Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

How to Foster a DevOps Culture By @Anders_Wallgren | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

Culture is more abstract, experienced differently from one role to the next, and more difficult to analyze and evaluate

In attending the 2015 DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES15) in October, I expected to catch glimpses of key insight from today's top technology organizations in regards to their implementations of DevOps practices. I expected a lot of talk to center around tools, around automation strategies and around tactical and clever use of software. These topics were definitely discussed, but what I found to be arguably the top theme of the entire summit was something different, though not entirely unexpected: Culture.

Every speaker whose session I attended - whether the speaker represented a ‘unicorn' company, a ‘horse', or one at the beginning stages of its DevOps evolution - emphasized the cultural aspect of DevOps, and many sessions focused mostly on this aspect. It was interesting to hear even today's most successful companies discuss culture and their unique approaches toward improving it.


In hindsight, this attention to culture and the people/team aspect of DevOps should not have been a surprise for me. Technology today, including the tools of the trade and DevOps technology, has become more advanced and a lot more accessible, at the same time. It is more tangible, with more defined capabilities and measurable benefits. Culture, on the other hand, is more abstract, experienced differently from one role to the next, and more difficult to analyze and evaluate. It is something that every company in the world has, since every company is comprised of people. It is inescapable, whether ignored or consciously tended to. When implemented correctly, it is what drives commercial success, employee happiness, innovation, motivation for change, quality and a company's reputation. When implemented poorly, well, the opposite of each of these can occur: stagnation, lack of satisfaction, attrition, and even going out of business.

devops-team-workI compared this predominant message of culture to my own experiences at previous companies I have worked for. When I applied what I heard at DOES15 to my own experiences, I realized that the "health" of the culture in my work experience at different company environments directly influenced and was reflected in the productivity, business performance and employee satisfaction of those companies.  Since I have an "engineering mindset," this realization had me thinking of reproducible steps toward the successful implementation - or fostering - of a culture that enables DevOps.

Drawing upon DOES15 and the experiences shared by the enterprises who have successfully adopted DevOps, as well as my own experiences - here are some takeaways and best practices to consider for implementing a DevOps culture:

1. Morph the mindset of people on your project's Development and Operations sides, such that they feel that they are on the same teamThis means literally putting them on the same team and having regular meetings with people representing Development and Operations in the same room at the same time. This is easy to implement if using an Agile-like methodology, as Agile promotes planning meetings, retrospectives and daily stand-ups. Give this team a mission: having a shared goal (i.e., a quicker, high-quality release to market) helps foster commonality and the spirit of being one unit. This also means removing biases and using speech that focuses on "we" in lieu of "I," encompassing everyone.

2. Communicate, without playing the blame game
Stating that communication is important is a no-brainer. But - if people are consciously or unconsciously defensive in everything they share with the team, for fear of taking blame, then they will always be prepared to protect themselves instead of working together with others to determine root causes and eliminate them. It is a subtle but vital shift of mindset to focus mainly on the work rather than the people behind the work, a shift that often leads to increased team efficiency. Things going wrong should be viewed as opportunities to improve, and this improvement goal should be celebrated as something for which to strive.

To do this, teammates should be realistic by removing themselves from the situation or process and looking at the actual data and facts of the current project state. People should consciously (at first) and unconsciously (with repetition) aim to fix the problem, rather than pointing fingers at specific individuals, because no one completely understands the specific intricacies and day-to-day of someone in a different role.

3. Examine the whole DevOps process
Do not assume the bounds of the process as immutable. As a lightweight example, if you have never taken formal typing lessons and want to become a faster typist, you could start timing yourself and compete against that time. This approach could have you seeing marginal improvement. In comparison, if you took a course instead, and learned a better strategy for typing, your improvement would be much more dramatic.

Look at the trends and bottlenecks and learn from them. Spend the time up-front to eliminate the roadblocks instead of doing the same thing over and over and all the while hoping for better results (the definition of insanity). If it hurts, do it more, and do it until it is smoothed out. Oftentimes, smoothing a process out involves making it simpler, such that the process does not get in the way of itself.

4. Automate!
This one frequently goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Time is money, so prioritize work based on what would provide the biggest time/expense improvement. During the above-mentioned examination of the DevOps process, each piece of the process should be scrutinized as to whether it is automatable-more often than not, it is-assuming that it is needed to begin with. Automate as much as possible, using the abundance of industry tools available to software organizations. ElectricFlow is a great example of such a tool, as it gives organizations the ability to automate everything from developer code check-in to product release, allowing for integration of existing tools, authoring of repeatable workflows and processes, rule-based decisions and checks, notifications, approvals, auditable change tracking, visibility, reporting and more.

5. Be transparent
One thing I have learned at other companies is that identifying problems can hurt and make people feel defensive (again, it is important to eliminate blame). Yet, being transparent and encouraging sharing of information to allow visibility for all stakeholders is crucial to drive improvements. This transparency can be captured in metrics to improve upon as a team. Embrace that you can see problems sooner rather than later, as a result of increased transparency.

As an added bonus, transparency has a multiplicative effect. This comes in the form of more immediate success from other project teams, who, as a result of metrics-quantified transparency, are now motivated to apply your team's cultural changes in attempts to duplicate the quality of your project's outcome.

6. Practice
Rinse and repeat. Implementing these best practices takes time, but each step brings this change of culture closer to second-nature - and that is where the magic really happens. These traits get incorporated into your team's "muscle memory," and team members make decisions and act in the best interest of the team and in the most efficient manner, naturally.

All of these cultural steps are commonsensical when you hear them, but practically every software company can stand to improve in some or all of these points. It is something that must be purposefully looked at and cultivated in the never-ending journey to stay relevant, streamlined, and - ultimately - successful.

More Stories By Anders Wallgren

Anders Wallgren is Chief Technology Officer of Electric Cloud. Anders brings with him over 25 years of in-depth experience designing and building commercial software. Prior to joining Electric Cloud, Anders held executive positions at Aceva, Archistra, and Impresse. Anders also held management positions at Macromedia (MACR), Common Ground Software and Verity (VRTY), where he played critical technical leadership roles in delivering award winning technologies such as Macromedia’s Director 7 and various Shockwave products.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...