DevOps certification training - I hope it's not deja vu

I've recently noticed that training organisations have started to advertise DevOps certification training where students gain a fundamental knowledge of DevOps concepts. Attendees can then undertake a multi-choice exam, hopefully leading to a certificate that demonstrates their acquired knowledge in DevOps.

I immediately reflected upon a presentation by Michael Ducy (@mfdii) entitled "Why You're Destroying DevOps" at DevOpsDays Brisbane conference in 2014. I felt it was a great thought provoking presentation (video) about DevOps as an industry movement. I felt alot of synergies between Michael's current concerns for DevOps and what I have witnessed with ITIL over the past 10 years. 

On the topic of certification training, I feel that the method of gaining ITIL certification via multi-choice exams can lead to negative behaviours back in the workplace. In order to pass the foundation exam (which you or your employer has just paid hundreds of dollars), you need to - on most occasions - provide an answer that is exactly as prescribed in the ITIL text(s). Obviously this assists in gaining the fundamentals, however this may also lead to a culture/behaviour of strict textbook compliance rather than collaboration and being flexible in process design with stakeholders. In other words, individuals would have strictly studied the ITIL texts for definitions and high level process activities, and then could apply that same level of rigour when creating/changing the service delivery processes back in the workplace. This may explain why ITSM/ITIL practitioners are sometimes viewed as 'process-police' or 'process-nazis' by the IT peers. I hope DevOps implementations doesn't suffer the same fate.

I would like to highlight that I'm not against certification training, but I feel it is important for participants to understand that once the exam is over, your peers will value your collaboration and flexibility more than your certification. 

p.s. If you're looking for a great definition of DevOps, I recommend this quote from John Vincent (thanks to Michael Ducy).


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