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Launching a DevOps journey means committing to continuous evolution

There's more to "doing DevOps" than devs and ops trying to get along. You'll need to clarify and reinforce a vision, assemble leadership and build team consensus.

DevOps is becoming very popular, at least according to Google trends, where it's been "up and to the right" for the past five years. I don't foresee it slowing down anytime soon.

This brings about a challenge: DevOps has been an extremely overloaded term, often used for a job title, for describing the aspiration of a collaborative environment between development and operations, or as an adverb such as "doing DevOps."

Before I delve into why a DevOps journey is a continuous evolution instead of a traditional journey with a clear end, I'll present my own concise definition of DevOps:

DevOps is the continuous process of organizational transformation to rapidly bridge the gap between development and operations with a focus on culture, automation, lean, measurement and sharing (CALMS).

A collaborative culture is not created overnight. As teams continue to change, making sure that these core tenets continue to be an area of focus is paramount.

I'm a big fan of Patrick Lencioni's work, and a lot of the ideas in his book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything in Business resonates with me. His take on organizational health serves as a great framework for a DevOps journey. Assembling the correct leadership team that can clearly articulate the vision of "why" is crucial to the success of any endeavor.

It might not be obvious to those onboard the journey from the onset, but there is certainly a need to over-communicate clarity to create better alignment

That team should also be able to create clarity around that vision to start building momentum and gaining consensus. It might not be obvious to those onboard the journey from the onset, but there is certainly a need to over-communicate clarity to create better alignment. The measurement tenet of DevOps can reinforce this clarity, and it will help answer "why" to the entire team.

As more consensus builds, the team's cohesion increases, which creates a nice virtuous cycle.

Properly messaging the fact that DevOps is a continuous evolution of increasing development velocity and productivity instead of a project that has a finish line is a key component of the clarity statement.

Fostering a highly collaborative environment is a great way to ensure that every team member remains aligned. This evolutionary journey drives innovation, as well as both personal and corporate growth. Team members begin to establish a strong sense of belonging and ownership, which continues to increase cohesion and collaboration. As time goes on, this becomes ingrained, and will also facilitate easier integration of new employees into the organization.

This was last published in July 2017

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