The Three Ways of DevOps

//The Three Ways of DevOps

The Three Ways of DevOps

The Three Ways Explained

The Three Ways is a commonly used phrase to explain the underlying principles of the DevOps movement. The phrase ‘The Three Ways’ was first introduced by Gene Kim in his book The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win. From The Three Ways, all other DevOps can be derived. In this post, we will therefore briefly explain The Three Ways and provide some context why these principles are invaluable for understanding DevOps.

The First Way: Moving from Left to Right

The First Way emphasizes the performance of the entire system, as opposed to the performance of a specific silo of work or department. The work can be as large as a division (development or IT operations) or as small as an individual contributor (a developer or system administrator).

The Three Ways | The First Way

The focus is on all business value streams that are enabled by IT. It begins when requirements are identified by the business or IT, are built in development, and then transitioned into IT operations where the value is then delivered to the customer in the form of a service.

The outcomes of The First Way include:

  • Never passing a known defect to downstream work centers;
  • Never allowing local optimization to create global degradation;
  • Always seeking to increase flow;
  • Always seeking to achieve profound understanding of the system;

The purpose of the First way is to look at IT as a value chain, in which value adding activities are executed. Similar to a car assembly factory, every step in the process adds value and it is strongly preferred to do it the first time right.

The Second Way: Moving from Right to Left

The Second Way is about creating the right to left feedback loops. With almost any process improvement initiative, the goal is to shorten and amplify feedback loops so necessary corrections can be continually made.
The outcomes of The Second Way include:
  • Understanding and responding to all customers, internal and external
  • Shortening and amplifying all feedback loops
  • Embedding knowledge where you need it

The purpose of the Second Way is to understand that a value chain can only be optimized by incorporating feedback. Where in the process did we uncessary wait? Why did we need to redo a specific step? By constantly improving the complete value chain, your IT organization becomes better, more productive and less error-prone.

The Third Way: Embed Continuous Learning

The Third Way involves creating a culture that fosters two things:
  • Continual experimentation, which requires taking risks and learning from success and failure
  • Understanding that repetition and practice are the prerequisites to mastery
The two items above are equally important and necessary. Experimentation and risk-taking are what ensure that you keep pushing to improve, even if it means going deeper into the danger zone than you’ve ever gone. And, you need mastery of the skills that can help you retreat out of the danger zone when you’ve gone too far.
The Third Way | Continous Experimentation and Learning

The outcomes of The Third Way include:

  • Allocating time for the improvement of daily work
  • Creating rituals that reward the team for taking risks
  • Introducing faults into the system to increase resilience

The purpose of the Third Way is obvious: you cannot improve or become better if you don’t make any mistakes. A DevOps culture therefore encourages continuous experimentation and learning. Only by making mistakes, you can become better over time.

By |2018-02-28T09:41:00+00:00July 31st, 2017|DevOps|0 Comments

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