It was 2013 when I first heard the word DevOps. At that time I was starting my first serious job as a fresh graduated student from the Engineering Faculty and I was overwhelmed with happiness because I was able to join one of the first teams in Italy adopting an Agile Mindset and eXtreme Programming practices.
I can remember very well the team having lunch together and I can remember even better how my colleagues shared in front of a good pizza opinions on why they thought DevOps was really important.
But was DevOps important for me at that time? To be honest not at all!
My attention at that time was focused on many other things: first of all at that time I had to follow a strict study path to catch up the level of my colleagues and I didn’t want to waste any time studying exotic topics with a strange name.
Secondly I was hired as a software developer, and I viewed myself as such; in most of the discussions about DevOps I heard, there were clear references to continuous integration servers, self provisioning servers and automated database migrations...“Servers? Databases? This DevOps is not interesting for somebody like me who wants to become a good software developer” I thought.
I couldn’t have been much more wrong.
Time passes and after a reasonable amount of months spent between small projects and books such as “Extreme Programming Explained”, “The Agile Samurai” and “Test Driven Development” I had the opportunity to be part of a brand new team with other three developers and a Product Owner…our goal? To write from scratch a mid-size e-commerce project (big for me at that time) for a respected enterprise company.
That was a wonderful experience for me because I had the opportunity to see in action some of the concepts I was studying. We had an inception deck, we played the planning poker and we held on weekly basis retrospectives and demos with our Product Owner. But more than that I loved the team spirit: we were really close-knit, we trusted each other and with the guidance of the more experienced ones, we really experimented new things, got feedback on them and made new choices.
Of course for me DevOps was still a really vague concept back then but something was starting to move around me. During one of the first iterations the team resurrected an unused blade server and an old iMac we had in the office and installed on them a bunch of tools. In few days we had an efficient Continuous Integration Server and a database similar to the one we expected to use in production up and running.
We worked hard because we strongly wanted to meet our deadlines and watched our product growing day after day. I won’t lie to you, our builds weren’t always green, but we tried to keep our pipeline as much stable as possible. Life was good and during the project I even had to opportunity to attend an unconference about different flavors of agility. There were some discussions about DevOps during the event but I preferred to attend other discussions because “In the end DevOps is just about tools and I don’t want to invest my precious time talking about tools”.
Once more, I was totally wrong.
Motivated by all the goods things I learned during the unconference I got back at work and focused on completing the remaining user stories in our backlog. The pipeline was green for unit, integration and acceptance test. We could even change easily our code easily to satisfy the last changes required by the business… still I began to feel inside of my team (and inside of me as well) a small anxiety growing.
With only a few weeks ahead of us before the expected go-live date we didn’t deploy a single time in a production like environment! I was confident about the quality of our codebase, but what about the work of the other team?
Because of course, there was another team…
All right, that’s all for today…But hey! The story will continue in the next posts!
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