DevOps Can Be Stressful

Stress. It’s a killer. We all recognize that some stress is good, but too much causes significant problems. However, if we can manage that stress, then results can be exceptional, whether that means your football team handles the stress of the occasion and wins the final, or your DevOps project team delivers on-time and to budget.

How does stress enter the DevOps equation? Well the answer is that DevOps is a change, and indeed is a significant change, in how you deliver projects. Not only that, but it is a change that affects how everyone works, from the Project Manager, right through to the person making sure the application is running every morning. How your organization copes with the stress that this change brings will, in large part, determine whether you become a successful DevOps shop or not. And, if you’re a successful DevOps shop, your business will benefit significantly and that, at the end of the day, is what IT is all about.

As a Solutions business that engages with clients ‘from the outside’, we can often detach ourselves from the internal politics of an organization, and that means we can observe the people in that organization in an objective fashion. Very often, we can divide people into three principal types; The Ostriches, The Change Junkies, and The Naysayers. Each type needs to be handled differently, and frankly, if your company’s management style is dictatorial, then DevOps is not going to be a success for you.

So, how do you manage each type, and how do you develop that winning DevOps team? First of all, we would say “Get rid of the myths”. DevOps does not mean NoOps, nor does it mean Dev guys are going to become very familiar with all-night sessions. What DevOps does mean is that, for everyone, new skills are going to be needed, new opportunities are going to be presented, and change – positive change – is inevitable.

ostrichIf we are to deal with the Ostrich first; These are the people who say “we’ve always done things this way”, and who do not see how a new way could possibly be better. They have to be led gently into any new world, maybe by working on a small project first, maybe by training, maybe simply by being helped to make the discovery themselves. After all, the best idea is one you have thought of yourself!

 

one_step_at_at_timeThe Change Junkies are different. They     need to be slowed down a little. You are trying to change a culture, and you can only do that by changing behaviour – one step at a time.

 

 

listen-20110825-111839The Naysayers are different again. The problem here is that if some people do not adapt to change, change will simply pass them by and leave them behind. In an ideal world, you help the Naysayers along, usually by leading by example, but – and here’s the rub – if they don’t change then let them be passed by. Attrition is normal in any team.

I hope you found this blog useful. Daysha doesn’t do ‘change management’ so this was an attempt to round up our learnings on ‘culture’ change as we have seen it in our DevOps journey with various clients.

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