Bimodal IT is getting traction so I don't know.

Bill: Yeah I think there's certainly an affinity between (Bimodal IT) 'mode 2' and DevOps.

Peter: Yes.

Bill: A close affinity and I think all really to my mind 'mode 1' and 'mode 2' is just a categorisation (see our previous Blab question What does Bimodal IT mean in a New Zealand context for the distinction between Bimodal IT 'mode 1' and 'mode 2'). But then if you want to use that categorisation to manage or structure your IT department, that's where I think it gets risky. It's just recognition of these categories of system types. And the ideal should be trying to move from a 'mode 1' type situation to a 'mode 2' situation. I think, as you've discussed already.

So they (DevOps and Bimodal IT) are sort of related as opposed to unrelated.

Well I think this whole Agile thinking is essentially cultural. As you were saying Herman there's reinventing and there's rethinking of approaches, and I think it's also tied in thought to some pretty robust theory - like theory of constraints. The idea of optimising the whole as opposed to optimising the parts. So from those of us who are maybe more older and like to see evidence and theory backed up with actual validated theory, some of the thinking behind this is quite valid, coming from the Toyota Lean manufacturing, and Lean product development, which goes right back to 1930s, actually. And actually, I think the big thing is the realisation that these techniques that aren't actually that new actually have applicability in an IT department. And understanding how you translate those ideas to work in an IT department, which is really interesting.

Herman: Yeah, some of the literature that I've been reading up on is certainly agreeing with those comments. "The Phoenix Project" (Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford) is a much more recent one of those, but other documents are really clear that Toyota solution of improving their production has been absolutely mind boggling and trend setting, and it still is today and that's fantastic. So how do you two relate, Brendon? Well, that's already been mentioned, 'mode 2' and DevOps certainly have a strong relationship. 'Mode 1', hmmm yeah that's the old way. Yeah, no relationship I don't think.

Blab: How do DevOps and Bimodal IT play together?


We'll be doing more Blab-based content in the future covering other common Agile and IT questions. Please let us know if you have any IT questions that you would like us to address.

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