The title for this post comes from a joke we heard at a presentation a few weeks back at a DevOpsDays Boston meetup event. The speaker was Nathen Harvey, Community Director at Chef. Not only was it pretty funny at the time, but also I completely agree with Nathen.

Nathen started his presentation by making some important points: If you don’t want to further the business of the company you’re working for, quit now. If you aren’t interested in the products or services that the company you’re working for is creating, quit now. Because DevOps is all about understanding the business and the business needs-and only then applying technology to help meet those needs.

DevOps is not about the choice of tools to solve technology problems, and understanding this is vital to the success of any DevOps culture. DevOps is a cross-disciplinary puzzle and the only way to solve it is to align development activities, including tools, cloud platforms, etc., with the business. If you don’t understand the organization’s needs, on what basis are you choosing technology?

In the past, Bitlancer has done work for clients where we didn’t have a clue what their business was about. But this is because they wanted us to focus only on tools. When you’re focused on tools, your vision is too narrow to “see” DevOps. Making choices about tooling is only one small part of the DevOps puzzle. If that’s the only part of the puzzle you’re putting together, you’ll never see the big picture.

Likewise, when you’re trying to hire people with specific tool know-how to be your “DevOps engineers,” you’re not looking at DevOps. Staffing DevOps isn’t about tools, so how can it be about hiring people who know about specific tools?

Hire people because they’re smart, they can self-educate, they have a good attitude about working collaboratively… Hire them for their thought process and mindset, not because they happen to have worked with whatever tool you’re using at the moment. Getting up to speed on new technologies is not a big deal for good people.

At Bitlancer we sell ourselves primarily on where we’re coming from, and how we relate to your business needs, not on our tools expertise. We’re looking to collaborate with clients in whatever ways make the most sense for their business, not just implement tooling.