Building a DevOps Culture


The Evolution

A decade after or so, speaking around “What is DevOps?” a common agreement has started to form around DevOps being a cultural association pooled with a number of software development practices that empower speedy development.

As a technical process, a set of tools have emerged that empower teams to work more rapidly and proficiently. Tools only are not self-sufficient to craft the collaborative environment that corporates now refer as DevOps. However, creating such an environment is a massive encounter; it involves evaluating and rearranging how people think about their teams, the business, and the customers.

There might have been many of us who have been “doing DevOps before DevOps was evolved.” Placing together a new set of tools is simpler when compared to altering organizational culture. DevOps is a withdrawal of old-styled software development practices for just this reason.

Organizational Culture – “The Legacy”

The very idea of an organizational culture was evolved in the middle of the 20th century. Outlining an organization’s culture goes beyond having a magnetic leadership and employee motivations. The definition includes the fundamental ethics, theories and principles that govern the organization’s management style, procedures, and practices. These aspects of culture in turn define the kind of employees the organization has.

Groups of people build a culture by sharing their ethics and behaviors. How an organization rewards behaviors, how an organization treat those ethics, and how well it is supported by the participants. It also affects how the participants of the culture may have reacted to attempts to transform the characteristics of that culture.

Businesses have become progressively aware of how work culture creates and maintains the standards of an organization. The topmost Organizations have a culture of consistent productivity, motivated employees and a high retention rate, and have been positive about adjusting to changes in their market. But there are organizations who have been unaware of how their workplaces itself makes, or breaks, their organization’s culture.

DevOps Culture – “Out of Comfort Zone”

DevOps is as much about culture as it is about tools, and culture is all about people. No two groups of people are guaranteed to create the same sort of culture under similar circumstances. So to talk about a cultural movement in absolute terms is disingenuous. Implementing a prescribed toolchain won’t magically turn an organization into a DevOps team. Using DevOps-friendly tools and workflows can help an organization work in a more DevOps manner, but creating a culture that is supportive of the ideals of the DevOps movement is crucial.

Implementation of a DevOps culture in an organization leads to increased collaboration and teams that are more in sync. If an organization currently working in a siloes structure, changing its standing culture to embrace DevOps is often more difficult. Here are four practices to help build a DevOps culture within an organization:

1. Trust

After passing of many years of development and operations teams usually get separated from one another, there’s naturally a lack of trust and loose communication between teams. Before you change organization’s culture, everyone requires agreeing and understanding that they’re on the same team. Although trust isn’t built overnight, it’s important for both teams to break old habits and to learn to work together.

Now all developers, QAs, and sys admins, take part in deploying new features and part of a continuous process, each group needs to trust each other to get quality code delivered on time.

2. Understanding Motivations

Since developers, QAs, and sys admins all are on the same team now, take the time to understand the thought process and motivations of team members. Listen to them; acknowledge their ideas and work together to come up with creative solutions.

When team is under pressure to complete a software project, it may be difficult to understand why someone is reacting or thinking differently than other. Conflict between teams often occurs when people don’t understand each other. One of the Best practices like Unit Tests will become critical in a DevOps shop so QAs frustrations grow to a team’s problems when engineers don’t do their part in testing a solution.

3. Avoid Blaming Each-other

When teams work independently and something goes wrong, each team often places blame on the other for why the project didn’t go as planned. However, there’s no place for blame in a DevOps culture.

While it’s vital to understand what went wrong so it can be avoided again, placing blame on individuals never help the team moving forward. DevOps practices create a new level of visibility which can break down barriers but also show more clearly bottlenecks, blockers and problem creators (like breaking the build). Teams have to be prepared and willing to support each other in correcting problems rather than looking for ways to avoid blames.

4. Help Teams Understand ‘Why’

People are naturally resistant to any change made into their comfort zone, so it’s extremely important to help teams understand why an organization moving toward a DevOps culture. Sit down with your employees and show them how it leads to better, more stable software.

For Example: A developer might like to manage source code the same old way but DevOps only works when changes happen like converting to using Git Workflow. If developers don’t know why they need to use GitHub Workflow, they might not see the impact until it creates bigger problems downstream.

Demonstrating change is necessary requires some homework. It’s fair to change your organization because DevOps emerging and can help to deliver better code quickly. But you’re looking at months of work, new tools to learn and implement teams to restructure. These costs must be outweighed by the benefits, so you have to be able to put real value on your processes.

Articulating upfront what your goals are will help you with other phases of your DevOps roll out. Some common measurable goals are:

  • Reduce time-to-market for new features.
  • Increase overall availability of the product.
  • Cutting down the time to deploy.
  • Increase the percentage of defects detected before go-live
  • Make more efficient use of hardware infrastructure.
  • Cutting down the number of production tickets

Building a DevOps culture within an organization escalates effectiveness and collaboration between development and operations teams. Although implementing changes are never easy, DevOps allows rationalizing software development processes and getting products to market faster.

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