Jan-Joost Bouwman is ITSM Process owner for Service Transition and Service Operations at ING in the Netherlands. He has significant experience in application and process management within large organisations. In his spare time he enjoys cooking and birdwatching (although rarely at the same time).
Q: How did you get involved in DevOps?
A: Sometime in 2011 the manager of the IT Service Management department started pushing people to read Continuous Delivery by Jez Humble and David Farley. At first it didn’t seem to have a whole lot of relevance to our ITIL based process oriented service management world. But he kept pushing and pushing. So finally I got the book. Coming from a process management background in service management with little development knowledge I didn’t get all of it, but I soon understood why my boss was so enthusiastic about this book. I could certainly see the areas where we could use the ideas to improve our performance!
At the same time our development colleagues started experimenting with Agile/Scrum. Soon all development teams were using Agile/Scrum methodologies, but the hand overs to production were still a major obstacle. Yes, we made progress with our quality objectives by standardizing non functional requirements, but it was still a lot of work with loads of paperwork.
When by the end of 2012 the organisational transformation to DevOps was announced I started researching it online and attended some seminars. What I heard there made me realise that the collaboration that comes with DevOps was for us the only way to really unlock the potential of Continuous Delivery. On our internal social network I started our own DevOps community to share what I had learned and read so far, encouraging people to share their stories. Since then the community has grown and grown, reaching well beyond the borders of our own department of 150 DevOps teams to the rest of the ING Netherlands departments and abroad.
I still work as a process owner, but have transformed our ITIL processes to the needs of the DevOps Agile/Scrum way of working.
Q: What do you see as the biggest advantage of DevOps?
A: For me the biggest advantage is the shared responsibility. There is immense value in letting developers share responsibility for the stability of your production environment. That combined with the immediate feedback from the business at the end (and during) each sprint have been a real boost for our quality.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in DevOps?
A: Difficult question! I see loads of challenges! I guess the biggest challenge would to keep everybody on board. The change is tremendous for a lot of our staff and some of us are struggling to keep up. We have make sure we don’t just look at the teams and people that are moving forward the fastest. But also keep an eye on the slower movers, because we need everybody to be successful in this transformation.