5 Tips for Achieving a Successful DevOps Culture

Around 80% of 65,000 developers agree that DevOps is somewhat important. That is why the organizations of 44% of these respondents have at least one DevOps employee. 

And for good reason too. 

DevOps promotes the culture of automation and integration across the organization. It provides more efficient ways to achieve the highest customer satisfaction level in the shortest duration. Complemented by the Agile approach, DevOps practices strive to eliminate any obstacles that affect productivity. 

However, achieving these benefits requires the right culture. Adopting a DevOps culture provides many benefits, including accelerating innovation, improving collaboration, reducing failures, and enhancing job satisfaction. 

Here are five highly effective tips that can help you create such a culture at your workplace. 

Tip 1 – Onboard Poly-Skilled Workers for an Effective DevOps Culture 

Cross-functional or poly-skilled teams are the heart of a DevOps culture. Members of this team belong to different specializations and work together towards achieving a common outcome. 

A cross-functional team reduces the cost of handoffs, allows the reductions of batch sizes, and reduces cycle time to improve responsiveness. It also acts as an autonomous unit, which in turn makes working more fun. 

Especially focus on having T-shaped people as part of your team. These professionals excel in their core responsibilities but can effectively perform other tasks. As a result, they can relate to and build upon ideas that enrich a project. 

Tip 2 – Fail Fast if You Must, But Always Learn More to Achieve Success 

Avoiding failure is not an option if you’re committed to delivering value. You can expect some misses along the way, which is why DevOps requires regular feedback and quick evaluation of work progress. 

For a DevOps culture to be truly adopted, team leaders must accept failures as a learning opportunity. Especially since the initial few sprints will have teams struggling to adjust to the new method. Therefore, it’s their responsibility to empower their teams after a failure to ensure positive results. 

However, this is easier said than done. Here are some tips to help your team wrap their heads around the concept of failure as a success. 

  • Create a safe space for your DevOps teams. That way, everyone will understand that failure is okay and an opportunity to learn. 
  • Promote the practice of blameless postmortems. Through this, team members can evaluate a project’s ability to achieve goals without pointing fingers. This practice further helps identify learning points. 
  • Reward employees when they uncover flaws or failures. This will help overcome the “heads will roll” mentality that impacts functionality and efficiency. 

Tip 3 – Take the Time to Assess Existing Gaps and Plan Filling Them

Before working with DevOps practices, you need to understand the current approach your organization follows. For that, the management may need to involve stakeholders, development, and the operations team to assess current limitations.

Through interviews and surveys, you can determine which DevOps culture goals are currently lacking. As this is a collaborative process, effective communication is a must.

Upon sharing your findings and providing recommendations for improvement, your next step is to plan how to fill identified gaps. 

Your plan will include tasks, timelines, and benchmarks for achieving the best culture for DevOps implementation. For instance, you can include carrying out DevOps training to drive the behaviors you need to match this new culture.  

Tip 4 – Embrace the Concept of Servant Leadership and Implement it 

DevOps promote a joint culture based on the mutual co-ordination with each team member. It doesn’t promote an autocratic and controlling hierarchical system. That’s why leaders need to become servant leaders. 

Servant leadership entails:

  • Serving team members with heart
  • Listening to and empathizing with team members
  • Investing time in educating and inspiring teams 
  • Pointing out mistakes politely to help them improve 

By embracing this role, leaders help teammates grow and explore improvement opportunities. That’s why servant leaders have a considerable role in achieving customers’ satisfaction levels. 

The trick, however, is to appoint servant leaders in both lower and top-level ranks. That way, leaders in the front line will have the support they need to implement the culture you are reading this blog for. 

Tip 5 – Ensure a High Degree of Collaboration and Learning in the Environment 

For a strong DevOps culture, you need to ensure a high level of collaboration, continuous information sharing, and openness to learning from failures. 

With these in place, leaders will have the transparency they need to recognize teammates embracing core DevOps beliefs. At the same time, team members will develop a strong sense of ownership and accomplishment following their newfound freedom. 

The Bottom Line 

The implementation of DevOps is a journey which requires persistence and patience. Especially as it requires the buy-in of every level of stakeholder in the company. 

One way to speed up this process is by training the workforce on DevOps practices. In addition to learning its common terms and definitions, they will discover how to benefit fully from implementing it. 

LearningCert can help in this regard. Our Training Advisors will guide you on which certification is right for you and your career goals and help you choose a training option that best serves your learning needs. 

So, get in touch and let us work towards developing a DevOps culture at your organization.  

About the Author

Ikram Khan is CEO of Business Beam and LearningCert. In a career spanning 22+ years, he has successfully completed 110+ performance-optimizing consultancy assignments. Over 5,000 professionals from 800+ organizations have attended the 260+ training sessions he conducted in various countries. Ikram is an accredited trainer for COBIT, ITIL, DevOps, PRINCE2, PRINCE2 Agile, P3O, AgileSHIFT, ISO 27001, ISO 20000, ISO 9001, and ISO 38500. He also holds certifications including CGEIT, CISA, CISM, TOGAF, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSPO, MoP, MoV, and Six Sigma Black Belt. You may connect with Ikram at ikramkhan.info, and LinkedIn.

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