Three Org Changes to Encourage DevOps

[#encouragedevops] In the talks and break-out sessions at DevOpsDays London, in conversations at London Continuous Delivery meetup group, in numerous blog posts and articles talking about introducing a DevOps culture (e.g., and based on my own experience of organisations I have worked within, it is clear there are three key practical steps which an organisation can take in order to encourage a DevOps culture of collaborative, cross-functional, product-focused working which leads to more effective delivery of software-based services.

(I’ll be blogging about each one of these steps over the next few weeks with the tag #encouragedevops)

Moving from a silo-based organisation to one whose team goals are aligned directly with business goals and value stream is not easy, and requires a level of organisational courage and cohesiveness which might require a top-down kickstart (read Gene Kim’s excellent book The Phoenix Project for a pithy review of the kinds of political and social hurdles to be overcome).

The Phoenix Project

However, there are three key steps which can be taken within the engineering/IT department alone which go a long way to encouraging a DevOps culture to flourish:

  1. Establish and nurture a shared goal for Development and IT Operations
  2. Have developers on-call for responding to Priority 1 incidents
  3. Make the product owner responsible for the operational success of the product, not just feature delivery

Ideally #3 would reach into the Commercial part of the business, but in the early stages the tech team can provide a ‘product owner proxy’ to act as the real product owner and thereby achieve at least part of the value of aligning feature and operational aspects. #1 and #2 should be completely within the remit of the technology team to arrange.

Over the coming few weeks, I’ll write about each one of these three aspects of encouraging a DevOps culture, starting with #1: Establish and nurture a shared goal for Development and IT Operations. Follow the series on Twitter with #encouragedevops

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