DevOps – Why People And Culture Trump Tech

DevOps – it’s everywhere. More and more organizations are claiming to “do DevOps” and it’s not difficult to see why. Accelerated time to market, reduced costs, increased productivity and just some of the benefits that organizations adopting a DevOps approach are beginning to realize.

In a nutshell, DevOps essentially means getting people, processes and the right tools working together to accelerate the product delivery cycle.

Traditional methods of software delivery are failing to keep up with the rate of digital transformation and rising customer expectations. Organizations relying on traditional methods of software delivery are typically doing releases on a quarterly or even 6 month basis now need to compete with the likes of Amazon who are deploying new software to production every 11.6 seconds through DevOps.

Many have recognised that DevOps requires a significant cultural shift- but how are organizations actually achieving this? a “Why DevOps Matters” Report cited cultural issues as the single biggest obstacle for achieving DevOps success. DevOps toolsets and automation software are great but if your people aren’t talking to each other, working across silos and working together towards common goals- then you are going to fall at the first hurdle and heighten the risk of the technological solution being rejected by your organizational culture.

DevOps is challenging organizations to be more product centric and encouraging teams to be fully responsible for the whole software to product lifecycle right from inception through to retirement. This means that people need to stop working on just “their part” and take a holistic view -looking at the entire the software delivery chain.This means changing the way your teams operate and collaborate. DevOps is not a thing, it’s a different way of working.

How can you make sure that everyone is on the same team when it comes to implementing DevOps cultural change? here are a few tips:

  1. Address the why. Why are you transitioning to this new model? what are the benefits vs. the way you were doing it before? what does it mean for the people involved? why should they even care?
  2. Gain buy-in– both from a Senior Leadership perspective and from Developer/ Operations perspective
  3. Involve everyone from the start– this includes Business, Security, Development and Production teams to properly define requirements and establish an efficient and collaborative process of working
  4. Empower Cross Functional teams with a shared understanding of DevOps
  5. Find Different Ways to break down silos and promote strong communication and collaboration.
  6. Eliminate “blame culture” by allowing people to “fail fast” without fear or guilt

So where do you start? simulation is an extremely powerful way to help explain complex concepts and operating models quickly and convincingly. You are not going to change behavior or ways of working by showing people a bog standard presentation about what DevOps is. You need to immerse and engage them in the new style of working.

Simulation successfully allows teams to work together across silos, in a real business environment to experience the true value of a DevOps transformation. By getting all the teams to communicate and collaborate, participants can quickly experience how to build a DevOps culture for themselves, make mistakes, understand why and learn from them.

In this day and age, the quality of your software can make or break you. DevOps is a way of ensuring that you remain at the forefront of innovation and continue to deploy high quality products for your customers. Make sure that you are addressing the cultural issues as well as the technological ones to ensure that you are well on your way to DevOps success.