Michael Cote

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Now with Pivotal, Michael Coté has been an industry analyst at 451 Research and RedMonk, worked in corporate strategy and M&A at Dell in software and cloud, and used to do real work as a programmer for a decade before all that. He blogs and podcasts at Cote.io and is @cote in Twitter.
Empty chairs in an office. Pic by shutterstock

The best outsourcers fire themselves

Outsourcing. Let's talk about it. The agile and DevOps people can’t stomach the idea and will tell you that, intuitively, outsourcing something as core as software development ruins any chance of enterprise success. But whither comes this bone-deep skepticism among the cloud cognoscenti? Surely there’s value to be had. Surely. …
Michael Cote, 29 Mar 2018
paper and cardboard stuffed into an overfull recycling bin

Great, we're going to get DevOps-ed. So, 15 years of planning processes – for the bin?

In large organisations, the question is rarely “what are these newfangled practices and technologies,” but more “how could we actually do them here?” DevOps* has been here nigh on 10 years, and in the past three or so of those, large, normal organisations, like Allstate and Duke, have been learning its mysteries. “I think …
Michael Cote, 6 Mar 2018
morlocks

A print button? Mmkay. Let's explore WHY you need me to add that

With all our attention on the Morlocks – down there with the whirring gears of Kubernetes and steaming clouds – it's easy to lose track of the Eloi: those concierges of productivity that smooth out the rough, upper crust of The Stack to make sure your software is actually usable. The trend now is to call this layer "design", …
Michael Cote, 20 Feb 2018
many faced statue

The many-faced god of operational excellence, DevOps and now 'site reliability engineering'

Someone's been kicking up the "NoOps" ant pile again. There it was, sitting there finally rebuilt after the annual upturning, and The Lord of Cartography, Simon Wardley says: "I think you'll find that the new legacy is going to be DevOps." That said, it is winter, so the ants are moving a bit slower than usual. But we've only …
Michael Cote, 6 Feb 2018

You may not be a software company, but that isn't an excuse to lame-out at computering

I don't begrudge organisations who want us to start calling them "software companies". People are free to do whatever they like with such trivial labels, I guess. But the tick of such labelling has always been an annoyance to me. No, you're a company that uses software effectively Most companies saying "actually we're a …
Michael Cote, 19 Jan 2018
Stressed looking business person.

So you're 'agile', huh? I do not think it means what you think it means

What if I were to tell you that we knew all the best practices for software development? That they've been proven by actual industry use over the past 25 years? But that, oddly, these practices are not widely done? Well, if you read these pages, you'd probably say: "Sound about right." Agile is much spoken of, but not as …
Michael Cote, 11 Dec 2017
Office workers in meeting seem frustrated.

'Do the DevOps?' No thanks! Not until a 'blameless post-mortem' really is one

What drives organisations to change their ways? What's the match that lights the powder keg of actually doing something new and different in IT? That's the question I usually get from organisations that want their approach to software to be more "agile", who want to go through "digital transformation", and, yes, "do DevOps". …
Michael Cote, 17 Nov 2017
Tired IT worker rubs his eyes

You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec

In a recent IDG survey, the number of execs worried about a skills gap in IT grew from 49 per cent in 2016 to 60 per cent this year. Other surveys shore up this finding as well: a Cloud Foundry Foundation survey from late 2016 had 64 per cent of respondents worried about getting the skilled staff needed. “Is there a skills …
Michael Cote, 19 Oct 2017
The meat ingredients for our WHO neckfiller

Culture, schmulture. DevOps, agile need to be software-first again

"The talks get a little repetitive, don't they?" she said as we were walking out of the elevator and through the lobby, escaping the latest two-day DevOpsDays nerd fest. Unable to resist the urge to mansplain, I meekly volunteered that most of the attendees are first-timers, so, you know, maybe it's new to them. Upstairs …
Michael Cote, 13 Oct 2017

The developers vs enterprise architects showdown: You shall know us by our trail of diagrams

One of the more wizened roles in IT is the enterprise architect, or, “EA” for those in a hurry. Meanwhile, those cowpokes over in the wide open office plans of DevOps country have little regard for these EA types. It’s a bit of a “what have you done for me lately?” situation: last time the devs checked, these EAs were saying …
Michael Cote, 18 Sep 2017

You can't DevOps everything, kids. Off the shelf kit especially

Comment Hey, psst. Come over here, I have a secret to tell you. My fellow DevOps hoodwinkers would cement-shoe me for saying so, but you don't always need to do the DevOps. In fact, in many cases, it's likely a waste of effort. Let's start walking this way, briskly, now – I think I see some pink and chromatic blue fade-tipped Thought …
Michael Cote, 21 Jul 2017
Hustler photo via Shutterstock

How to avoid getting hoodwinked by a DevOps hustler

Comment We’re almost halfway through this year, and how’s progress on those Digital Transformation Initiative slides doing? Maybe you need a quick jump in improvement to buy some time for August vacations, and then ensure you can get enough actual change and a few successful projects in place by the holidays. While they’ll ship …
Michael Cote, 29 Jun 2017
The Seventh Seal

