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IT leaders must stress DevOps culture as a journey, not a destination

If a DevOps culture shift is to find any footing, managers must see DevOps as its own journey, where incremental changes are needed to merge silos into one efficient team.

Change is hard. It’s hard for individuals to change, and it’s even harder for large enterprises to change given it requires many, if not all, of its individual employees to adapt all together and all at once. A DevOps culture shift requires not only an amendment in overall company culture, but also in day-to-day employee duties. A company-wide DevOps agenda establishes new production teams, making a company’s employees collaborate in ways they may not be trained or prepared for.

Change takes time. Changing one’s habits requires daily focus and determination. It requires that you focus on the journey instead of impatiently looking towards the destination. A company’s development and operations teams breaking out of their silos then merrily and efficiently working together will not happen overnight. These two disparate teams have fundamentally different goals and philosophies. Development is constantly tasked with creating the next iteration of a product, experimenting with their code in a staging environment. After a period of trial and error, the code is then handed over to operations, which then must deploy the code and ensure it’s stable in the production environment. These are separate silos, the first primarily concerned with the journey, the second preparing for the ultimate destination, and each with its own indicators of success.

When things go sideways, devs can point the finger at ops and its handling of deployment, while ops can blame devs for code it delivered. As the teams squabble, delivery dates slip. Management must referee these battles with careful documentation and checklists, but spending time and energy in this manner will not increase a company’s velocity.

Understanding the fundamental differences between dev and ops will help managers see DevOps as its own journey, where incremental changes are needed to merge these two silos into one efficient team. It can be a difficult transition for managers in addition to the members of the dev and ops teams.

DevOps is a journey where all employees must help steer the ship instead of simply following directions handed down from on high. DevOps managers, however, must find new ways to chart the progress of the ship that involves contributions from all team members.

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