DevOps principles: The three ways

From the course: DevOps Foundations

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  • Course details

    DevOps is not a framework or a workflow. It's a culture that is overtaking the business world. DevOps ensures collaboration and communication between software engineers (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). With DevOps, changes make it to production faster. Resources are easier to share. And large-scale systems are easier to manage and maintain.

    In this course, well-known DevOps practitioners Ernest Mueller and James Wickett provide an overview of the DevOps movement, focusing on the core value of CAMS (culture, automation, measurement, and sharing). They cover the various methodologies and tools an organization can adopt to transition into DevOps, looking at both agile and lean project management principles and how old-school principles like ITIL, ITSM, and SDLC fit within DevOps.

    The course concludes with a discussion of the three main tenants of DevOps—infrastructure automation, continuous delivery, and reliability engineering—as well as some additional resources and a brief look into what the future holds as organizations transition from the cloud to serverless architectures.


    • Click here to view James Wickett’s instructor page

      James Wickett

      Head of Research at Verica & Author on DevOps and DevSecOps at LinkedIn Learning

      James Wickett is a speaker on software engineering topics ranging from security to development practices.

      James spends a lot of time at the intersection of the DevOps and security communities, and seeing the gap in software testing, James founded the open-source project, Gauntlt, to serve as a rugged testing framework.

      James works as a senior security engineer and developer advocate at Verica, and is he is the author of several courses on DevOps and DevSecOps. James is the creator and founder of the Lonestar Application Security Conference, which is the largest annual security conference in Austin, TX. He also runs DevOpsDays Austin and ServerlessDays Austin. He previously served on the global devopsdays board.

      In his spare time, he is trying to learn how to make a perfect BBQ brisket.

      You can book James to speak at your event through his website:
    • Click here to view Ernest Mueller’s instructor page

      Ernest Mueller

      Head of Engineering at Precision Autonomy

      Ernest Mueller is head of engineering operations at Precision Autonomy.

      Ernest has a degree in electrical engineering from Rice University. Upon graduation, he went moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he learned Unix system administration and web programming at FedEx and led the technology team at a print and internet publisher, Towery Publishing.

      In 2002, Ernest moved back to his home state of Texas to take a job managing the web systems team at National Instruments, focusing his team on high uptime, continuous operations, application performance management, system development process, and web security. In 2008, he moved into the LabVIEW R&D group, where he was the web systems architect responsible for delivering Amazon Web Services and Azure-based SaaS products with an integrated DevOps team.

      In 2012, he moved to SaaS provider Bazaarvoice to be the manager of release engineering and migrated product delivery from a ten-week release cycle to a one-week release cycle. Then he led the 40-person product ratings and reviews engineering team, a very large-scale web property managing reviews for many of the major retailers and manufacturers on the web.

      In 2014, Ernest became the APM product manager at CopperEgg, an Austin-based SaaS monitoring company, which was acquired by Idera. He served as APM product manager for the Idera CopperEgg, Uptime, and Precise product lines.

      In 2015, Ernest moved to AlienVault, a cybersecurity software company, where as Director of Engineering Operations his international team of DevOps pros supported the development teams with tooling and techniques to create infrastructure as code, continuous delivery, and monitoring to deliver SaaS security products for unified security management and threat intelligence. In 2018, AlienVault was acquired by AT&T as part of the company's cybersecurity strategy and became AT&T Cybersecurity. Currently, Ernest plans, develops, and maintains the systems infrastructure for Precision Autonomy, a startup providing API-driven risk management and insurance solutions for drones and other autonomous vehicles.

      Ernest is active in the DevOps movement and the Austin technical community. He helped found the Austin chapter of OWASP, the CloudAustin user group, and the DevOpsDays Austin conference. He blogs with a cadre of like-thinking professionals at

      Ernest resides with his son in Round Rock, Texas.

