Have your cake and eat it too: Polarities in DevOps

DevOps was born from systems thinking and led to innovation that revolutionized the industry. Yet on the day to day, DevOps engineers face problems rooted in tensions deeper than “Dev” and “Ops”. The goal of this talk is to carry that habit of mind a layer down to help solve practical challenges.

Once upon a time there were “Dev” and “Ops”. And they were in a tension that resulted in slow, torturous deployments of software. DevOps recognized that tension, embraced systems thinking, and inspired innovation that has changed the industry.

Yet while today’s DevOps engineers benefit from more robust infrastructure practices, we are consistently asked to design, build, and manage software systems that are beholden to other tensions. We manage those tensions by looking for balance between flexibility and consistency, between security and simplicity, between evolution and stability.

But if we approach these problems as a zero-sum game, just like Dev and Ops did so long ago, we ultimately lose. To produce the best systems and to make our lives easier, we need to shift to AND/AND thinking; the framework of “Polarities” can help us see, analyze, and leverage the tension to have our cake and eat it too. Join me for a quick introduction into the world of AND-thinking and how you can use it to think about your problems differently and achieve more than the thought possible.



Jonathan King

Jon is a former DevOps engineer and currently the Director of Talent & Development for Fearless. He’s interested in all things learning and from one perspective, DevOps is about creating a ...