Accelerate Your DevOps Transformation by Focusing on Culture
The DevOps journey can be long and difficult. Often people start by focusing on the tools, but selecting tools is just one aspect, and spending too much effort on it takes time away from the core of what DevOps is about—and what your company is going to have the hardest time changing.
The toughest part of a DevOps transformation is the cultural changes required to make it successful, so to accelerate your transformation, figure out what they are as soon as possible.
The first step is understanding how innovation happens at your company. Are people able to work on stuff that isn’t related to a project, or is all work aligned to a business initiative? Transformation is not going to happen without people having time to learn and experiment.
If you have a culture that is tightly aligned to the business, your leadership will need to carve out funding to support resources toward the DevOps transformation. Eventually, leadership will need to give everyone this time because all jobs will be impacted, and you won’t be able to scale the changes without allowing them to figure out what they need to do going forward.
Next is getting a working pipeline. What tools you use are not as important, but there are some key aspects of how the source code tool should work, how testing should be incorporated into the CI pipeline, and how change management is integrated, so you do need to make sure that you have tools that will work in DevOps.
Figure out what your company is already using and work to get those tools integrated into a functioning pipeline. That will help you flush out cultural issues, like if one team does the builds and deployments but another team is the one that creates environments. Having a working pipeline that you can use to educate everyone will help the company better understand what the DevOps automation is and allow them to start thinking about how it will impact their roles. It also will shed light on where teams need help from others in order to do all the steps required to move code into production.
Finally, put together a working group that has representatives from all the shared service teams, including any team that does work on behalf of engineers. These representatives should be people who can make decisions, possibly directors or higher, and should meet very frequently in the beginning and be open to adding more people as momentum grows. This group should demonstrate the progress of the pipeline and make decisions on how to resolve cultural impediments.
The cultural changes that are required to support DevOps are the hardest part of the journey because they require people to change. It can be scary and difficult for those involved, so the sooner that you can identify what those changes are and get them working to evolve, the faster your transformation will occur.
Adam Auerbach is presenting the session Building a Modern DevOps Enterprise Testing Organization at STAREAST 2018, April 29–May 4 in Orlando, Florida.