Getting started with DevOps at Solidify

Getting started with DevOps [Donovan Brown]

Getting started with DevOps is tough. A large-scale transformation towards Devops can in many cases feel more like a dream than something actually achievable. You need to be patient, not bite off more than you can chew and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have discussed this topic with Donovan Brown, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft and frontrunner for DevOps within Microsoft:

Getting started with DevOps

Solidify: Donovan, how can organizations get started with a huge transformation such as DevOps?

Donovan: You start with what hurts the most – you don’t try to do DevOps over night, it will only make you frustrated and make you feel like you’re not making any difference. You cannot do the transformation directly, but there is something in your process that hurts the most. Perhaps something where you fail, delivery after delivery and sprint after sprint. It might be implementing continuous integration, better branching in your source control or any other thing, but whatever it is that hurts the most in your organization, start with that.

When that part has been fixed, something else will now be the most painful thing to do and you move on to that. For example, you might start with continuous integration and move on to continuous deployment as you realize that you have build output but no way to deliver that to your environment. When you then take a step back a few months later you will realize that you actually have everything.

Solidify: Is there any way to know what you should be doing, when you can’t find the thing that hurts the most?

Donovan: Yes, we actually have a self-assessment exam over at our website [link here], where you can answer questions about what you have and not have. It will then give you direct suggestions about what to do next and you can then go work on that. It’s a neat tool that I have used myself and I think it’s good to once in a while use to see how far you’ve come and what’s left to do.

People and DevOps

Solidify: You say it yourself that people are by far the hardest part of DevOps to influence and change. How can we break the barriers between development and operations?

Donovan: First is joint ownership – they both need to own the success of the product. I’ve had the most success with teams when I get them to think as a team, not as individuals or separate parts. When something goes wrong, it’s the entire team’s fault, not just development, QA, operations, etc. If that site’s not running, we’re all responsible. If you can get them to think like that, they’re going to realize that they need to communicate with each other, learn new things and collaborate more. Things like sharing a common mindset, sharing toolsets and joint ownership gets the team to work together. 


Taking on a large scale transformation initiative is never a simple task. By doing one thing at a time, methodologically go through various areas of improvements and work to change the company culture, you can make it a lot easier.


Are you thinking about getting started with DevOps and creating a more sustainable development? For more help about getting started with DevOps, contact [email protected]

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