Scaling the DevOps Transformation

Value is seen soon after starting a DevOps transformation. But after those initial, often isolated successes, the challenge becomes how to spread DevOps through an entire organization to achieve a total DevOps transformation. Most high-performing DevOps organizations who have been successful have favored “opt in” participation over mandated adoption, using a “pull” approach to change rather than a “push.” 

Share and Celebrate Success 

DevOps is all about people, and people like to share. Making DevOps success visible allows early adopters to share their knowledge, and it allows potential allies to find them. It also allows the discussion about DevOps to center around practical, real-world results instead of just opinion. Many organizations host internal “DevOps Days,” recreating the popular community events as internal tech conferences. Others facilitate cross-team sharing with chat rooms, wikis, or other knowledge sharing tools. 

Standardize When Appropriate 

DevOps teams should feel empowered to experiment and find what works best for them, and that recipe for success may differ from team to team within an organization. But a certain degree of standardization—specifically when it comes to tools—can increase the efficiency of scaling DevOps throughout an enterprise. This allows a more efficient investment in infrastructure and improved knowledge sharing. And when teams find it easy to adopt common services (e.g., CI/CD, analytics, self-service portal[s], and code repository) they offer less pushback to adopting those standardized tools and processes. 

DevOps for Everyone 

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Making software is a technical activity, but not everyone on a DevOps team is technical. Some organizations adopt tools that appeal to technical users, for example, tools that represent every piece of the CD pipeline as a code artifact. This can make DevOps difficult to scale, since all participants require high-cost coding skills, and maintaining those code artifacts is a task that often falls through the cracks. Instead, successful DevOps teams look to a dual-mode approach that combines low-code/no-code tools for less technical team members with other code-centric approaches that may be preferred by engineers. This flexibility ensures a “bigger umbrella” for a DevOps team and supports more rapid scaling. 

Tl;dr 

  • DevOps is a transformation involving people, so people are the most effective tools to spread its adoption. 
  • Pull works better than push for spreading DevOps. 
  • Teams need freedom to experiment with what works best for them, but some standardization—particularly around tools—can reduce cost and complexity in organization-wide efforts. 
  • DevOps teams combine both technical and non-technical members, so they can only scale if the tools they use are appropriate for all skill levels. 

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