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November 15, 2019 / by Ian David Rossi / In devops

DevOps Transformation Tutorial

by Ian David Rossi

I love the title of this post. It’s just so ridiculous. Of course, there is no reliable website, blog post or article that is going to give you a tutorial on DevOps Transformation that’s really worth anything. That’s because DevOps transformation is a very difficult thing to do and it involves so many different factors.

Why Do We Need DevOps Transformation?

While there are many organizations out there that are applying DevOps principles very successfully, there are still far more companies that have not yet ventured into DevOps. They are heavily siloed, on both technical and organizational levels. They don’t have good communication between stakeholders in the software delivery process and this causes quality and freqency of releases to suffer. Not to mention what the stakeholders day-to-day is like. Most of the time, the applied solution is more meetings. Everyone ends up with meeting fatigue and little time to actually get work done or think clearly about a better way forward.

It is these types of organizations that can really benefit from DevOps. Many times, someone in management will recognize this. They’ll then go out and try to “get DevOps”, whether it’s hiring a consultant to mentor some internal leaders or do some technical work. In this situation, success is possible, but most of the time–sadly–it doens’t work out. Why?

Organizational Readiness

There is a great difference between an organization recognizing the need to transform and being ready to transform. Awareness does not equal readiness. So, how can you get from awareness to readiness? The first thing you need is experience. You need a person or a team that has real experience in organizational readiness for DevOps. Getting an organization ready for DevOps is a very difficult thing to do that very few people have actually had an opportunity to do. Many have shied away because they feel that it may even be impossible.

Transformation Leadership

However, we can say with confidence that it is quite possible, because we have done it. It takes a lot of work and some time, but the benefits are real and long-lasting. You must start with that experience and then put that experience into a position of leadership in the organization. Then you must turn that into transformational leadership. Either that leadership must be embodied in someone very senior–preferably the CTO–or that senior person must support a transformational leader. This latter scenario is the one we have the most experience with. We have worked closely with CTOs and CIOs and had their authority to back us up in DevOps transformation activities.

Organizational Tools

Of course, putting the experienced leadership in place is not all that is involved. You also need organizational tools to apply DevOps principles. I’m going to talk about two tools. You can perform a DevOps transformation with both of these tools, or just one, if you can’t get the other.

One tool is a reorganization plan. This is very deep subject and not one we’ll expound upon here. But let’s just say that the proper hard reporting lines, dotted lines and dedicated resources do have to be in place. This is one tool. Sadly, for some organizations, this just isn’t a possibility. There may be no desire or authority to reorganize. Plain old beaurocracy, politics and fear may prevent it. Fortunately, though, we have our second tool.

The other tool is something we like to call The 4 Key DevOps Programs. We’ll be publishing articules about each of these programs here on our site. To summarize, The 4 Key DevOps Programs cut across organizational silos and create the communication structures that are necessary to start a DevOps-based, continuous improvement practice within any organization. Of course, these programs will be more potent and effective with a good reorganization plan (or with a good existing organizational structure) but it isn’t necessary to apply The 4 Key DevOps Programs.

Keep an eye on our site for more details. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out by contacting us through our site!