You don’t need to adopt every recommended tool and practice to become a great DevOp organization. You just need to be willing to try new things, to make mistakes and to share your experiences with the rest of the organization.

And to see what this means and how to try it yourself, I recommend reading these few articles, mostly by the original leading lights of DevOps, that help build a picture of DevOps from just before the coining of the phrase to today.

Patrick Debois was probably the first to publish copious quantities on the topic. He presented DevOps as “Agile Infrastructure and Operations” in Toronto in 2008, and then organized the original DevOps days in 2009. A few months later, Stephen Nelson-Smith published possibly the first “what is DevOps” article as a guest article on the same site (there’s lots more to be learned on the history from this narrated slideshow at ITRevolution). Within months, the idea had spread far and wide: John Willis’ seminal CAMS article also describes how word came to Australia and the U.S. A great early article that I really enjoyed and reread every few months is R.I. Pienaar’s “What DevOps is Not” post on Agile WebOps.

The hard part in trying new things (at least for me) is finding new things to try that I think might work in the projects I’m on. I browse lots of sites to try to stay reasonably current. The DevOps Weekly archive and The Register have broad coverage. The blogs of some of the major players like PuppetLabs, Chef, Docker and CloudBees give good insight into what’s currently popular (I particularly like Adam Jacob’s Chef-Style DevOps Kungfu youtube video, it’s perfect for anyone who learned anything reading these three posts). And for insight into how Enterprise vendors are progressing, I read what IBM, Parasoft and Oracle are writing. Google is generous with search results, and that’s where I found posts by Actifio and TechBeacon.

Credit where credit is due: I learned a lot from the (undated) article “What is DevOps?” at The Agile Admin site. It goes into much more detail than this little post ever could. Thanks to the authors of that site for making my DevOps research a lot easier!

DevOps as a movement is growing quickly, but not as quickly as the uptake of the term. I hope that some of these links are useful to you in distinguishing between the movement’s intentions and the various meanings you may come across in your own conversations.