3 Ways to Prepare Remote Teams for DevOps Adoption

August 21, 2020 / CloudOps

DevOps is a combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increase an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity. But it cannot be achieved simply by containerizing applications and hiring a few DevOps engineers. The adoption of bleeding-edge tools is not enough on its own to deliver the benefits of DevOps. This is especially true for today’s remote workforce. There are several mistakes that are all too common for organizations trying to adopt DevOps, but chief among them is the failure to properly structure teams. 

DevOps organizations are neither monolithic nor hierarchical in structure. They are instead made up of many small teams, each of which are multi-disciplinary and able to act quickly and autonomously. Here are three ways you can prepare your teams for DevOps adoption.

1. Remove Silos

It’s even in the name – DevOps is about removing the silos that have traditionally separated development and operations. It’s about encouraging developers to be aware of operational constraints so they can own the solution, and it’s about encouraging operators to work with developers when problem-solving. Tasks that usually took place later in the release pipeline are baked into the development phase. This aligns everyone’s goals and allows code to be released more quickly, frequently, and in smaller batches.

2. Create Generative Cultures

Especially for today’s remote teams, culture is an aspect of DevOps that cannot be ignored. The Westrum model can be used to describe culture with a scale that ranges from pathological to bureaucratic to generative. Pathological cultures are fear-based, power-oriented, and uncooperative. People often distort or withhold information for political reasons and shirk responsibilities in response to practices that punish novelty and failure. Bureaucratic cultures are rule-oriented. They involve more cooperation than pathological cultures but are still defined by narrow responsibilities. Novelty, failure, and inter-departmental communication are systematically discouraged. Generative cultures are performance-oriented and characterized by high levels of cooperation and openness. Risks are shared and failure leads to inquiry, creating a culture that trains innovation. Statistical analysis has shown that team culture correlates strongly with organizational performance and that high-trust, generative cultures are the foundation of high-performance. 

Generative cultures enable organizational structures of many small teams. A firm commitment to creating and maintaining a generative culture is a prerequisite for DevOps toolings and processes. Change culture before tools means teams will be empowered to choose tools that most suit their use cases. 

3. Focus on Business Value

Well executed, DevOps will align your release pipelines with business value. BizDevOps is a philosophy of integrating feedback from the business side of an organization into its delivery cycles, effectively ensuring features released through DevOps cycles serve business objectives It creates streamlined workflows from business strategy to deployment, matching DevOps metrics with high-level business KPIs. Ultimately, this will allow you to deliver features faster while quickly verifying their impacts on your product.

DevOps ultimately isn’t a fixed destination but a constant process of improvement. To receive an actionable blueprint for adopting DevOps, download our white paper ‘How to Initiate DevOps Transformation by Assessing Culture and Processes.’ To get a head start on your DevOps journey, reach out to us about receiving a DevOps Platform and Practices Assessment.