Much has been written about the culture change aspect of adopting DevOps and applying Lean and Agile principles to software delivery.
Unlike many of the automation improvements that characterize DevOps adoption, culture change is frequently seen as trickier to navigate compared with technical change.
Technical change that moves teams towards continuous delivery is becoming more accessible, thanks to the boom in cloud computing technology and the digital revolution many companies are embracing.
Frequent deployments that were once seen as characteristics of only leading-edge companies are now no longer a technology barrier for many enterprises today.
The next hurdle is cultural change.
“But I’m not a… ”
Hard-working members of your organization currently in dedicated departments—such as testing, security, release management or project management—may well be scratching their heads and talking amongst themselves about how they might fit into a DevOps model.
“I’m not a ‘Dev,’ and I’m not an ‘Ops,’” they might murmur to themselves.
Indeed, they possibly do not want to become either a Dev or an Ops person, or even a “DevOps person.”
DevOps, in name, can imply exclusion from the new world, and it may discourage these teams from embracing DevOps concepts.
However, these team members outside of your traditional development and operations teams may well be the key to successful DevOps cultural transformation.
If you can take the time to explain and demonstrate the DevOps proposition, you can develop allies in these “external” departments.
In large enterprises, these allies from outside of your existing Development and Operations teams possess important experience and insight into how your company keeps its systems up and running.
These people also work tirelessly to protect your company’s brand and reputation through their validations and verifications before and after a production go-live.
They all can offer valuable input as your organization ramps up a DevOps model.
For larger, established organizations, moving to a mature DevOps model will be an involved process.
It’s likely that your organization will be operating at “multi-speed” for some time. There are existing legacy, monolithic applications that still provide you critical business value and are essential parts of your ecosystem.
Your organization needs them, just as it needs your faster applications (think microservices, or digital applications) to integrate with them.
People in dedicated departments for testing, release management and project/program management will need to wear more than one hat to bring synergy to your software delivery, balancing the needs of the traditional, slower delivery (Waterfall) with that of the daily production deployments of your newer IT applications.
Take these departments on the DevOps journey with you.
Yes, the future for these departments won’t look the same as it does today, and that can be a harsh reality for some.
But we’re in an age of disruption.
Allow your team members to “opt-in” to be part of the disruption and shape the new world. Educate and coach them and give them the support they need to learn more about the DevOps and Lean models.
You might be surprised at the outcomes:
Testing may be comprised of developers who relish the chance to get stuck in test automation and back into development;
Release managers may be overjoyed to help define new processes to simplify release management, and they may have an excellent perspective on how to make a continuous delivery software pipeline more visible to stakeholders, and the deployment planning more robust and flexible through automation;
Project managers may be excited to reimagine a leaner way of planning and tracking software delivery, and they can offer practical advice on adjusting funding, resource planning and reporting to support the DevOps model.
If you are committed to vastly improving your time to market and throughput, while managing risk and resiliency, you must take your wider organization on the DevOps journey—a journey that includes learning and collaborating on both technological and cultural aspects.
It’s on you: To harness experience in your organization, to educate and support your teams, to encourage collaboration and to set in motion what it takes to break through both technology and cultural barriers.