Guest Blog: DevOps Involves More Than Just IT

Adopt - Advanced Organizational Performance TechniquesThis month Pam Erskine, Principal Consultant at Advanced Organizational Performance Techniques (AdOPT) has contributed the blog “Guest Blog: DevOps Involves More Than Just IT”.

If you are involved in implementing DevOps practices or if you are researching DevOps, you know that culture change is critical to success.  Developers and Operations must work together to create high quality deliverables on a frequent basis.  For most organizations, bringing Developers and Operations closer together is a significant cultural shift.  It is the most important aspect of transitioning to DevOps practices.  Without fully addressing the people side of DevOps, you can only make so much progress.

The various DevOps discussions and materials tend to focus on the behavior and subsequent culture change required within the IT organization but what about the business.  If you are going change how IT works and delivers services to the business, there is a business impact.  They are the customer.  They need to be prepared to have discussions about the value of various requirements and deliverables.  These discussions require someone at the table that can make decisions about functionality that delivers value, resources that may be required for user acceptance testing, the business impact of delivery schedules, etc.

In the last fifteen years, IT leaders often talked about wanting a seat at the table with the business.  They wanted to be involved in strategic decision making and offer advice and counsel on the various initiatives that the business was undertaking.  Many IT leaders struggled with achieving this level of involvement.  Now there is a new opportunity.  In a sense, DevOps creates a brand new table and the business is definitely interested but they need to be involved in the planning as well as the execution so the entire organization can fully recognize the value of changing how the work is delivered.

The culture change required for DevOps involves more than just IT.  It needs to include the rest of the business.  IT provides foundational technology for the entire company and it may create services that are sold to the community.

It’s great the Development and Operations are recognizing the value of tearing down the silo between the organizations but to be truly successful, it is time to remove the silo that exists between IT and the business.  Any organization adopting DevOps practices needs to focus on the behavior changes required across the entire organization.

It’s a new day.  DevOps practices involve more than just IT.  The business needs to adopt a new mindset as well.  Organizational change plans that address IT behavior need to consider the behavior of their business partners as well.  The business needs to take the journey with IT to achieve the expected return.

When adopting DevOps practices, engage the business in the early discussions prior to making changes.  Even if you want some time to test and learn within the IT organization, take the first step in tearing down the wall that exists between IT and the business.  Bring the business into the conversation.  Talk with them about your objectives and ask them about the results they would like to see from this type of initiative.  Partner with them on developing a strategy and path forward.

Engaging the business in the early conversations relating to DevOps will help to gain their buy in.  The behavior change from the business will evolve as DevOps evolves in the organization.  They will have a voice in the adoption of the changes and while IT Development and Operations are adjusting to a new way of working, the business will be planning and adjusting as well.  Inviting the business to the table along with Development and Operations will strengthen the end result and help to tear down the silo’s that have existed for far too long.

To be successful, the adoption of DevOps practices requires a cultural shift from IT and the business.  Take the journey together to achieve a much more valuable outcome.