DevOps through Shared Knowledge – an article

Tracy Ragan on DevOps through Shared Knowledge

I’m always talking about the importance of driving devops through shared knowledge.  As I see it, the only way to drive DevOps is by defining processes and using tools that can facilitate the conversation between developers and operations.

In many cases DevOps through shared knowledge means implementing solutions for software builds and deploys which can facilitate knowledge share between development, testing and operations. Builds and deploys can be extremely difficult, with a million little pieces fitting together.  The challenge is to create sustainability that can be exposed to all individuals on all teams, no matter what their expertise.  Everyone should be able to determine if a software build was executed with debug turned on, or what server updates are needed for a software deployment.

A common barrier to DevOps through shared knowledge is the overuse of one-off scripts. All to often, developers write one-off build and deploy scripts and then expect other individuals to tweak and use them higher up in the lifecycle, like testing and production control.  This is quite impossible.  Most DevOps tools today move you away from one-off scripts to Playbooks, plug-ins and services that can be reused and are easy to understand.  Adding to the difficulty is the way in which these scripts are executed. Often times Continuous integration servers like Jenkins can confuse the issue as upper management is told that everything is automated by ‘Jenkins’ when this is simply not true.  Yes, Jenkins executes the scripts, but the scripts are far from automation.

I’ve recently been published in Better Software Magazine on the topic of DevOps. Is is certainly worth the read if this topic has caught your interest.  But in short, to improve your DevOps you must drive DevOps through shared Knowledge, achieved by solid processes and tools.   Go to :

The article is on Page 22.  Enjoy!


Ms. Ragan has had extensive experience in the development and implementation of DevOps for large organizations. She began her consulting career in 1989 on Wall Street specializing in build, testing and release management for the distributed platform. It was during her consulting experiences that Ms. Ragan recognized the lack of standardized development procedures on open systems that were common on the mainframe. In the years leading to the creation of OpenMake Software she worked with development teams in implementing a community driven standardized build and deploy process that enabled frequent builds and releases, automated around version control. Her knowledge and experience contributed to the creation of OpenMake Meister, the first commercial Build Automation solution. Ms. Ragan served on the Eclipse Foundation Board of Directors as an Add-in Provider Representative for 5 years. She has been published on numerous occasions and regularly speaks at conferences including CA World where she presented for 15 consecutive years. She holds a BS Degree in Business Administration, Computer Technology from California State University, Pomona.

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