Achieving DevOps!

Most of the companies we engage with are stuck in neutral when it comes to DevOps – and for good reason. DevOps involves change, and that carries with it a huge amount of risk. And most of the people we engage with are not directors or CEO’s, but can only control one part of the company.

There’s hundreds of books out there on the subject of Agile, DevOps, and improving the flow of value with software delivery. But the vast majority of them come with some assumptions: that our company is small, can pivot quickly, and has minimal legacy software to support; and secondly, that we have sweeping powers to create lasting change across an entire company. Following this advice blindly leads to overoptimism and defeated expectations, just like with a New Year’s resolution – we are trying too much, too fast, and thinking in terms of outcomes versus habits. The result, predictably, is disappointment and frustration, and a shortened career path.

This book helps answer those two big questions – “Where do I start?”, and “How can I improve the way things work around here without risking too much?” We follow one development team as it begins to build momentum with small, safe, progressive steps across a single year. Here’s some of the topics we discuss in the book:

  • What can we learn from Alcoholics Anonymous, and the power of using tiny habits to change behavior?
  • Taming the legacy monster with a truly effective test layer – without flaky or long-running tests
  • Using Hypothesis-Driven Development to multiply your development firepower 5x
  • Finding the pinch point with a few hours, a permanent marker and some sticky notes
  • What is the BTE ratio, and how has Microsoft been able to use that to control runaway technical debt?
  • Are cross functional teams really necessary? Do we really need to break up a successful, long-running organization to make DevOps work?
  • Building security into your development lifecycle
  • Runbooks, automation and livesite support – building the best possible triage system

Along the way, we feature interviews and case studies with thought leaders from Chef, Google, Humana, Micron, Microsoft, Puppet, Raygun, and others. The lessons and stories in this book can help you get unstuck and get your software delivery and support teams deliver more value with less waste!


Case studies and interviews with thought leaders make up a significant portion of the book. Here are some of their quotes:

  • “The saying we live by goes, ‘you can’t cheat shipping.’ If you deliver working software to your users at the end of every iteration, you’ll learn what it takes to do that and which pieces you need to automate.” – Aaron Bjork, Microsoft
  • “DevOps isn’t art, it’s just hard work. Focus that hard work on the things that really matter.” – Nigel Kersten, Microsoft
  • “DevOps is an emergent characteristic. It’s not something you buy. It’s something that emerges from a team when you are doing all the right things behind the scenes, and these practices all work together and support each other.” – Jon Cwiak, Humana
  • “There was no magical fairy dust for us. It required progressive change, some very conscious hard engineering changes, and walking the walk.” – Sam Guckenheimer, Microsoft
  • “Often times CTO’s and CIO’s catch fire and announce that they’re going to reorganize with cross functional teams. Don’t do that! Think about your DevOps or SRE transition in the same way that you’d release software.” – Seth Vargo, Google
  • “One of the biggest failure points I see is that people often don’t make their work visible enough. If you don’t know what people are working on across the team, that creates a natural siloization which reduces your ability to collaborate.” – Michael Goetz, Chef

Achieving DevOps In The News

Contact Information and Bio:

Bio: I’m a Senior Application Development Manager (ADM) working for Microsoft Premier. As a development lead and project manager, I’ve spearheaded cultural revolutions in several large retail and insurance organizations making the leap to Agile and Continuous Delivery. I’m an enthusiastic promoter of Azure DevOps, Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Docker, and all other tools – but I believe very firmly that, as with Agile, the exact tool selected is less important than having the people and processes in place and ready.

On a personal note, I’m the proud father of two beautiful girls and have been married to my lovely wife Jennifer for 24 years, and am based out of Portland, Oregon, USA. I enjoy fishing, reading history books, and in my spare time often wonder if I should be doing more around the house versus goofing off. I’m on LinkedIn, post to my blog semi-frequently, and am belatedly on Twitter too… 


Production Information:

  • Title: Achieving DevOps

  • Author: Dave Harrison and Knox Lively
  • Contributors: Ron Vincent, Abel Wang (foreword)
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: May 23, 2019
  • Available at:, Barnes and Noble
  • ISBN: 1484243870 ISBN-13: 978-1484243879 (include both your e-book and paperback)
  • Retail Price: $24.55 ($23.32 Kindle)
  • 532 pages
  • Genre/subgenre: Software engineering / Enteprise development





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