DevOps Culture and its Transformative Power

Most people, when they think or talk about DevOps, think about Dev and Ops working together, greater collaboration, and using the right tools. These are all great concepts and will be revisited further in this blog, within the frames of the Atlassian approach. First however, I want us to focus on another aspect of DevOps, that is the DevOps Culture.

The Effective and Efficient Teams Triangle

Based on well known concepts, the effective and efficient teams triangle provides the foundation to keeping teams aligned and focused on the same goals. Below I’ve illustrated each of the key components of this triangle:

  1. Transparency: Increased flows in communication and everyone is informed. Information is controlled at a minimum and each member of the team has access to the same source of information.
  2. Collaboration: Problems are solved together as one team. The roles and responsibilities are only intended to focus effort, but ownership and responsibility are shared among everyone. There is no “throwing over the fence and washing my hands”.
  3. Automation: Common and repeatable tasks are automated for teams to be able to put their energy into innovation, process improvement and analysis.

 

As with any other new process, an iterative approach (in small pieces and with continuous improvement in mind) will be needed to become more effective and efficient teams.

Expanding DevOps Beyond Dev and Ops

Although DevOps was born as the idea of Dev and Ops working together, its culture can provide much more value within an organization by starting a transformative process when the rest of the company adopts its culture. It is actually more difficult to do DevOps successfully when only a small team in the organization uses it. Business Requirements delivered in a traditional way, as well as budgeting and funding done using traditional PMO practices will prevent DevOps from showing its full potential.

Reinventing Obsolete Policies and Processes

The bigger an organization becomes, the more it relies on policies, processes, and procedures to function. However, it is very common that these rules are not revisited on a regular basis and soon become obsolete. We often forget that policies, processes, and procedures are created around tools and the technologies available at the time they are created. For instance, when email became mainstream, we gradually stopped using “Memos” to send official communication within an organization. Now email has become the “default” tool for any type of communication and we are all familiar with the phrase “catching up with email”. Now is the time to review and reinvent the policies, processes, and procedures that have been used for decades and replace them with updated models aligned with the technologies, tools, and culture that this time requires.

Slowing Down to Go Faster

We live in an era where everyone wants to go faster. The speed at which technology evolves forces us to keep up with change and adapt quickly. So, how can we slow down? We just do. We need to allocate capacity in our time, teams, and organizations to make sure we can improve the processes that make us work harder, not smarter.

Failure as a Measure of Progress

We hear this all the time. But do we get it? Traditional organizations and management have been trained to avoid failure at all cost. This approach has made individuals overly cautious and not willing to take controlled risks. Understanding what doesn’t work allows us to move closer to find what does. DevOps provides a framework where experimentation and controlled risks can be taken. Business value is delivered quickly to customers and when problems are found, the framework is setup to fix them quickly.

Excessive Planning as a Measure of Stagnation

Traditional management practices have tried for decades to plan every single aspect of a project. Studies have shown that 60% of requirements defined at the beginning of a project are changed during the lifecycle of a project. Focusing on planning major initiatives and main goals will provide a lean approach that will create a more dynamic structure with faster results and shorter time to market.

Iterating Small and Often

DevOps uses Agile methodologies as part of its foundation. Getting feedback from the work we are doing and making corrections as quick as possible, not only allows us to provide quicker business value to the customer, but also reduces risks and the possibilities of introducing problems into the final product.

Using The Team Playbook

Atlassian provides a free tool that gives teams the opportunity to asses their health and figure out which areas require some work and improve the performance and capabilities of the team as a whole. We strongly recommend organizations and teams take some time to do this exercise. You can find more information at: https://www.atlassian.com/team-playbook.

You will have the opportunity to check the health of your team and understand the work needed to bring the team to where it’s needed to be more effective and efficient.

Escape Chaos: DevOps Event Hosted by Blended Perspectives

Introducing the transformative power of DevOps culture was the cornerstone of our recent Escape Chaos DevOps event. The teamwork of solving puzzles in the escape rooms was a great way to illustrate escaping chaos through DevOps. Plus it was a lot of fun!

Nothing is greater than teaching individuals and organizations the power of DevOps to make their teams effective and efficient. The Blended Perspectives Team would like to thank everyone who attended the event and helped make it such a great success!

Stay tuned for part two where we will explore the Atlassian approach to DevOps! In the meantime, check out the DevOps with Atlassian ebook.

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