The eternal battle for OpenStack's soul will conclude in three years. Again

Comment After six years as a formal project, OpenStack has survived numerous raids and famines and now finds itself in a not-too-weird space of being boring, on-premises infrastructure. That is, “boring” in the good way of focusing on what users want and fixing existing problems, only chasing shiny objects – cough, PaaS, cough, …
Michael Cote, 22 May 2017
Apololypse Now smell of napalm in the morning

Victory! The smell of skunkworks in your office in the morning

While it’s easy to start up a few, flashy new DevOps teams, releasing to production each week and flaunting the ball-and-chain of enterprise governance, scaling that change to your organisation will always be challenging, if not crushingly impossible. When it comes to scaling the skunk-works, I’m reminded of a conversation …
Michael Cote, 26 Apr 2017
Hipster pizza guy photo via Shutterstock

Java? Nah, I do JavaScript, man. Wise up, hipster, to the money

A while back I answered my door bell - it was the pizza. After transacting for the hot pie, the older delivery man with a Just Like Dear Old Dad mustache asked: "Are you a programmer?" pointing to the OpenStack logo on my hoodie sleeve. "Yes," I said, "well, I used to be." He asked me what programming language he should learn …
Michael Cote, 3 Mar 2017

Digital transformation?! Your boss's PowerPoint New Year resolution, deconstructed

Hey, it's the new year. Time to let those annual planning slides shimmy over you, washing away the dangling tickets of last year like a purifying clean install. Somewhere amid pictures of robots shaking hands with meat-maws and millennials writing on glass walls will, no doubt, be the details of your firm's "digital …
Michael Cote, 18 Jan 2017
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Put down the org chart, snowflake: Why largile's for management crybabies

There's a stink growing out there in agile land: a debate over how to scale up agile in large organisations. Should we put frameworks like SAFe or the most awesomely named DAD in place to scale it? How about LeSS? These "agile in the large" frameworks have been on the ascent in recent years. A 2015 Gartner survey found that …
Michael Cote, 21 Nov 2016
Couple laying in tent with laptop

Pair programming – you'll never guess what happens next!

Of all the agile practices out there, “pair programming” is the one that elicits the most heckles, confusion, and head-scratching. The idea is that rather than having one person sitting at a screen, coding, you have two who program together. Those who practice it speak of it like most people do of their first time at Burning Man …
Michael Cote, 18 Oct 2016
Is it safe from_Maraton_Man

But is it safe? Uncork a bottle of vintage open-source FUD

“Yeah, but is open source a safe choice?” Surprisingly, I’ve been asked that frequently of late. Larger organisations in particular are giving me the old squinty eye. The folks in these conference rooms and tentacular email threads are often looking to replace decades old stacks of IT and get their “digital transformation” on, …
Michael Cote, 29 Sep 2016
Cool guy with shades on. Photo by shutterstock

'We already do that, we’re just OG* enough to not call it DevOps'

At this point in the innovation curve for something like DevOps it’s fashionable to start asking “Where's the Return On Investment?” Answering that question is always tedious. For the hopeful, starry-eyed practitioner, spitting up the ROI figures is akin to the irrelevant water-carrying and wood-chopping trials imposed by a …
Michael Cote, 13 Sep 2016
cheating_648

Why Agile is like flossing and regular sex

After roughly 20 years, agile software development has wheedled its way into most every developer's mind as The Way Good Software Is Done. Like flossing, while we can all agree agile is a good idea, we're not quite up to snuff on keeping all our teeth in our heads, so to speak. A recent Gartner survey [registration required] …
Michael Cote, 27 Jul 2016
Hippie peace, image via Shutterstock

Happy mode, sad mode, DevOps mode: Stop worrying and go bimodal

There’s a debate going on right now about the best way to run IT: specifically, all those custom applications and services inside organizations. Do we try new, agile approaches, or stick to the old, methodical processes? Gartner did much to start this discussion with their bi-modal concept: Bimodal IT is the practice of …
Michael Cote, 15 Jun 2016
Bloke in leather chair, photo via Shutterstock

Love it or hate it, it's time for that Software Power Meeting again

One of the more wickedly astonishing findings from the current DevOps Report is that change review or advisory boards have little effect on a company’s performance. In fact CABs – as they are called – tend to slow down IT’s ability to release software quickly and regularly, negatively affecting organisational performance. I …
Michael Cote, 6 May 2016
Shark, photo via Shutterstock

DevOps isn't just about the new: It's about cleaning up the old, too

As one of my coworkers used to say when confronted with The Latest Development Improvement Methodology: “Why don’t you come down here and chum this stuff?” – except he used the language of a sailor. In trying to implement the latest breakfast cereal agenda, DevOps, one of the primary chumming tasks is dealing with all your “ …
Michael Cote, 12 Apr 2016
Doh image via Shutterstock

Go DevOps before your bosses force you to. It'll be easier that way

Some people are making very bold claims about what DevOps can deliver. Here’s one: “High-performing IT organizations deploy 30x more frequently with 200x shorter lead times; they have 60x fewer failures and recover 168x faster,” according to the first bullet point of the 2015 annual Puppet Labs State of DevOps report. With …
Michael Cote, 9 Mar 2016

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