While I was at AOL I took a very different approach to the other Operations teams. They always acted like they provided a generic service to content owners and developers. It felt to me like they wanted to be faceless service providers accountable only to their SLA targets. That approach always seemed inadequate to me. I think my team achieved better results for the people we were working with and the business as a whole when we engaged with them.
At Electronic Arts I spent a fair amount of my time discussing Playfish’s operational strategy with other studios and core service groups. It seemed that these groups wanted to offer more personalised services. This makes perfect sense as some games are free-to-play and their success is dependent on minimising costs and some games are multi-million dollar triple-A titles with very demanding players. None of these groups seemed to know how to offer (or in the studios case receive) that personalised approach. In Playfish this is something we did right from the beginning and as Playfish grew we adapted our strategy to match.
Around this time DevOps and Configuration Management were hot topics on every tech forum. With the advent of Amazon’s Cloud and tools like Heroku and Chef we were seeing more Developers building online services end-to-end. Adrian Cockcroft published his infamous No-Ops tweet. In Playfish we joined a number of DevOps groups and I sent my engineers out to various meets and we even presented at a couple. It became very clear very few people, besides Netflix were using DevOps at scale. Every DevOps conversation seemed to revolve around one tool or another or one service or another with no real discussion about the strategies and processes required for running live services.
So I decided to write a book about how to adopt DevOps strategies in any size organisation. I also describe why DevOps works so well not just for products and services but for engineers and leadership as well.
Next Gen DevOps will be published this summer!