Operations: The Last Mile Problem For DevOps

The last mile problem for DevOps is Operations. "The last mile" is an economic concept, born in the telco industry, that describes the last bit of effort that is required to extract the benefit of significant previous investments. The metaphor is a good fit for the relationship between DevOps and Operations.

If you observe enough DevOps transformations, you'll see a typical pattern where Operations is their last mile problem. Heavy investments in Agile transformations and automated deployments have yielded positive results. However, when post-deployment Operations is managed with the traditional siloed, ticket-driven methods, much of the gains disappear.

I delivered a talk at DevOps Enterprise Summit London 2018 that analyzed this problem and discussed solutions. My primary goal was to call attention to this industry blind spot (we all love talking about deployment, but few are talking about post-deployment). Based on the response, I felt this hit the mark. Many people told me they saw a lot of their organization and their frustrating experiences reflected in the presentation. Hopefully, you will as well (or, actually, hopefully, you won't!)


(see below for slides)


The first part of the talk is a "storyboard" presentation of an actual, painful (and borderline comical) incident in a large enterprise that had prided itself in its "pre-deployment" transformation but largely ignored Operations.


The rest of the talk breaks down the four forces that undermine operations and what we can do about them:

  1. Silos
  2. Queues
  3. Toil
  4. Low Trust



I hope you enjoy the presentation. I'll keep documenting the problems and solution patterns we see across our industry. Stay tuned for more on this topic.