Encouraging DevOps Culture.

Author:Andrews, Annie

There's no magic pill, quick fix or easy answer to creating a successful cultural change--and transitioning to DevOps is no exception. Here, Annie Andrews, Head of Technology at Microsoft recruitment partner Curo Talent, explains why DevOps isn't simply about deploying digital tools. For a successful DevOps strategy, organisations must encourage debate, enable visibility and improve internal communications.

As the name suggests, DevOps describes a close collaboration between software development and operations teams in IT. The goal? To create a faster and more effective way of developing and managing software by delivering features, fixes and updates in a more efficient manner. But you've already heard about these advantages elsewhere.

DevOps strategies and their success have been highly publicised, citing faster lead times, more frequent code deployment and quicker incident recovery times for IT teams. However, transitioning to this method of management is often approached incorrectly.

The emergence of DevOps as a buzzword has created a surge in new technologies, all claiming to make the journey from separate development and operations silos, to a collaborative approach, much simpler. The recent innovations in virtual and cloud-based technologies have supported this surge. However, deploying new technology isn't necessarily the best way to begin this shift--a cultural change is often required first.

By nature, IT workers will favour technological tools as their preferred method of meeting business objectives. Tools are tangible, usually arrive with installation guidelines, and their purpose is well defined. Cultural changes, however, do not come with an instructional guidebook and can therefore be harder to implement during a DevOps journey.

A common challenge of DevOps is ensuring both teams--development and operations--respect each other's thoughts and opinions. There have often been long baked-in divisions between those teams, both organisationally and culturally. Unlike technological tools, you cannot change attitudes by deploying a simple update. Colleagues from both departments will come with past experiences and motivations which may be at odds with the mindset required to make DevOps a success.

To get around this, organisations should make the decision-making process simple and without hierarchy. Teams should be able to have an open and respectful debate, and...

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