DevOps Culture and Practices

Aug 01, 2022

The implementation of DevOps within an organization has a significant impact on the culture of that organization. In this video we'll outline DevOps practices and the impact on the people in your organization.

The implementation of DevOps within an organization has a significant impact on the culture of that organization, and that's actually a very positive thing. Having gone through it myself, I honestly can't imagine how we survived before we did that. So, let's go over a few examples. The first and most obvious impact is on the people in your organization. You don't have developers and operations anymore, you just have one group that does both things. This impacts not only the people that are now considered DevOps, but it also impacts all the people that were previously interacting with those teams. But it's much more streamlined and effective.

Roles and responsibilities are much easier to understand, and morale improves throughout the organization. Now, DevOps also has a positive impact on processes. When two groups become one, they can now optimize their joint strategy, and that means that they can implement better processes. In fact, most DevOps teams will implement an Agile methodology pretty quickly after joining together. Another culture impact is tools. DevOps teams will obviously want to implement better tools for helping them achieve their work. But they'll also likely implement tools to help other teams interact with them as well. Now, this can be simple things like bug submission forms, but it can also be tools that help the organization cost out new projects altogether.

Now, DevOps is all about meeting the requirements of the stakeholders in the most efficient way possible. To that end, DevOps tends to be highly transparent. If we're doing something wrong, or if you have any questions, we want you to be able to get answers. We have nothing to hide because we're continuously trying to improve. And so, you can see that DevOps can have a tremendously positive impact on communication within your organization. Everything is streamlined. There aren't multiple teams to talk to, just one. If you have questions or requirements, go ahead and talk to the DevOps team. And that results in a high degree of collaboration. Not only do DevOps teams want to be transparent and facilitate communication, but they want to work with other teams to make sure that the specific requirements of those teams are being met.

Now, DevOps also promotes the concept of shared responsibility. It's important to understand that DevOps isn't a team of developers and operations folks. Every member of the team can perform both duties. And no member of the team is individually responsible for any one aspect of a product. All members are equally responsible and accountable. And that results in a much more team-oriented atmosphere. Another culture change DevOps introduces is automation, so much automation. The best way to get to market quickly and frequently is by automating the process, and DevOps inevitably goes there, and that does nothing but benefit the organization as a whole. And because we have so much improvement in communication, collaboration, automation, and shared responsibility, DevOps tends to allow teams to be much more autonomous.

There is very little need to manage a DevOps team. They can self-organize and get things to market quickly and much more efficiently than if there's a manager involved. Now, managers are certainly still required, don't get me wrong, but they can focus on more important things like customer relations and requirements gather. I've also mentioned before that other culture improvements that come from DevOps is access to feedback. DevOps enables a continuous feedback strategy from stakeholders, and that helps everyone in the organization to know what our state is at any given moment and to act on it if we need to. Now, DevOps also helps us to better define our roles and responsibilities. With different teams performing development and operations, there tends to be a fuzzy line between those teams about who does what.

But with DevOps, that fuzziness disappears and the team knows exactly what they're supposed to do at any given moment. And that means that working agreements between DevOps and other teams are much more easy to define, and that has a marked improvement on the organization as a whole. Now, one of the big advantages and culture improvements that DevOps brings to the table is its ability to anticipate risk. Now, by bringing development and operations together under a single entity, a single group, the intimacy with products is improved by all members of that team. That means that DevOps teams can have a much deeper understanding of the systems as a whole, not just the software, but also all of the infrastructure that it runs on.

So, when requirements or questions are raised, any member of the team can have a much keener sense of whether they possess any sort of risk. And finally, one more culture change that DevOps brings is its tendency to perform retrospectives. Now, retrospectives are regular meeting, where the team talks about what's been going well and what could have been done better. And this is a highly effective way of improving the DevOps process, and that tends to bubble through the organization as a whole too. Everyone asks what could have been done better and actions are written down, so everyone can decide what to do to make it better next time.