Two veterans of IT talk about the disrupting forces and political battles in continuous integration and delivery.


You can almost hear the roar vibrating from the cubicles. It’s the epic tussle between tiger teams — those elite IT professionals — as they decide the future of operations. The decisions about how applications are deployed and who gets to decide that process are part of an ongoing fight spurred by the move to continuous integration and development.

Kong Yang spoke about the human side that often gets overlooked when it comes to adopting CI/CD and dev-ops on a recent edition of L8ist Sh9y podcast (that’s “Latest Shiny,” for those who appreciate vowels.)

Yang, a Dell alum whose current title is actually “head geek” at SolarWinds, spoke of a scenario where two teams of engineers battle over the CI/CD pipeline, with each team given six months to see whose is better.  This kind of showdown rarely works long term: typically, he says, both will walk away and leave it to somebody else to do the maintenance of a system that’s designed to fail fast. And, in the meantime, one of those battle-scarred distinguished engineers probably has to go looking for greener pastures. Or the company loses both — because they can always walk away. Everyone loses.

“That’s the piece that leaders on the business side don’t get… What they want to see is more revenue, they want more profits. They want to see more stuff that they can offer to customers,” Yang says. “That human aspect is one thing that a lot of organizations don’t factor in because guess what: You have the option to go out and hire new talent. Well, the talent that you have in-house has the option to leave as well.”

Host of the podcast Rob Hirschfeld, CEO of RackN, agreed, adding that he’s dubbed it the SRE half life, where people are brought into an organization to usher in change. When the company resists those changes, the site reliability engineer or architect leaves for a more conducive habitat. “Companies have to figure out how to accept and embrace these changes, it’s a very big deal.”

The pair covered a lot of other interesting ground, including:

  • Why we’re in the golden age of cloud 2:34
  • The disrupting force of mobile apps and the CI/CD pipeline 15:38
  • “Living data points” vs. monolith apps 17:15
  • The challenge (and the opportunities) for IT ops professionals now 23:20
  • More on the political debate around building CI/CD pipelines 27:11
  • From AWS to bare metal 30:18

You can catch the whole 37-minute podcast on SoundCloud.

Cover Photo // CC BY NC