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Keep CALMS and carry on: How we do DevOps

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: DevOps, DWP Digital
Two male colleagues working at a kanban planning board
Agile working

I work for BPDTS as DevOps Capability Lead. BPDTS Ltd is a dedicated service provider to DWP. We all work together in inclusive, co-located, multi-disciplinary teams towards the same goal, transforming digital public services.

We’re passionate about DevOps here at BPDTS. But what does that mean when there are so many different viewpoints on what DevOps is and how it works best? Well, we borrow quite heavily from the methods of Damon Edwards, John Willis and Jez Humble - all significant contributors in the DevOps community – and we reference the C.A.L.M.S. model for DevOps adoption.

C is for Culture

We have a saying that we’re 'firmly focused on the C'! By which, we mean that we’re focused on the culture change that DevOps needs in order to flourish. Breaking down organisational silos, empowering our delivery teams, promoting innovation and experimentation (in a controlled manner), embracing immutable infrastructure patterns and designing for failure are all examples of the culture change we’re trying to introduce.

A is for Automation

We also use the ‘A’ on a daily basis, which stands for automation. From automated build and deployment via modern software engineering practices such as continuous integration, deployment and delivery, through to automating our infrastructure and environments (largely via Containers and Cloud), and full-on test automation that proves the quality of what we’re building, our mantra is 'automate everything'.

L is for Lean

Our use of lean methodology means we weave together agile practices such as Scrum and Kanban, and encourage digital delivery to flow from idea through to delivery using automated delivery pipelines. It helps us to identify bottlenecks that slow down our delivery and encourages us to address areas where there is wasted effort.

M is for Metrics

 How do we know if DevOps is successful and contributing to DWP’s goals? Well, that’s where the ‘M’ for metrics (or measurement) comes in. As well as the cross-government measures we adhere to, we also measure a range of things to show if DevOps adoption is a success. For example, cycle time (how long it takes for an idea to reach live delivery); release frequency and release volume; release stability; change failure rate and time to recover; performance improvement and deployment speed. Some of these measurements are already in place and some are things we’re looking to implement very soon.

You may be wondering how we do all of this across such a large organisation! Especially when so many other disciplines (Engineering, QA, Infrastructure, Product and Delivery Management, Security, Architecture) are affected by what we do. And that’s where the ‘S’ comes in.

S is for Sharing

You guessed it, S is for ‘sharing’. Here at BPDTS, we’re building our capability using the “practice model, where everyone can build their careers and skills in a community setting. Our DevOps people are key participants in this community model and spend a lot of time at community events across a range of disciplines, talking about what we do and encouraging others to join us on the journey.

In a practical sense, we promote hands-on learning and innovation through training opportunities and hackathons. We use a range of channels – such as this blog – to share what we do. Confluence pages, organisational roadshows and internal and external community events such as meet-ups and DevOps days are all part of this. I also host the DevOps North East Meetup group and encourage BPDTS colleagues to attend and to share stories of the great work happening here.

DevOps is ultimately about empowering stable, reliable, secure and responsive digital delivery at scale and at pace using the adoption method – C.A.L.M.S, as I’ve outlined above. I suppose you could say that at BPDTS we:

“keep C.A.L.M.S. and carry on delivering!”

Be part of it! Check out the latest vacancies on our careers site


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  1. Comment by Dave Hatch posted on

    Craig as always leading on helping others to do the right thing. An inspiration and hope your'e given the freedom to do the right thing and do the thing right.

  2. Comment by Vanessa Davison posted on

    The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim is a great read for anybody interested in DevOps.
    The book is written as a fiction story to show a case study that tells us why DevOps is so important. It manages to articulate if in a simple but effective way.
    It's available to download or read online if you google it.