DevOps transformation – choose your target wisely

This is a second post in what might become a series regarding DevOps, and DevOps transformation. Unfortunately for you, I speak my mind when I feel like it, so there is no master plan behind my ranting. First post was about choosing a strategy when transforming a managed services team towards DevOps.

This second step may not come necessarily after that first step 🙂 You get to choose.

In a way, I have the feeling that DevOps is close to what ITIL is : a toolbox where you can select which parts you would like to apply, and the way to implement them.

So new topic : how to target or build the team which will start the DevOps initiative in your organization?

There are several indicators that you can use to make this selection. None is an absolute, once again, these are pointers to which team would better succeed in applying DevOps principles. There is no sure shot, no magic finger method 🙂

The obvious criteria is to pick a team, of future team members that are already aware of DevOps, and willing to make the move. Of course these would be the people that will help you succeed in the first move, and show the rest of the world that it can be done, and bring very positive outcomes.

The second flag that should be raised is tied to one of the main outcome of DevOps : software delivery. If you have a team that is already struggling to get a reliable software delivery in place, and is willing to put the effort into building the organization and tools to get there, then you have a probable winner 🙂 On the opposite, if you try to convince a team that they need to move to DevOps when they are convinced their software is delivered efficiently and reliably, you’re going to hit a wall. Basically it would come down to convincing them that they are doing a poor job and are not even aware of that. Maybe not the right target for your first DevOps project.

The last one brings us to my favorite topic, outside of tech stuff : business outcome!

Of course, the aim of a transformation within your organization should always be mindful of the business outcome. Imagine you pick a team that is working on a neglected piece of software that no one cares about, and of which customers are just happy of the current situation. I do not think you would get the visibility and traction, not to mention willingness if you try to initiate your DevOps transformation in there. On the other hand, if you manage to get a team working on a new flagship product, that gets the attention of the CxOs, and has a need to show modern and reliable software delivery… you have a winner!

Once you’ve chosen your dream team, and start working, remember that DevOps, as always, is about people, not just tools.

The key thing to take away stems from common sense, and has been given by someone who did try and implement multiple Agile/DevOps organizations: “if you start with bad people and give them a smart way to work together, they won’t become smart by themselves”. Alright, I must admit the original quote was much harsher, but I cannot write it here 🙂

PS : I tend to keep these article short, and do not dive into each topic. This is done on purpose, not just by laziness. If you need to go deeper in each topic, just ask, or get a good read 🙂

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