There\u2019s no doubt that DevOps has helped many IT organizations achieve their goal of delivering applications and services faster and better than traditional software development processes. Unfortunately, while some IT leaders do a fine job of trumpeting DevOps\u2019 benefits, their teams are headed in the wrong direction, embracing half-baked or completely wrong tools and practices.\n\nIt\u2019s the CIOs responsibility to ensure that development teams aren\u2019t intentionally or unintentionally straying off the DevOps path. Here are the seven warning signs that will alert you to the possible presence of fake DevOps in your organization.\n\n1. Placing DevOps in a silo\n\nThe first sign of a fake DevOps implementation can be easily detected simply by viewing an organization chart. \u201cIf you find DevOps in its own silo, separate from engineering and operations, that\u2019s an initial sign that your DevOps accountability isn\u2019t there,\u201d says Fernando Cuadra, a principal consultant with technology research and advisory firm ISG. \u201cBy creating a separate DevOps team, the CIO has essentially added another layer of complexity, another silo, and another hand-off to manage.\u201d\n\nThe organization chart should reflect a design that allows teams to solve problems holistically across all relevant areas. \u201cOpt for building cross-functional teams end-to-end from design to operations,\u201d Cuadra advises. \u201cDevOps is not about pipelines and CI\/CD; it\u2019s about owning your value delivery with minimal friction across the enterprise.\u201d\n\nDevOps is only a tool in what should be a much larger conversation around the human side of technology, Cuadra observes. \u201cIt requires a deep understanding of the core building blocks of high-performing teams, and how CIOs can refresh their perception of what highly functioning teams look like.\u201d\n\n2. Focusing on tools over people\n\nAn organization that hyper-focuses on a tool- and technology-centric DevOps culture, rather than on people and processes, is 180 degrees out of sync. \u201cIt\u2019s crucial to assess current business practices and needs,\u201d says Mohan Kumar, senior architect at TEKsystems, an IT service management firm.\n\nKumar recommends prioritizing teams. \u201cInstill DevOps culture into communication, collaboration, feedback collection, and analysis,\u201d he suggests. \u201cAn experiment-friendly environment that allows developers to fail fast, recover fast, and learn faster builds a blame-free culture within the organization.\u201d Kumar also suggests nurturing a stream of creative ideas by tapping into teams\u2019 collective intelligence.\n\nDevOps adoption is an iterative process, so the CIO should begin by evaluating the development team\u2019s current state and then gradually building a strategy of continuous improvement involving people, processes, and tools that can evolve along with future needs and developments. \u201cUltimately, creativity is a muscle that must be exercised continuously to grow,\u201d Kumar observes.\n\n3. Too little automation\n\nFake DevOps can occur when team leaders lack an automation mindset, particularly the ability to invest the time and resources necessary to build a strong architecture with automated code delivery.\n\nBefore moving forward with an automation initiative, carefully consider development needs, existing contracts, and current project teams. \u201cSee if the organization\u2019s skills are at the level where you can automate infrastructure,\u201d says Ian Fogarty, managing director of technology and operations at consulting firm Accenture Federal Services.\n\nAutomation can be a double-edged sword, however. Kumar observes that it\u2019s all too easy to unintentionally switch from flawed manual processes to flawed automated processes. He advises resisting the urge to automate as much as possible. Instead, automate as much as is reasonable. The ultimate goal, Kumar notes, should be to turn software releases into a repeatable and reliable automated deployment process.\n\n4. Haphazard automation\n\nAlthough automation is highly beneficial, many organizations jump into DevOps automation without sufficient analysis and planning. \u201cWe have seen organizations that prioritize automation without considering other aspects, including governance, people, process, and technology,\u201d says Aaron Oh, managing director of DevSecOps at Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory. Such organizations typically end up wasting significant amounts of time revisiting and fixing automation work.