The Digitate sales team was facing some challenges when it came to potential clients (or even existing ones) who had adopted the DevOps operating model.
That was our first mistake; assuming DevOps was a model. In the days since, we’ve come to see DevOps as a culture, with scope not just limited to IT/Infrastructure/Dev but to the entire organization.
The CIOs, CTOs and other high level decision makers, whom we were used to, would pass us on to operational leaders. These were very different individuals. They showed little patience for the usual sales pitches and wanted to get down to technical details. No one used the term “brass tacks”. They asked very hard questions. I’m certain that they made someone cry.
So who were these “shoot-first-ask-questions-later”, “down-in-the-trenches” DevOps cowboys? Where did they come from? What did they want?
So in the long, dark and forgotten pre-DevOps days:
Prior to DevOps, separate teams were responsible for requirements, development and testing before being released to operations to deploy. All of these teams operated in somewhat isolated silos, sometimes even fragmented at a functional level only communicating to transfer responsibility.
Did this paradigm work? Yes, but it could have been more productive. In addition to sometimes opposing agendas which led to inefficiencies, there often wasn’t a singular understanding of business context or value. Furthermore, roadblocks and issues would take time to make it to the relevant team.
Around 2009, the DevOps spark was lit and the world changed. For a brief history of DevOps, please see this video:
(From this Wikipedia Article:
DevOps .. emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both .. developers and IT professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It aims at establishing a an .. environment where building, testing, and releasing software, can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably
A DevOps “participant” will wear many hats across the product lifecycle. They are busy, impatient and a little cranky. They don’t want to hear the marketing pitch and clearly see past the jargon.
Clearly this group of people is meant to be taken very seriously. Our research unearthed some interesting findings. Key ones included:
- Being such a tech-savvy crowd, they’d want to do their own research on the offering before they even talk to sales. What collateral is out there on the web? Is there a low-friction way to try the product, such as a trial?
- “Will it work with what we have?” is one of the first few questions. DevOps practitioners usually have a set of tools that they love and want to have interoperability and future-proofing.
Here’s the complete user persona development for DevOps: