The 3 C’s & 3 S’s of DevOps

Note: This article is largely based on my own experience in start ups + Martin Fowler , McKinsey , Jeff Knupp and the agile admin posts


In this post I will be looking at the 3 C’s (Change, Culture and Collaboration; trademark = me) & 3 S’s (Simplicity, Scale, Sustain; trademark = McKinsey) of DevOps.

What do I mean by DevOps?

Dev = Mostly made up of Developers

Ops = system + network engineers and admins, operations staff and other related professions e.g. security.

DevOps is a relatively new term and mashes together “agile operations” and “the value of collaboration” between development and operations staff throughout all stages of the development lifecycle. It should involve operations and development colleagues participating together in the entire service lifecycle. It should also involve them using many of the same techniques and systems for their work.

DevOps essentially extends Agile working beyond code and into the day to day service delivery.

The Golden Goose? 

Benefits of DevOps includes greater speed to market, cost reduction and higher quality outputs e.g. customer adoption. Sound too good to be true?!

3 X C’s

DevOps has been adopted by many silicon valley start ups and leading tech platforms such as Amazon and Facebook however this is where the watch outs within my 3 X C’s model come in.

To develop continuously will mean changing at least some processes from Waterfall to Agile. Great on paper but not always easy for large enterprises to achieve when their Culture has historically built up IT systems and staff structures around waterfall processes. E.g your developers might just like developing and do not want to become the start up esque multi hat wearing DevOps go to guy.

Change can be slow to permeate throughout the majority of large organisations (pockets are easy; major organisational change less so).

Thirdly Collaboration needs to be ingrained and shared responsibility adopted so the “chucking it over the wall to the next team” syndrome of waterfall ceases.

3 X S’s

As the above 3 C’s can be difficult to change in many large organisations I particularly liked the 3 S’s from McKinsey by taking it one step at a time.


Create a high quality “single source of truth” for all software and a “test driven development” methodology. i.e One repository for storing, versioning, and tracking all source code.


Focus on high value automation opportunities e.g. mobile apps and e-commerce and leave the major legacy systems for another time!

Test: security, the systems under stress and end to end customer journeys whilst focusing on a merged, yet single, code source.


Focus on continuous delivery rather than “all hands to the pump” for the one big bang delivery. Software automation and cloud based envorinments will help here.


It must be remembered that whilst the 3 S’s are great they must be balanced by an understanding and adoption of the 3 C’s; otherwise DevOps is just another smart arse portmanteau.

If you are after more information in this area visit my continuous delivery post

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