Innovation, time to market, and agility are the key factors that distinguish a business’ competitive edge. To accelerate their development processes and boost their level of responsiveness, organizations enable agile methodologies within their development processes. That is where DevOps steps in: day by day, organizations implement and build DevOps approaches within their IT departments to improve their value chain and optimize their operations. The need for transformation towards agility also leads to organizational change across departments and their business activities.
At this point, DevOps is much more than implementing the brand new tools and methodologies. In fact, DevOps is built upon the cultural transformation that requires a new perspective for conduct of business. DevOps culture means a holistic approach that is embraced by the whole organization rather than separate attributes. DevOps culture highlights the importance of collaboration across the organization. DevOps culture requires a common understanding of business goals and shared values. Software delivery releases and lifecycle are only improved through DevOps principles if all departments that are involved direct their collective effort on product and business instead of working as separate units with distinctive objectives. Hereby, building DevOps culture is a cultural shift in organizations which is built upon communication, shared responsibilities, motivation and so on.
The first step to bringing DevOps culture into the organization is attitudes towards an effective communication between all parties involved in the software lifecycle. Communication should of course be bilateral, attaching equal importance on both sides. The idea of “everyone is focusing on the product” requires open communication to assess the needs, the issues and required actions to achieve success. Ongoing communication is the first step to building DevOps, through ensuring all teams from engineers to technical support embrace and contribute to the product itself with their abilities and skills.
There are many tools to enhance communication and collaboration across your teams such as Slack, Trello, Jira, etc… You can choose any of these tools based on your company culture to manage your business operations and shared tasks.
Shared values play a key role here by reducing the barriers between these teams and increasing empathy towards each other. Shared values help teams to direct their focus on the product itself and being a problem-solver instead of separating and labeling distinctive units and distributing responsibilities. All teams involved in the software lifecycle should trust each other to contribute to and aim for product success instead of individual performance metrics that may lead to goal incongruence. The well-built communication and tasks monitoring tools will lead to improved visibility across teams. Increased visibility helps you to build and strengthen the trust between parties.
Collaborative effort directed on product success also requires realignment of roles and responsibilities within the organization. Along with trust, shared responsibility brings out a new approach to software lifecycle and work processes. With decreased silos between departments, say development to test units, everyone in this cycle is responsible for the success all together. Shared responsibility is important to create a work environment where there is no person or team to blame on a particular subject. This means everyone is highly respected -and expected- to take initiatives, involve in decision making processes and share knowledge when needed.
Previously mentioned collaboration tools also help teams to understand who does what, and assess what needs to be done for product success. Visible product lifecycle stages help to increase the sense of responsibility and individual contribution.
Effective communication, trust, redefined roles and shared responsibility needs support through a learning and sharing environment. Every participant of the software lifecycle should be encouraged to learn further and extend their knowhow via training, sharing platforms and cultural context.
You can organize business-wide events and programs to encourage learning and sharing across your business. Area-specific workshops, access to communities are the first two examples that you can think of to embrace learning culture.
While building a DevOps culture should be both from top to bottom and from bottom to the top, executive support and management is needed to ensure DevOps culture is embraced and implemented in all work processes. Managers are responsible for conveying the business and product goals to the employees and setting relevant performance metrics for the collaborative success. This also leads to a change in managerial perspective to analyse and set the right KPIs to measure overall performance and efficiency through new work culture.
In-company hackathons and certification programs might encourage your teams to contribute to and explore job-specific areas further, while corresponding appraisals of these programs serves as a recognition of their both individual and collective success. At the end of the day, building a DevOps culture requires a continuous effort and management to leverage the full potential of business agility. DevOps tools are just the tip of the iceberg when organizations consider building a DevOps culture. Organizational DevOps mindset, which can be created through various managerial changes are what makes DevOps powerful and outstanding.
A fresh new graduate and specializing in marketing, Deniz is excited to learn and share her knowledge on business technologies and technology culture. With her experience in technology companies during her school years, she is always excited to learn more about how technology transforms businesses.
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