The Socratic Approach: Why We Start DevOps Projects With “Why?”

By Flux7 Labs
May 18, 2017


At Flux7, our big, hairy, audacious goal is to keep our customers exceedingly happy — falling over themselves happy. And, that doesn’t start by forcing them into a mold or a pre-defined box. As a DevOps consulting company, we sit in the enviable position of getting to focus wholly on helping our customers address their specific business needs.

First Ask Why?

We often have companies call us and ask for our assistance initiating a DevOps approach in their organization. And, our first question is always, why?  What are you trying to achieve and how do you envision DevOps will help you reach your goal? Surprisingly, many organizations don’t have an answer to this question. Perhaps they’ve heard that DevOps is a good thing to do or maybe they saw that their competitors were adopting DevOps. Simply put, they suffer from FOMO – the fear of missing out.

While these companies might not have a succinct business-impacting reason for adopting a DevOps approach, often their gut instinct is right and we can help suss out why they should adopt DevOps and how it can help with their current challenges. The seven most common business drivers we see are:

  • Reduce time to market
  • Reduce maintenance
  • Increase Information Security
  • Reduce cost of infrastructure
  • Eliminate downtime
  • Increase scalability
  • Increase global reach

However, we don’t stop there. As the Socratic approach indicates, we continually probe with questions to ensure that we understand why your firm might want to reduce time to market, for example, and even the nuances behind that. With this deeper understanding, we are able to architect a DevOps solution–supported by the right processes, technologies, and knowledge transfer–that doesn’t just tick the boxes, but rather meets the need behind them.

Once we’ve architected a solution, a key part of our role here at Flux7 is to help you implement it. We work hand-in-hand with our customers to teach them along the way how to build and use the processes and technologies we design. In this way, we are able to effectively hand over the proverbial baton knowing that our customers can effectively manage and extend their DevOps solution after our engagement ends. Our customers appreciate that we teach them how to fish so much so that they call us back time and again to implement new technologies, address business challenges in other parts of the business, and more.


As you can see, a key part of our work with customers is applying a tailored solution to their environment. Our project managers lead this effort, and follow up our “why?” with “how?” How should we define the goals to meet our objectives – from deadlines to training and technical requirements? Asking how allows our project managers to escape the cookie cutter, tick box approach and instead gives them the freedom to define project objectives as they map to your company’s specific strengths and challenges.

For example, we recently worked with a SaaS sales application provider who asked us to come in to assess and validate their strategy and help build a blueprint that the team could execute on for future success. With this assessment methodology, Flux7 DevOps consultants examined the firm’s product roadmap and business goals. We then mapped these goals to an architectural approach, with AWS security, performance, and automation best-practices built in. Interested in maximizing economies of scale, the Flux7 team recommended a microservices architecture with levels of AWS automation that would directly address the organization’s need to achieve cost efficiency and scalability. And, we assessed the need for automated tools and processes to free up the team’s time for more strategic work.

We educated the team throughout the process as to the proper use of microservices, S3, AWS security, and more to ensure they were able to build, manage and extend the architecture themselves. At the end of the day, Flux7’s skilled DevOps consulting team recommended best-practices, areas for process automation and optimization that will set this firm on the right foot to achieve its business drivers of greater cost efficiency, security and faster delivery to customers.

Whether you have a clear understanding of your business aim or are just starting to look at how DevOps can help your organization, let us help you ask the right questions to design a practical, tailored solution that will directly address your business drivers. For reading on how our approach has helped others:

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