Paving the Path for DevOps Adoption

The failure of users to adopt any new platform is often cited as the underlying cause behind three-quarters of new initiatives. Given that DevOps requires deeper commitment by a broader variety of people than most platforms or methodologies, nowhere is it more critical to pay close attention to the active promotion of adoption than it is when transitioning to DevOps.

Users and even executives cite several reasons why they fail to adopt a DevOps culture-shift. Many suggest that other technology and business initiatives are higher priority to them than DevOps. Some point to a shortage of resources impacting the decision to change. Some simply don’t see value in making such a comprehensive change

A DevOps Adoption Requires Buy in At the Highest Level

Only when the C-suite or equivalent buys into the value of DevOps implementation is it even possible to successfully achieve adoption. From a corporate perspective, this is no small decision. The last step along this path will be adoption, but it will be adoption by a large number of participants across multiple departments and lines-of-business within the enterprise. The likelihood of successful adoption of anything diminishes as the size of the community grows. Good to keep in mind.

You start at an advantage. Most users want to see their IT projects completed faster, and then want remediation, patches, and upgrades achieved even faster than that. When you can demonstrate that DevOps results in both of these you are much closer to enthusiastic adoption than ever.

Changing the Culture

Culture is by far the hardest thing to change in any organization. You cannot request it, assign it, or demand it. It has to permeate the organization top down. This is a process that doesn’t involve talking, imploring, demanding, or beggin. None of those will ever change culture.

Giving evidence, demonstrating value to be obtained, celebrating successes, these are the elements that lead to culture change.

This challenge is exacerbated by the sheer scope of change you’ll need. Just about everyone in the organization will need to be reached and persuaded to alter their paradigm and accept a new culture of continuous improvement through continuous development, rapid feedback cycles, constant upgrades, and more.

DevOps generally requires a constantly changing culture. The cycle that leads to continuous improvement is iterative. Each cycle improves upon the last and sets the stage for the next. Analytics, rather than human proposals, will drive many investments. Changes will be incremental but constant iteration will outpace prior version changes.

Overcoming Inertia

In this case we’re referring to the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest. People resist change. Some even fear it.

DevOps benefits from the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). There are few things many team members fear more.

it” thinking. Implementing DevOps requires new tools, techniques, and infrastructure which disrupt existing investments and require retraining.

Perhaps the most vivid example of resistance to change will come from the adoption of applications built using microservices in containers which is required for the success of DevOps as it delivers a superior ability to iterate improvements. People accustomed to monolithic applications may not be immediately impressed by the transition, preferring to focus on the uncertainty.

Do not underestimate the passion with which some will work to maintain the status quo. These doubters will require profound evidence of potential positive gain for themselves available by enthusiastically adopting new processes and procedures. Many of these will be at management levels that can blockade their entire team, keeping them happily in their own silo.

Traditional Disconnects

The core driver of the development of DevOps was to overcome the traditional friction between developers and operators of software. Traditionally, neither has considered the other’s requirements when doing their job. The result is endless rework, frustration, and argument.

Developers tend to assume that the resources their software needs will be available. Operators are often taken by surprise and must scramble to provide many resources. Each may end up resenting the other for making their life more difficult. The sense of ownership of the software is never shared. DevOps is intended to overcome and reverse these, putting all participants on the same page.

Priorities

The fact that you are properly proceeding gradually as you roll out DevOps will almost inadvertently upset some people. They want to see immediate improvement, but now have to wait until the DevOps deployment team gets around to them. The fact that applications must be evaluated before they are improved will frustrate many, driving them to attempt to alter the DevOps leaders’ priorities. Anticipate friction.

Infrastructure Changes

The traditional response to most IT problems has long been to “throw more infrastructure at it.” But that only makes IT operations more expensive and less effective. DevOps leverages procedural and process changes to create new efficiencies, new economies of scale, greater performance, requiring modernization and optimization of multiple systems to enable constant development and constant improvement.

Ownership

The importance of the sense of ownership of the change and its impact on adoption cannot be overstated. Not only ownership of the change itself, but a sense of ownership of the planning for the change, and participation in the decision to adopt DevOps. When users participate and feel a sense of ownership of DevOps implementation they almost automatically adopt.

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