Doing DevOps takes leadership

lan625 doing devop takes leadership

Put “DevOps” and “Leadership” into your favourite search engine and you’ll very quickly discover that the move to embrace DevOps poses some significant non-technical challenges from IT management.

One article sums it up: "Take it from IT leaders who have been there: Adopting a DevOps model will require strong leadership, exceptional people skills, a high tolerance for failure and financial savvy.”

Another puts it thus: “Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organisations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organisations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership.”

It’s not a problem with DevOps per se. It’s just that DevOps represents a pretty major change in the way IT is run and managed, and the successful implementation of any major change requires leadership.

There are many definitions of DevOps but in essence it’s a way of developing software that is much more iterative and that relies much more on communication and collaboration between all involved, with frequent testing and feedback, than traditional software development methodologies.

The article continues: “As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction of desired change.”

A third commentary on the challenges of DevOps observes: “DevOps is hard to implement successfully. It’s technically challenging.

It represents sweeping and sustained change to the IT organisation in the way it thinks about the work it does. It requires the business to adjust the way it operates to coincide with IT’s new way of working. It requires time, focus and investment.”

According to a blog post from Stacey Louie, CEO of Bratton & Company, an Agile transformation consultancy based in Silicon Valley, successful implementation of DevOps “requires disruptive leadership,” and to help enable that success he identifies “Three
leadership ‘musts’ for DevOps.”Leaders, including the CTO and the CEO, must work together to make DevOps a strategic priority.
Organisational design must be focused on agile value delivery;

Product planning and DevOps planning must be synchronised.

However, this top down approach to DevOps implementation is not the only possible avenue. As this article observes, “DevOps can be driven as a grassroots movement from the bottom or as a management directive from the top.” It claims: “Regardless of how DevOps starts or where it's being driven from, the secret to long term success is buy-in and support from the leadership at the top of the organisation.”

We’ll let that article have the last word on the subject. “No matter where the spark for DevOps starts or which role drives the effort, what's important is that all parties embrace the concept, that everyone involved is accountable for the outcome, and that with that responsibility comes the freedom and empowerment to do something about it.”

This view seems to dispense with the need for leadership from the top. However the development of that state of affairs is unlikely to be achieved without effective leadership.{loadposition lanrex

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