When a group of developers met in 2001 to debate and discuss a new set of “lightweight” methods for software development, the Agile Manifesto was born. Essentially, it helped to codify the hodgepodge of learnings independently discovered about what worked at Hotmail, Yahoo, and other first-generation internet companies. These learnings ultimately became the underpinnings for what is now called “DevOps” [adapted from Wikipedia]:

DevOps (a portmanteau of “development” and “operations”) is a software development method that stresses communication, collaboration, and integration between software developers and information technology (IT) professionals. A response to the interdependence of software development and IT operations, DevOps aims to help organizations rapidly produce software products and services — and to improve operations performance.

But DevOps is more than just a methodology. It’s a must-have skill set for the modern programmer — and is increasingly becoming its own department as well (the subject of much debate).

While the agile manifesto wasn’t a direct outcome of the web/SaaS/cloud organizational meanderings, it struck a nerve by stressing the need for cross-functional collaboration, communications, and short release cycles these then-new innovations demanded.

The rise of the hyperscale cloud datacenter has now made this job much harder as developers have had to hack together tools and complex scripts for pushing code to thousands of pancake servers. This complex cloud infrastructure — coupled with the growth of the DevOps movement today — has opened up many opportunities, starting with helping developers and companies to manage the entire process … to much more.

— Scott Weiss