Be, Know, Do DevOps – The Mission Depends on IT!

2 mn read

We are all part of the Matrix, now let’s act like it

Approaching 14 years after the term DevOps has first coined the term concept is still little more than a buzzword in many circles. Recent debacles with Southwest, the US Air Force myEval system deployment have made major news outlets. On an even more insidious level, the day-to-day delivery of technology and software systems that are crucial to war-fighting capabilities are continuously hindered by a lack of knowledge, mental flexibility, and fundamental understanding. Our technology OODA loops are being outpaced by our adversaries, not because of our technical aptitudes, but by the limited understanding across leaders and the multitude of personnel within the DoD that can hinder, or halt the delivery of software and new capabilities.

Be, Know, Do DevOps - The Mission Depends on IT!

In my opinion, every leader of an Acquisition Program Management Office (PMO), even those procuring ammunition and commodities, should be conversational in how software and data affect their ability to deliver capabilities forward to warfighters. Leaders at the brigade/wing/regimental command level need to understand how their service members rely on technical systems in their execution of missions, how those systems are making the tasks more effective, or frustrating, and if they are affecting combat power and survivability.

War, business, government services, non-profits, and almost all aspects of daily life are reliant on sociotechnical systems that are made up of an architecture that is integrated from the hardware and compute power to the applications, the organization that is building and operating all of the systems, and the users/customers external to the organization. Read this article to learn more about STS https://www.lucidchart.com/blog/sociotechnical-systems.

“If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you.”

Jim Mattis, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead

We’ve all got some homework to do to catch up to Mattis’ standards.  I hope this list helps give some guidance on where to start:

Journals and Publications:

Read each of the DevOps Enterprise Journals from 2014-present.  These are great resources of white papers and articles published along side the DevOps Enterprise Summit and bring together leaders from across industries, government, and military organizations.
https://myresources.itrevolution.com/id006657152/The-DevOps-Enterprise-Journal-Fall-2022

DevOps/ SW Development Books:

IT Revolution Publishing Books – these do fantastic jobs of showing the importance and alignment of the organization and the technologies  (Amazon Links included):

The Phoenix Project

The Unicorn Project

Beyond the Phoenix Project

The DevOps Handbook

Team Topologies

War Peace & IT

Seat at the Table

Making Work Visible

Engineering the Digital Transformation

Start and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise

Additional books that I highly recommend:

Project: Zero trust

CISO’s Guide to Zero Trust Security

Release It! Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software

Modern Software Engineering

Sociotechnical Systems, Systems Thinking, and Centered Design Related Books:

The Social Construction of Technological Systems

The Killchain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare

FIRE: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation

The Value Flywheel Effect: Power the Future and Accelerate Your Organization to the Modern Cloud

Let me know what your thoughts are and if you have any additional recommendations to help get this momentum going within the Department of Defense and elsewhere.  A lot is at stake.



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