DevOps (2019) – Series 1

Since the inception of DevOps, the cultural movement has been debated and last few years it has survived the identity crisis. Today, devOps is no longer an IT thing or a technology practice, it has come out as a strong organization wide transformation journey which intends to break the silence between people, processes, practices and tools.

Consequently, the choice of behaviors which lead to organizational culture, co-creating processes which focus on flow and agility and adopting tools & practices which can be the catalyst for changes in behaviors & how we adopt processes will lead in improving the intended outcomes from your devOps journey.

So where does it all start -Top Down or Bottom up?

While leading devOps transformation, I have understood more than anything it is a change management initiative, the first step is to prepare for making this change and have stakeholders committed towards this journey. But wait, who are the key stakeholders who should be on-boarded ?

Effective transformation & change initiative must be aligned to business outcomes, primary business goals & objectives. Technology, operational efficiency initiatives are enablers to maximize business outcomes, keeping in view above it is important to provide empirical evidence & get support from top executives.Without buy-in from the top level executive, it can just turn up into another IT project. Once you have got the stakeholders on your side,the job has only started as in any change initiative, as the next step can be to assess the following

  • Are existing operations & development practices deep rooted?
  • Is the organization intimated by adoption of new processes?
  • Is there a hierarchy of communication & collaboration?
  • How ready is the organization for the change?

It clearly reflects that there are various variables in the journey, answers to these varies with the scale, maturity & culture of the organization, how one must start and scale devOps adoption. It is like, getting to know the DNA of the system and align organization, empower associated teams and get an organized plan where everyone understand the shared goals and objectives

DevOps is not something money can buy yet it is an investment!

DevOps is definitely an investment, but is not something you can buy off the shelf. Mindset shift is the backbone for this change movement.

Reading more about how most difficult change programs are accepted, one of the winner is how you model incentives in an organization and reward right behaviors aligned to the objectives. Breaking physical silos between various hierarchies is another way to facilitate collaboration & communication. Making feedback process less painful, getting it easier for people to reach out…

Moving from the softer parts, rethink the processes. How does flow of work integrated & also visualized .Some of the common issues like how many backlogs we have for each product line, are they talking to each other? Are there five different ticketing systems in the company? Is your project management organization acting like a guarded border? How much “inventory” of features you have? How many product features are over production, which no one intends to care?

Lastly touch base on the tools & practices aspects, although devOps is not solely technology oriented but it has important aspects for which technology can act as enabler. One aspect can be to optimize the way you support your flow through consolidation of application & infrastructure and make it transparent & seamless. How you balance your infrastructure needs with Core, Cloud & Edge related compute needs. Tools and process should support each other. Selecting a tool without knowing how it will be integrated and who will use it and for what purposes will only deepen the gap.

Practices are not written on stone and any organization can come up with a devOps practice for “Continuous Everything” , this can be adopted as best practice like Continuous Integration by other organization, so don’t define devOps through existing practices. Very last technology thought, it is important to “Continue Learning” & “Improving”, devOps metrics and AI will create leading opportunities to develop & adopt more best practices as we evolve in our devOps journey

So there are no such devOps products or things..it is a mindset..

Will try to pen down thoughts around my next article in this series -how devops culture is prone to get corrupted