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OODA Loop and DevOps

2013/02/18

I spotted on twitter the other day a Donkey Kong analogy for DevOps:

The Donkey Kong DevOps analogy

The Donkey Kong DevOps analogy

Regardless of how fun (and close to heart) it is, the analogy is flawed because it describes a sequence. We do not wait to compete all the steps in the ladder in order to get to the next level. Nor, do we restart only when a barrel hits us.

Fast transients is what we do. Fast transients is a term conceived by John Boyd and he first used it for air combat: “the ability to change altitude, airspeed and direction in any combination”. This is after all the essense of the Release Early; Release Often mantra. Push your system out in the wild so as to get a grasp of where the audience wants to direct it. Or plan for organized abandonment. According to Boyd, what matters most is the tempo of change: “fast transients suggeststhat -in order to win or gain superiority- we should operate at a faster tempo than our adversaries, or inside our adversaries’ time scales”1,2

So it is no wonder that I belive that although not so funny, the OODA loop describes how we work:

OODA Loop from CTOVision's "I've got the OODA Blues"

OODA Loop from CTOVision’s “I’ve got the OODA Blues”

Because as Boyd wrote:

“Orientation isn’t just a state you are in; it’s a process. You’re always orienting […] A nice tight little world where there’s no change – dinosaurs; they’re going to die. The name of the game is not to become a dinosaur […] If you are in an equilibrium position, you’re dead”

Now think of that in terms of what you do just to keep current with the tools of the trade and what you do in order to monitor, manage and evolve your infrastructure.


[1] – A vision so noble, Daniel Ford
[2] – Which reminds me of the Nyquist sampling theorem

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