The DevOps movement has been gathering considerable momentum in recent years. In response, many organizations have begun exploring how they can integrate DevOps functionality into their IT department, perhaps even transitioning to a complete focus on DevOps. The potential benefits of such a strategy can include: Improving IT flexibility, breaking down operational boundaries that stifle innovation, accelerating everyday operations, and maximizing the skills of the IT workforce. DevOps can deliver all of these ends, but you must plan carefully to ensure your move to DevOps aligns with broad strategic and cultural goals at your organization. Furthermore, you must adopt IT service management tools that give you the operational flexibility needed to handle the unique challenges presented by DevOps.
With the fragility of a DevOps strategy in mind, these three tips can help you get your projects off to a good start:
1. Identify Your Current IT Culture
What are the underlying values of your IT department? Answering this question isn't a matter of getting executives together in a meeting room and talking about what matters most. Instead, you need to analyze your day-to-day operations and evaluate what tasks are generally prioritized, which areas of operations are given the most resources and how your employees spend most of their time. Ideology may underpin your culture, but actions expose what your culture actually is in practice.
As you work to identify your IT organization's current cultural situation, you must be willing to face the realities of your operational capabilities and make sure you can backup observations about your culture with relevant data.
2. Create a Roadmap for Cultural Change That Supports DevOps
Any DevOps strategy begins with changing what an organization considers important and valuable. Shifting your IT culture away from legacy models that focus on stability to DevOps-focused methodologies that emphasize flexibility and responsiveness. Identifying your current culture gives you a starting point. From there, you can look at how you want your culture to shift as you work to integrate DevOps capabilities into your IT organization.
Changing your culture hinges on being able to institute strategic operational improvements that enable your IT teams to adjust their processes based on your new ideological values. ITSM tools can be invaluable in this area, as they can drive operational efficiency and provide the process flexibility needed to embrace DevOps.
With the right goals and service management tools, you can create a strategic roadmap to enact iterative changes across your IT department, letting you make your move to embrace DevOps in the most efficient way possible.
3. Get Your Workers on Board
Cultural change can be met with a great deal of resistance. If you want your DevOps plans to truly transform your IT operations, you must ensure that your everyday employees are prepared to embrace the change. Make sure you present DevOps to your workers in such a way that they will understand why the transition will be good for them. They need to understand why they should adjust how they work and be put in the best possible position to find success when they have adjusted their operations.
In many cases, employees resist change because they are concerned that their skills will not translate well into the new environment, and are worried they may eventually be replaced. These types of concerns often stem from insecurity, and you can use strategic cultural change to help your employees understand why they will become even more valuable to the business upon making a transition to a DevOps environment.
DevOps challenges IT cultural norms, but organizations that spur genuine cultural change and get their workers to buy in can create a smooth pathway to DevOps success.