Interview with Michael Kren, DevOps manager at Jamf

“DevOps is continuously evaluating the needs of the engineering teams”

Gabriela Motroc
Michael Kren

Handing off an artifact, providing CI, moving towards continuous delivery, challenging teams to “go faster with higher quality” can all fall under DevOps. We invited Michael Kren, DevOps manager at Jamf, to talk about the business benefits of DevOps and the tools they used to implement DevOps.

JAXenter: What are the business benefits of DevOps?

Michael Kren: Go faster. Ultimately, everything DevOps does at Jamf is to continuously speed up the delivery of satisfaction to our customers. Every idea we come up with or how we attack a specific problem, we always ask ourselves, “How does this help the customer?” Being able to speed up the development lifecycle, the delivery of our product, as well as communication between teams, all goes into providing value to the organization.

JAXenter: What did you hope to achieve by adopting DevOps? 

Michael Kren: Well – There was no decision per say to “bring DevOps to Jamf” – it grew organically as the engineering team grew and wanted to implement CI. Then, as Jamf started offering a hosted solution for our customers, DevOps naturally fit in with that to make the delivery as smooth as possible.  DevOps is continuously evaluating the needs of the engineering teams as well as our Online Services teams to continue to fill gaps.

JAXenter: Looking back at when you decided to adopt DevOps, is there anything that you would have done differently?

Michael Kren: CI was the big push back in the day when I first starting to call myself “DevOps.” There was such a huge need and benefit by getting that going, the deployment part was mostly ignored. I would have started working on the deployment portion of the dev lifecycle much sooner.

DevOps lives between the teams and fills gaps where there are issues.

JAXenter: What are the immediate benefits that you noticed?

Michael Kren: The first benefit was immediate feedback for the engineers. CI was the first thing introduced and allowed us to tighten the feedback loop from over 24 hours to 5 minutes.

JAXenter: How did you convince everyone that DevOps adoption was a necessary step?

Michael Kren: I told them where the gaps were, specifically with the feedback loop, so I started tackling the problem, even before I knew about DevOps. Once people saw the benefit, I thought I would attach a name to the role I was doing. Solving problems and providing value is more important than a title.

JAXenter: How was the relationship between Dev and Ops before the DevOps adoption? And after?

Michael Kren: Like I said earlier, Online Services (Ops in Jamf), Dev, and DevOps sort of grew organically together. My number one priority was Dev back in the beginning of this journey – as that is where the more immediate need was at the time. The ability to get builds out to customers faster was a huge benefit to the Online Services teams.

JAXenter: What tools helped you best implement DevOps?

Michael Kren: When I first started down the DevOps path at Jamf, we used SVN, Jenkins, and SalesForce. These tools, of course, would not work after we decided to move to a “branch-per-issue” workflow.  So, I started searching for tools that fit the new way we wanted to work. (Now, it’s important that you figure out HOW you want to work before you go and find a new tool. All too often people expect a tool to solve their problem. Sometimes it’s the process that is the problem and needs change.) Atlassian Bamboo with its branch build feature, as well as its integration with JIRA and Bitbucket Server, made the choice to go all in with Atlassian pretty easy.

SEE ALSO: Atlassian — “DevOps is the new normal”

JAXenter: What lessons did you learn from this whole process? 

Michael Kren: I still feel that how DevOps is defined and what DevOps does is very dependent on each organization. Each organization has their own specific problems and challenges. I believe that DevOps lives between the teams and fills gaps where there are issues. Handing off an artifact, providing CI, moving towards continuous delivery, challenging teams to “go faster with higher quality” can all fall under DevOps. Or they don’t have to. The important piece is to find the problem and fix it in a way that it will never be a problem again. So, automate yourself out of a job and move on to the next problem. By doing that, you are guaranteed to continue to provide not only to your organization but also to your customers.

Thank you very much!


Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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