    Skills covered in this course

    For each course you will get

    • Exercise files and quizzes
    • Certificate of completion from LinkedIn
    • Offline and audio-only options
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  • Welcome

    (epic music) - Welcome back. Let's talk about principles you can use to guide you in taking the core DevOps values and bringing them to life. The most respected set of principles is called The Three Ways. This model was developed by Gene Kim, author of "Visible Ops" and "The Phoenix Project," and Mike Orzen, author of "Lean IT." The three ways they propose are systems thinking, amplifying feedback loops, and a culture of continuous experimentation and learning. The first way, systems thinking, tells us that we should make sure to focus on the overall outcome of the entire pipeline in our value chain. It's easy to make the mistake of optimizing one part of that chain at the expense of overall results. When you're trying to optimize performance in an application, for example, increasing performance or system resources in one area causes the bottleneck to move sometimes to an unexpected place. Adding more applications servers, for example, can overwhelm a database server with connections and bring it down. You have to understand the whole system to optimize it well. The same principle applies to IT organizations. A deployment team might establish processes to make their own work go smoothly and their productivity numbers look good, but those same changes could compromise the development process and reduce the organization's overall ability to deliver software. This overall flow is often called "From Concept to Cash." If you write all the software in the world but you can't deliver it to a customer in a way that they can use it, you lose. The split between development and operations has often been the place where the flow from concept to cash goes wrong. Use systems thinking as guidance when defining success metrics and evaluating the outcome of changes. The second way, amplifying feedback loops, is all about creating, shortening, and amplifying feedback loops between the parts of the organization that are in the flow of that value chain. A feedback loop is simply a process that takes its own output into consideration when deciding what to do next. The term originally comes from engineering control systems. Short, effective feedback loops are the key to productive product development, software development, and operations. Take the story of a simple bug. If that bug is found by the developer before they check it into source control because tests on their desktop catch it, you've eliminated a problem with very little time wasted. If that bug gets past that point and is found by a QA team, documented in a ticketing system, and then pushed back to a developer to fix, it's still resolved, but with more time wasted. If it gets all the way into a customer release, and is encountered by end users, logged with a support organization, churned over in support, escalated back to development, or re-prioritized by a product manager, and then fixed, it wastes even more time and money for a same or worse outcome. Effective feedback is what drives any control loop designed to improve a system. Use amplifying feedback loops to help you when you're creating multi-team processes, visualizing metrics, and designing delivery flows. The third way reminds us to create a work culture that allows for both continuous experimentation and learning. You and your team should be open to learning new things and the best route to that is actively trying them out to see what works, and what doesn't work, instead of falling into analysis paralysis. But it's not just about learning new things, it also means engaging in the continuous practice required to master the skills and tools that are already part of your portfolio. The focus here is on doing. You master your skills by the repetition of practice. And you find new skills by picking them up and trying them. You may have heard other technologists say things like, "Working code wins," "If it hurts, do it more," and "Fail fast." These all speak to this kind of culture, which retains a practical focus on doing instead of just talking about doing. Use the third way, a culture of continuous experimentation and learning, when creating team processes and standards, and as part of your leadership style. Encourage sharing and trying new ideas. Engineers are problem-finders and problem-solvers by nature, and that can often turn into negativity about new technologies or avoiding attempts to try new things, from "Not Invented Here" Syndrome, to deliberate attempts at niche protection. Acknowledge and overcome these temptations on your path to excellence. No technology, not even new wiz-bang technologies like Docker or Amazon Web Services, is a silver bullet that solves all of your problems. It's how you use them that matters most. As you continue your DevOps journey, it's important to stay grounded in an understanding of what exact problem a given practice or tool solves for you. The Three Ways provide a practical framework to take the core DevOps values and effectively implement specific processes and tools in alignment with them. As you move forward in your DevOps implementation, always keep thinking about the whole system. Ask yourself, How can I build in more feedback loops? And see how you can contribute to creating an environment of experimentation and learning.

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