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How to create a DevOps culture in your enterprise?


By: Ronda Swaney


DevOps transforms traditional IT in all the right ways. If you plan to implement DevOps in your enterprise, what do you need to know? How do you create a successful DevOps culture?


Change your mind

Enterprises often foster entrenched systems. Those calcified mindsets must be lifted away.

Rich Gilbert, VP of Infrastructure Technology and Operations at HP describes how the DevOps culture delivered value to his team: "We needed to unburden the thinking of the team so they could figure out the optimum way to approach this. Once the current paradigms were lifted, the teams began to think differently. They came together to create the solution, and change came quickly—in fact, in an unprecedented two-week period! The result was a highly energized team with a much improved and modernized process."


The DevOps cultureFeel the pain

For DevOps culture to work, team members must feel each other's pain. Where does the pain come from? Bottlenecks.

Rich Gilbert explains the value of DevOps: "When you're starting a DevOps transformation, you've got to look at all of your processes and figure out where your major bottlenecks are."

Finding the pain points in the process and destroying those bottlenecks is the point of DevOps.


Partner with the business

IT must learn to speak the language of business. The more business problems IT solves, the more IT is seen as a trusted business partner.


Ralph Loura, CIO of HP Enterprise Group, Global Sales Operations and HP Labs explains how IT must partner with business: "IT must be plugged in to business strategy and understand what's keeping business leaders up at night, then design IT capabilities to address those issues or drive key initiatives."


Trust your team

Trust flourishes inside the DevOps culture. When teams care more about protecting their territory than helping the business, the business loses.


James Chen, VP of R&D IT, HP, describes how the DevOps culture fostered trust between teams: "One surprising outcome was greater trust between colleagues. Having more collaboration and less control actually created a trusting environment. People felt ownership of what they were trying to do. It made them feel more accountable to their customers. Previously, everybody optimized around their job function only. Now, teams see a holistic process that is optimized from end to end."


Welcome change

If the only constant is change, then you must become comfortable with it. Rafael Garcia, director of R&D IT at HP says to choose smart changes, driven by business value: "DevOps means moving faster and opening yourself up to frequent change. You may have to drop policies and processes for the sake of speed. Sometimes that introduces more risk. You have to decide if the frequency of change offers real value. If all you've done is drop processes for the sake of speed, then you haven't received true business value from the change."


To learn how large enterprises can harness the value of the DevOps culture, read the case study, Through the DevOps looking glass: Learnings from HP's own transformation initiative.



About the author

Ronda SwaneyRonda Swaney


Content marketer focusing on IT, technology, and healthcare for CXOs, consultants, and entrepreneurs. Ronda advises clients on how to best communicate their messaging by taking complex material and simplifying it to engage both tech geeks and the uninitiated.

About the author

Connect with Ronda:

 Follow me on Twitter @RondaSwaney

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