\n\nBefore running directly into automation, Oh suggests establishing strong governance and standardizing requirements and processes. \u201cCollaboration between the business units is an essential part of DevOps,\u201d he notes. Address any organizational barriers that may exist. \u201cThe leadership\u2019s guidance is going to be important to set the tone,\u201d Oh says. \u201cIn addition, leverage intelligent orchestration tools to help further remove silos and enable efficient communications.\u201d\n\n5. Harboring unrealistic expectations\n\nSenior technology leaders should focus on a commitment that extends beyond simply introducing new technology tools and practices. \u201cThey need to prioritize a shifting culture and employee mindset,\u201d says Tim Potter, a principal with Deloitte Consulting. \u201cThey also need to set realistic timelines for the transformation to take root in the organization.\u201d\n\nAn organization that simply deploys more automated tooling and renames existing application teams \u201cDevOps teams,\u201d committed to owning production issues from end-to-end, will likely be disappointed with the results, Potter explains.\n\nTechnology leaders should also be willing to accept the fact that after committing to DevOps, output may initially decrease before improving. \u201cThey need to be prepared to provide \u2018air cover\u2019 for their application teams, enabling them to test-and-learn and get comfortable operating in a new model,\u201d Potter advises. \u201cSetting inappropriate expectations and not providing sufficient time for transformation can lead to organizations that adopt DevOps in name only.\u201d\n\n6. Teams that are stuck in the past\n\nOld habits die hard. For decades, software development followed traditional waterfall methodology, a process that demanded gathering requirements ahead of time, building features, and finally throwing the results over the fence to QA and other teams for release, says Ashish Kakran, principal with IT venture capital firm Thomvest Ventures. \u201cIt used to take months before customers would see any new features,\u201d he notes.\n\nWhen development teams fail to completely pull themselves out of the waterfall, they end up with weird combinations of processes that can be describe as \u201cagilefall,\u201d Kakran says. \u201cIt indicates that a complete move hasn\u2019t happened to take advantage of latest advances in software development.\u201d\n\nKakran suggests that a fast and easy way to spot a struggling team is by examining their DevOps \u201cEpics\u201d and \u201cStories.\u201d\n\n\u201cThe full context of an ongoing project is often captured in these tasks,\u201d he explains. \u201cIf you sense a month\u2019s long project is already broken down into tasks with little or no continuous customer feedback, it\u2019s a sign that the team is setting itself up for failure, whether that\u2019s missing project deadlines or not shipping useful user experiences.\u201d\n\n7. Inflexibility\n\nDevOps isn\u2019t a one-size-fits-all methodology. For maximum effectiveness, DevOps flows and tooling should be tuned to the organization\u2019s specific needs, which can vary widely depending on its size, application types, and development expertise.\n\nDevOps should never be static. Processes and tools must adapt as the organization grows and follows its quest for continuous improvement. These goals require flexible tools as well as an ability to analyze KPIs to reveal improvement opportunities, says Wing To, vice president of engineering at Digitial.ai, which markets an AI-powered DevOps platform. IT leaders should also be mindful of the cultural shift needed to bring development and operations teams together. Rather than building a separate DevOps department, which only creates more silos and process bottlenecks, the methodology should be integrated into each business area.\n\nDevOps is basically about people and processes. IT leaders should understand that these resources have to be context specific. \u201cThe optimal way to use tools and processes changes over time, is dynamic, not static, and the tools and processes need careful coaching to be used properly,\u201d To notes.\n\nReaching a balance\n\nThere\u2019s a push and pull balance that must be achieved when launching a successful DevOps transformation. \u201cIf you\u2019re fortunate, eager teams will step up and volunteer to be among the first to adopt,\u201d Potter says. \u201cIt\u2019s important to support these teams \u2014 reward them for their courage and celebrate their success, while maintaining focus on the broader organization transformation roadmap.\u201d\n\nRemember, however, that benefits will be limited and delayed if the entire organization fails to accept the transformation. \u201cInevitably, there will be interdependencies that will throttle down an application team if the broader organization has not made the shift,\u201d Potter says.