DevOps Q&A with Gary Gruver

We’ve recently welcomed two new additions to our Advisory Board – with Nicole Forsgren and John Willis, joining Gene Kim and Gary Gruver as Electric Cloud’s strategic advisors.

As we set to work with each of the advisors, we also took the opportunity to pick their brains about all-things-DevOps. We’re excited to share the tips and insights from these DevOps luminaries in the second installment of this short Q&A series – this time with Gary Gruver! (you can read the first Q&A with Nicole Forsgren here.)

DevOps Q&A – with Gary Gruver:

Gary Gruver is an experienced executive with a proven track record of transforming software development and delivery processes in large organizations, first as the R&D director of the HP LaserJet firmware group that completely transformed how they developed embedded firmware and then as VP of QA, Release, and Operations at Macy’s.com where he led the journey toward continuous delivery. He now consults with large organizations and runs workshops to help them transform their software development and delivery processes. He is the co-author of “Leading the Transformation: Applying Agile and DevOps Principles at Scale“, “A Practical Approach to Large-Scale Agile Development: How HP Transformed LaserJet FutureSmart Firmware“, and the recent “Starting and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise“.       @GRUVERGary  |   GaryGruver.com  |   Linkedin


Q:In your experience, what is the biggest challenge for adopting and scaling DevOps in the enterprise?

Getting Executives to engage in the process, commit capacity to improvements, and helping to coordinate the improvements across teams.

Q:If you could leave us with just 3 takeaways for large-scale DevOps – what do you think we simply MUST know when we set off on this journey?

  1.  The approaches you take to coordinating the work across teams to enable them to release code on a more frequent basis while maintaining all aspects of quality (DevOps) differ depending on the size of the team.  If a small group can independently develop, qualify, and release code like a unicorn you can use one approach. If, on the other hand, the Enterprise has a highly coupled architecture that requires large groups of people to coordinate the development, qualification, and release of their code then you need to consider different approaches.  It is important to understand which type of challenge you have before you decide how to implement your transformation.

  2. Get the leaders to engage and work with the teams to develop the plan.  This transformation will require a lot of organizational change management and commitment of capacity to sharpening the saw.  If the leaders have their “fingerprints” all over the plan, they will help drive the changes that are required to make it successful.

  3.  Start with your business objectives.  What about your software development and delivery processes are not currently meeting the needs of the business? Then focus on the DevOps improvements that will help most in addressing these business challenges – because if your transformation does not start delivering business value it is at risk of loosing momentum.

Q:What emerging DevOps technologies or patterns are you most excited by now, and why?

Containers.  They make setting up deployment pipelines much easier which enables you to get to the change management challenges sooner.

Q:What IT Ops skills are most important for the future?

Automation plus moving monitoring and testing for operational concerns further up the deployment pipeline and closer to the developers (“shift left”).


More from Gary Gruver: 

Gary has graciously offered a free copy of his recent book – Starting and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise – especially for Electric Cloud users. Download your free copy to learn how to analyze your current development and delivery processes and implement the DevOps practices that will have the greatest immediate impact on the productivity of your organization.

Download the book for free »

(You can also check out a sample chapter of the book here, or see Gary in action on one of our recent #c9d9 video podcasts.)

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Electric Cloud is the leader in DevOps Release Automation and Continuous Delivery. We help organizations like E*TRADE, Gap, HPE, Intel and Lockheed Martin deliver better software faster by orchestrating, automating, and accelerating application releases.
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