DevOps, a guide towards sustainability in software factories
By: Garima Bajpai
Among the leading software organizations today, a plan is already underway to redesign and transform the way people, teams and leaders work in tandem in order to sustain speed, agility, and innovation in software companies of the next generation. In the following article, I bring to focus how DevOps is emerging as a guiding principle to lead this transformation into the future.
But before I deliberate further, let’s revisit the five values of DevOps:
With this knowledge in the background, I would like to elaborate on how these values are influencing the task of redesigning organizations for the future.
Next steps from top-down perspective
High-performing teams are already part of the ecosystem on the “edge” through the influence of DevOps movement. Micro teams that are spearheading the change in the organisations are already a part of the organisations in one way or the other. In order to continue scaling up the organization with a goal to make it a large-scale enterprise, we need to examine the following key factors with the vision of #2030 and beyond while keeping DevOps values and principles at the fore front.
With the rise of an inclusive and transparent work culture – where everyone has a set of responsibilities and participates in goal-setting and vision-mapping – the hierarchical boundaries are gradually blurring. And this transformation is symptomatic of a significant change in the way our middle management is structured today.
While a lot has been written on the fall of the “middle management” layer in the DevOps era, I believe that the cultural shift led by DevOps will necessarily result in a big transformation for middle managers. They will have an important role to play in the management as they would embrace new skills to lead in a networked environment. And the emergence of this transformation will restructure teams with redefined roles in the following manner:
- Project Manager’s role is transformed to Product Manager
- System Architect’s role is transformed to Value Stream Architects
- System admin’s role is transformed to Site Reliability Engineers
- Software developer’s role is transformed to DevOps Engineers
- Business Analyst’s role is transformed to Behavioural Analyst
- New teams include consultants for emerging technologies that cause an impact in a short time
Within the framework of the above team structure, the middle management will acquire a crucial role of navigating and scaling the change ahead in a cohesive manner. Equally important will be the role of middle managers as they will engage with teams in order to develop a responsible approach to connect the “big picture”, support the teams to plan for scenario-driven outcomes.
I will elaborate on this aspect and the aforementioned roles in a subsequent article. It will zoom in on the roles for enterprises that are embracing DevOps while also fleshing out some key protocols for the restructured teams, as mentioned above, that will choose to work with one another in a loosely coupled ecosystem.
Team composition and skill set are the backbone of a successful DevOps organization. In today’s era of disruption, we need to assess what they would look like in the future.
Machines are already an essential part of our existence today. Some aspects of human jobs are being taken over by machines that assist us in the form of bots in the systems. And in the future, the team composition will be exponentially machine dependant. These mechanical human creations will have a vital role to play within team structures.
The skill set would consist of creativity, embracing speed, change, and learning to be agile. Socially aware and environmentally conscious STEM professionals will be leading organisations then. In order for us to perform at our full potential, we would not only need a good collaboration but also an effective flow of information, good feedback process, and room to experiment. Doesn’t’ this sound like “The Three Ways”, the foundational principles of DevOps movement?
Helpful tip – Think about the following in order to improve your job prospects, and enhance the skillset for future DevOps-oriented organisations
- How do you create and sponsor opportunities for others
- Do you contribute and belong to open-source communities and open platforms
- How do you share responsibility towards secure software practices
- How do you support initiatives that remove technical debt
- How do you communicate association with changing reality, learn new skillset to work with emerging technologies
- How do you build collaboration work practices based on group activities, tools and behaviours
Stronger emphasis on professional ethics, openness and transparency in the organisation will result in changes in the incentive. These incentives will act as tools for accountability in the software organisation. Key aspects for organisation to mobilize revenue to promote intrapreneur approach, provide an opportunity to co-brand products and services as an incentive to bring new ideas on the table.
Also looking at legacy systems, incentivise teams to creatively destruct and craft exits as some of the ways to engage larger masses to participate and bring large-scale transition in the organisation to embrace DevOps principles and practices.
Policy framework is a large topic. The next generation policy framework for software organisations will be largely driven by DevOps values, with a focus on collaboration, sharing, automation while creating safe and secure solutions. The policies for the organisation will look into changing provisions for licensing and co-branding of products and services built through a collaborative social ecosystem.
Also, a policy framework will be developed in collaboration with consortium of partners to leverage and reuse knowledge and experience from all dimensions, start-ups, large enterprises, educational institutions and government bodies.
The emergence of social services and products creates a huge opportunity for organisations to facilitate early adoption of products, build a two -way communication channel with the users. Companies will look into different ways to define and build positive impact from social ecosystem
The way your products and services will be connected creates an urgent need to look at cyber security practices and policies around how products and services are built, distributed and used in the larger ecosystem. Cyber security will be a priority for policy makers to ensure trust in the products and services they endorse.
Develop a plan to address transparency and two-way communication with the middle management.
Lastly organisation will find innovative policies to build collaboration with universities investing in research and education.
In my next article I will try to delve deeper into future roles in DevOps-oriented organisations.