‘DevOps – A Business Perspective’ – an interview with Oleg Skrynnik

DevOps - A Business Perspective

Following the recent launch of the new EXIN DevOps Foundation certification, EXIN spoke to Oleg Skrynnik – the author of the official literature DevOps – A Business Perspective. We asked him about his thoughts on DevOps including its potential, certification value and how to get started on a career in DevOps!


DevOps has recently turned 10 years old. Do you think DevOps has reached its peak or do you expect it to grow for some time yet?

DevOps is definitely not a new idea, and it’s not been a new idea for several years now. Lots of companies are implementing DevOps, or at least trying some concepts and practices, and find great value in them. But looking at the Enterprise-grade companies, I can say those ideas are still not as widely adopted as they could be. This is, of course, related to the complexity of big IT departments, with defined, structured and established processes and huge IT infrastructures. So on the one hand, DevOps should already be on a productivity plateau, but on the other hand, we still have a lot of work to do in the Enterprise.


How do you see the market right now for DevOps? What are your main thoughts and recommendations?

I see a big demand in the market relating to management issues connected to DevOps. For the last couple of years, the idea is transforming from a technical-only DevOps ‘thing for geeks’ into management practices. More and more companies are facing difficulties applying DevOps at scale, especially when new teams, organizational structures, and architectures are being implemented. Therefore, my recommendations would be: invest more in people and management, search for the knowledge of applying DevOps as an organizational set of practices, and think about teams, flows, value streams and feedback loops, rather than CI/CD or deployment pipelines. Those automation things are important, of course, but they are more studied and a lot of experience is already gathered.


For starters in the IT field, would you recommend a DevOps certification?

A couple of years ago I would say no, as the area was not structured and explored enough for meaningful certifications to arise. Nowadays I would say yes, the time has come. The beginner can learn relatively quickly, as most of the DevOps is already a practice, not a theory. Thus, certification is a logical step after studying.


What is the value of the EXIN DevOps Foundation certification – based on your book?

I am happy that my book DevOps – A Business Perspective was chosen as the basis for EXIN DevOps Foundation certification – much to my surprise, to be honest, as I wrote the book for a general business audience and not to certify anybody. I believe most of the value of this new certification is to steer newcomers and beginners to the right direction – to see DevOps not as a set of technical practices, but as a business thing, a new way to provide benefits to businesses.


Why did you decide to write a DevOps book based on the business perspective and not the technical perspective?

Hundreds and hundreds of books about DevOps have been written already. It seems to me that every single day several new books are published. The problem is that most of them are either too technical and narrow or too generic, philosophical or cultural. Contrary to this, I see DevOps as a tool in the hands of a modern IT Manager. One can use, let’s say, ITIL when appropriate, or COBIT, or Agile/DevOps, depending on the business goals and IT objectives. So I tried to write a comprehensive, yet holistic title about DevOps, which can be used by IT Managers and business people to get the most out of the modern IT.


What was it that first sparked your interest in DevOps? What has kept you interested enough to write a book on the subject?

My background is in ITSM, IT Service Management. This area covers pretty well what should be done in Operations, how exactly IT departments can bring more business value when you have the services. Unfortunately, very little is being said about where those services come from. It is clear these days that software is eating the world, and companies not only depend on software, but it is also a huge and important differentiating factor. We know how to manage services, now we need to know how to build them. We need to move further, to products, as new benefits and value can be found in this area.


Do you have any advice for anyone taking the first steps in their DevOps career?

Of course, and my advice is this: start now! Try it, learn it, get your own experience, and use it to provide more value to your business. There is nothing to wait for in 2019!


DevOps – A Business Perspective is available now from Van Haren Publishing.


About Oleg Skrynnik

Oleg has been working in the field of information technology for over 20 years. He has experience in building and reorganizing the work of IT departments of several large companies (service enterprises, financial institutions, industrial enterprises). He constantly uses this experience and knowledge during the implementation of projects, and also gladly shares them with students at courses, workshops, and business games.

Oleg is the co-founder of the non-commercial partnership “IT Service Management Forum” (itSMF Russia) and winner of the ITMF Award: The Tireless Enlightener of the Russian IT Managers Community, 2018. He is also the managing partner of Cleverics. Cleverics helps to implement and use information technology with a high effect and proper risk control. They specialize in IT Management education and consulting.