Asking the experts: What’s the best way to evangelize DevOps internally?
As we gear up for our fall events, including the DevOps Enterprise Summit October 22-24, we have been talking with some of the industry’s foremost leaders in DevOps thinking. It has been exciting to see this methodology grow over the last several years and to walk customers through transforming the way their organizations develop and deliver software. While DevOps is quickly catching on, there’s no doubt we still have a lot of work to do to spread awareness.
Some organizations have made DevOps a top priority and were able to sail past milestones in the DevOps journey such as creating cross-team empathy between development and operations, automating processes, adopting tools and so on. And this is largely due to a culture that is receptive to new ideas, willing to change and individuals who are open to following through with what DevOps requires of them. But most companies aren’t so lucky.
The majority of the organizations we coach through DevOps transformations face some type of internal resistance and have a need for education before changes can be made. Many people simply do not know enough about DevOps or how to move forward and that’s why evangelism is an important first step.
The benefits of DevOps are numerous — accelerated delivery, improved quality and increased flow of business value, to name a few. If you’re one of the few in your organization who understand these benefits and how DevOps could help your team create better quality and deliver to market faster, you will want to share the good news, but may not know how.
Mirco Hering, Principal Director, APAC DevOps and Agile, at Accenture has been advocating for DevOps, before it was even called DevOps. He recommends focusing on results in order to sell DevOps within your organization:
“Nothing sells better than results. Don’t focus on vanity projects to showcase Continuous Delivery or any other concept, focus on getting results. Use the full toolbelt of Lean, Agile and DevOps practices to achieve some real results and then leverage them to convince more and more people of your alternative way of getting things done. Support this with more traditional change management and a flexible org structure of communities of practice or “guilds” and you are on a good path.”
Folks are more likely to be motivated to change if they can see the facts. Similarly, Jeff Sussna, author of “Designing Delivery,” recommends building the case for DevOps by measuring the success of one small change at a time:
“Focus on concrete, incremental improvements. For example, “If we write automated smoke tests we can speed up deployment, reduce deployment errors, and do better production monitoring at the same time.”
Indeed, results speak for themselves but getting to the kind of results you want isn’t a quick and easy road, and sometimes you have to do more convincing before getting the green light to make any changes at all. Eric Robertson, VP of Product Marketing Management and Strategy Execution at CollabNet VersionOne says offering pain relief and focusing on the customer or user is an effective selling strategy when it comes to evangelizing DevOps.
“By identifying bottlenecks, frequent failures, or unmet business objectives and mapping out DevOps strategies to solve these problems, you help IT leaders visualize a clear path for meeting business goals quickly. They see a way to improve organizational efficiency and increase the value delivered to customers. Evaluating the health of the delivery pipeline should be a first step, not last, for DevOps enthusiasts. When changes become about serving customers what they want, even traditionally-minded team members are likely to work toward improvements — even if it means change.”
And don’t forget about education. If your team members have never heard of DevOps or are unsure what a DevOps transformation looks like, resources abound. Dominica DeGrandis, author of, “Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & Flow,” suggests watching and sharing information from the DevOps Enterprise Summit to encourage learning and exposure to DevOps.
“Videos from the DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES) are free and offer DevOps enthusiasts a vast learning opportunity.”
Hope these suggestions have been helpful! If you are hard at work getting others at your organization on board with DevOps initiatives, what have you tried to garner support and evangelize within your own brand?