Building a DevOps Culture That Enhances Business Value
Author Arthur Lankester
November 10th, 2021
Tools: DevOps Principles (reference card)
DevOps empowered teams to collaborate and produce superior results. Despite the misconception that DevOps is focused on software delivery and automation, business enterprises have seen the value it brings to organisations beyond the IT industry. It can be utilised by any organisation and implemented in just about any enterprise. However, building a DevOps culture that enhances business value is easier said than done.
As technology continues to evolve and brands continue to innovate their offerings, you must rise to new challenges. The question is—how can you cope with changing market trends and demands without compromising your internal structure, operations, goals, and offerings? The short answer: by implementing DevOps culture change founded on DevOps core principles.
Let’s take a look at how DevOps and DevOps culture can transform your workplace for the better and enhance your business value.
What Is DevOps Culture?
To better understand DevOps culture, we first need to familiarise ourselves with what DevOps is. DevOps combines relevant aspects of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), such as human resources and technology, to streamline operations and continuously deliver value to your clients. DevOps does away with traditional silos. This facilitates coordination and collaboration among various teams and roles. It is grounded on a set principles that lay the foundation for DevOps culture.
So, what is DevOps culture and why do you need to implement DevOps culture change? A DevOps culture is defined as a set of values, expectations, and practices that emphasises continuous learning and improvement, especially through team autonomy, fast feedback, high empathy and trust, and cross-team collaboration.
What are some aspects of a DevOps culture?To further understand DevOps, let’s go through some of the fundamental aspects of the culture based on DevOps core principles. These core concepts will help you form strategies for implementing DevOps culture change more efficiently.
1. CollaborativeCollaboration is the key premise of DevOps. Essentially, it directs how development and operations team can work together merging into a single collaborative team that makes the entire development and deployment cycle seamless from end to end. This same principle of collaborative teamwork can be adopted by different teams throughout an organisation.
2. AutomatedAnother key element in DevOps is automation. In software development, teams automate as much of the processes as they could to short iteration times as they perform continuous improvement and development. Businesses adopting DevOps culture in other industries achieve also optimise their performance by automating redundant tasks. The automation in business processes help minimise human errors and increase productivity.
3. Customer-centricIn DevOps, the needs of the users are at the core of development. When DevOps practices are in place, user feedback can be collected rapidly and responses delivered immediately. The short feedback loops ensure that products and services are continuously improved to meet user needs and requirements.
Why Is Building a DevOps Culture Important?
Adopting DevOps culture isn’t just about embracing its principles and strategies. It also involves incorporating its best practices and tools. But why is having and integrating DevOps culture important? What benefits can your business stand to gain?
DevOps culture paves the way for enhanced optimisation, transparency, and communication, which can propel collaboration. We’re eliminating silos and the limitations that come with them.
When developers and operations work together, they’re able to see and understand the challenges that each team faces. Developers, for example, can start building products that are easier to maintain. The operations team—once they’ve gained a deeper understanding of the software—can work with the developers to deliver a product to the market faster, satisfy your customers’ needs better, and maintain your business’s competitive edge.
These, in turn, help teams become more efficient, effective, and productive. When different teams work together and share accountability for a product for its entire lifecycle, you’re better able to deliver a product that can address your target audience’s challenges and needs.
Other benefits of building a DevOps culture include being able to operate and manage processes and automation at scale.
Creating an Effective DevOps Culture
Creating a DevOps culture that actually works requires adopting a new mindset, which is also known as one’s motivation and goals. Instead of eliminating opposite mindsets, you’re working towards bridging the gap between a development mindset, which is about creating change, and an operations mindset, which is about creating stability.
Here are some tips to help you begin developing an effective DevOps culture in your workplace:
1. Transform your environment
Create an environment that fosters collaboration. This means that you should encourage your teams to communicate regularly, be transparent with, and to trust each other. Use tools that make working together and sharing ideas easier between teams. Encourage strong cross-team collaboration or create unilateral teams focused on delivering common goals and objectives. Streamline processes to create a unified approach to processes such as solving problems and brainstorming new product ideas.
2. Assess your roles and responsibilities
In a collaborative environment, changes in roles and responsibilities are inevitable. It’s important to assess your teams’ current roles and responsibilities and how these may overlap. If you’re able to, hold training sessions and workshops that will help your peers to better understand their roles and how they can contribute to the new DevOps culture.
3. Impose end-to-end responsibility
Teams working together must also share accountability throughout a project lifecycle. Designating separate roles with accountability limited to just a phase or segment of a project can lead to inefficiencies that negatively affect productivity and quality if output.
Make sure that teams collaborating know that they are equally responsible for ensuring the quality of deliverables at every stage of the project lifecycle. This shared ownership heightens their level of investment on the project and leads to higher quality output as a whole.
4. Develop new strategies for continuous improvement
DevOps culture is an on-going process that focuses on improvement. Its goal is to achieve breakthrough enhancements in your products, services, and processes, enabling you to generate the most value for your customers. Organisations can achieve this goal by identifying opportunities for streamlining processes, minimising waste, and optimising speed, costs, and ease of delivery.
5. Automate as many processes as possible
As we’ve mentioned earlier, automation is key to continuous improvement and delivery of quality products and services. Leverage new technologies to automate as many processes in your business operations. Identify bottlenecks and redundant tasks, then craft appropriate strategies to address the inefficiencies.
6. Focus on customers’ needs
Keep in mind that DevOps core principles places much value on the end user experience. Adopting a DevOps culture change can help you meet the needs of ever-changing consumer demands by enabling you to deliver customer-centric solutions with speed and efficiency.
To innovate products and services targeted towards your customers, harness the power of big data. Capture the right metrics and focus on the data that matters to your business. Put your customers first when you implement changes, develop new products, or modify services.
7. Foster a climate for learning
A strong and effective DevOps culture is a learning culture. Foster an environment where people are not afraid to make mistakes. Instead of blame, give a more positive response that encourages them to turn failures into opportunities for learning. By prioritising what can be gained from an experience rather than the mistakes made, you empower your teams to transform their work with confidence.
To understand more about the importance of trust in DevOps teams and organizations you can read this blog post of Mike Rasmussen
DevOps Culture Now Essential to Delivering Business Value
With consumer needs evolving constantly and rapidly, building a DevOps culture has now become essential for delivering business value in virtually all industries. To maintain operational efficiency and optimise performance, business enterprises must incorporate DevOps core principles into their strategies.
You can start DevOps culture change in your organisation by understanding DevOps culture and its core aspects. Implement changes appropriate to your unique business model and goals by following DevOps best practices. Create a collaborative environment that fosters continuous learning and prioritises customers. Ultimately, this will drive business value and boost growth.
Do you want to learn more about DevOps practices? Read also our post about the 3 DevOps Practices That Foster Successful Digital Transformations.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Arthur Lankester is a passionate trainer and coach helping individuals and organisations in developing ‘transformational capabilities’. Simply said, Arthur help’s people to develop skills to go through complex personal or organizational changes’. Arthur is graduated (Msc.) Psychologist and Master of Business Administration.
We at Awarego understand that adopting a new culture and mindset can be a daunting prospect. We offer tools and programmes that nurture your teams’ transformational qualities, allowing you to respond to rising challenges and to adapt to changing trends and processes. We utilise a scientifically proven methodology and work with experienced trainers and coaches to develop programmes and strategies that will help you grow and succeed.
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