Q&A with Brandon Cipes, VP of DevOps

We were able to grab a few minutes of Brandon’s time to ask him about the acquisition of HKM Consulting. Read below to learn what impact he thinks the integration of HKM Consulting will have on his DevOps practice and where he thinks DevOps is headed.

Q: With the acquisition of HKM, you’ve now got a much larger customer base to serve. How do you ramp up to help so many customers with DevOps?

A: Thankfully we have a large stable of engineers in addition to the experts we inherited from HKM. When we combine those great people with the practices we’ve honed over the years, we can move very quickly.

Q: Are you saying that all clients are the same and that’s how you scale?

A: Not at all! In fact, while our clients share many similarities between them, there are always idiosyncrasies that we must tune our approach for. This works in our favor though. As we work with more and more companies we see these variances, better understand how to adopt our DevOps practices to them, and apply those learnings on future engagements.

Q: What’s the roadmap to achieving success with DevOps?

A: You have to understand what you want to do, and why you want to do it. DevOps is a blend of people, processes and technology into a culture that is collaborative, nimble, and gets “stuff” done. To achieve success you should know what you want to improve (release time, bug counts, outages, server costs, etc.), be willing to shake things up a bit (make teams cross-functional, bring in new tools, embrace individual empowerment), and then dive in. Measure everything, work iteratively, stay open to new ideas and you’ll see the benefits of DevOps.

Q: Isn’t your description of DevOps a little broad?

A: DevOps itself covers a lot of ground, but when we talk about success it’s only a piece of the puzzle. The best performing teams have great technology and structure, but they must be paired up with finely tuned teams to help with planning, ideation, and product management. This is where our experience with Agile comes in and why cPrime leverages its focus on the success of teams, not just an app or a project. We want to help make whole processes better so that our clients can most effectively do SSLM.

Q: Wait, what’s SSLM again?

A: SSLM stands for Software Services Lifecycle Management. I know, there are a ton of acronyms out there already, but we feel it’s critical that companies focus on the “services” they deliver, not just the software. Companies need an approach that covers the entire spectrum of tasks necessary to plan, build, test, operate, and iterate on the functionality end users expect. Competition moves so quickly these days that if you don’t have your organization finely tuned and operating at its best, you’ll be left behind.

Q: As part of the acquisition, cPrime also acquired their office space in Boston. Will you now root for the Patriots, Celtics, and/or Red Sox?

A: I’m from Los Angeles and will politely ignore your question. Let’s just say I lost a Celtics bet many years ago and had to pay a friend quite a bit of money. He never said it couldn’t be in pennies.

To read our Q&A with Chris Riley, Founder / CEO of HKM Consulting, click here.