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DevOps and Labor Day

by Cameron Haight  |  September 5, 2011  |  Comments Off on DevOps and Labor Day

It’s Labor Day here in the United States.  The holiday is meant to recognize the contributions of the American worker to overall our freedom and economic well being (although some of the luster of the day has worn off with the continuing economic troubles here and abroad).  So, right now you might be saying, “Cameron, what’s the deal with tying Labor Day to the DevOps movement?”  Well, in the same vein of Labor Day representing workers (versus management), I see DevOps as also being IT worker-centric.  Frederick Taylor would likely not have approved of DevOps as he largely saw workers as “do-ers” and management as the “thinkers.” 

Yet in many ways DevOps has evolved from the ground up, i.e., it was not the brainchild of CIOs, but rather IT operations personnel, technical consultants and others that toiled in the trenches and decided that there must be a better way.  Many people have tried and continue to try to define exactly what DevOps is (including myself in Gartner research).  I like best the definition provided by Lindsay Holmwood. The first item in his listing is: improving collaboration and communication between development and operations teams.  While he may not have intended it as such, I take this statement to be worker-focused, and not manager or management-related (the latter can be included, of course, but they are not the drivers per se).  This seems to be consistent though with the Agile Manifesto with its emphasis on individuals. 

While the industry may continue looking for a way to define DevOps more prescriptively, at the end of the day we know that it comes down to people – the IT “labor.”  Empowering the people within IT, giving them the license to be innovative and to better participate in the fruits of their labors will hopefully result in the overall betterment of their company.  Management, or managers, can facilitate this process by better understanding what motivates many of us.  What they may find is that many of us “labor” in this field because we love it and thus traditional incentive systems may find less success.  Finally, when you have a supportive environment that lets you work at something that you are fond of, the end result is usually superior. Thus, DevOps is win/win for both labor and management.  Happy Labor Day!  


Cameron Haight
Research VP
10 years at Gartner
30 years IT industry

Cameron Haight is a research vice president in Gartner Research. His primary research focus is on the management of server virtualization and emerging cloud computing environments. Included in this effort is… Read Full Bio

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