Telling your corporate DevOps story
DevOps transformation includes a cast of characters and a journey
DevOps adoption by commercial and public sector enterprises can’t happen without an excellent old-corporate DevOps story. People love stories about transformation and empowerment. DevOps is the fuel to just that kind of technology story.
Here are some considerations for telling your corporate DevOps story:
Understand your characters
My roots as a college English major mean I’m naturally attuned to audience. When I got into the business world, I learned that the world didn’t always operate that way. Case in point, employees malign change management initiatives because they never seem to align with the realities of the business.
Moving to DevOps requires understanding all the players that’ll experience changes through your move to DevOps. Your developers and sysadmins are the apparent audiences. It’s wise to dig further into how DevOps will affect other parts of your business. Take, for example, the potential impact of DevOps on your sales team. While they don’t affect the day-to-day development cycle (at least as much as they’d like), you can’t dismiss the impact that a move to DevOps may have on that part of the company.
Determine your characters’ goals
The goals around DevOps vary. When telling your corporate DevOps story, you need to get a handle on the players in your organization, including:
Organizational/corporate-wide goals such as faster time to market for products and solutions to win more business and delight current customers
Developer leads who’ve been caught in the slog that waterfall software development lifecycle (SDLC) brings with it and want a better way of working
Developers who are forward-looking and a bit frustrated with the waterfall or other in-house SDLC and want to maximize their effectiveness, especially with a move to cloud-native development
Operations teams with a goal to improve efficiencies, significantly mitigating issues in development before they hit production
While these are positive forward-charging goals that we all can identify with, don’t forget the goals of the people who want things to remain the same and not challenge the status quo. For example, the development manager or senior sysadmin perceives a DevOps transformation as leading to loss of their political or actual organizational power. Think of this character as the “troll under the DevOps transformation bridge.”
Make your characters the hero of the story
I’m a big fan of starting with small pilot projects when new technologies and transforming how teams work are on deck. When you start small, you can set the team up to be the heroes of your corporate DevOps story. Chronicling a DevOps pilot project is your opportunity to tell a story that’ll resonate with your internal other teams because it involves a team of heroes out to solve a business problem that other teams in the organization are currently facing on their projects. Their deeds on the pilot project become DevOps lessons learned for other development teams in the company.
Chart out your heroes journey
There’s certainly a journey to DevOps that you can map for your organization as part of your corporate DevOps story.
There could be cultural and technological obstacles on your way to DevOps. It’s OK to make them part of the story. The heroes can meet “the troll under the DevOps transformation bridge during the journey.” Such anecdotes testify to what your organization is learning and how you’re evolving.
Your DevOps journey should be one of technology, integration, frameworks, processes, and most of all, learning. Make an extra effort to capture how your teams may have integrated other tools and strategies into your DevOps pipeline in your corporate DevOps story. For example, an interesting angle to capture is how DevOps intersects with cloud cost management. There are other intersections to seek out depending on your organization, that’s for sure.
Telling your DevOps story is essential on multiple levels. Your sales and business development people benefit from telling their own stories to prospective customers about how your company delivers software that helps do way. Your C-suite needs a business-level understanding of how DevOps improves how your company does business. They need to relate that story to the board of directors and investors.