Switching to DevOps comes with impressive benefits, as we discussed in our previous blog post, but it is also a great undertaking — one that can seem a bit overwhelming.

You have likely seen businesses around you adopt DevOps and succeed at it, so you know it’s time to catch up and do the same. Here, we are going to share the first step of successfully transitioning by making changes across the culture of your business.

DevOps Culture

Understand employee workflow

Before telling your current team you want them to learn DevOps, or hiring experienced personnel, you need to gain a full understanding of how employees are functioning in their work environments. Move beyond the graphs and diagrams that detail your IT infrastructure. Have conversations with developers and engineers to get their points of views on the day-to-day work environment.

Don’t overlook the basics. Is their internet connection always reliable? Are devices equipped to perform efficient testing? Basic problems hindering employee success must be solved before transitioning to DevOps.

Employee interviews are also a chance to discover the skillsets of team members, and inventory your organization’s gap areas. Having a framework for automated testing without people to write those tests isn’t helpful.

Once you know the amount of investment necessary to reach your DevOps goals, you’ll have insight to how much training your existing workers need and how many new hires already experienced in DevOps you’ll have to add to the team.

Know if employees are willing to change/collaborate

DevOps changes your employees’ typical work days. They’ll engage in frequent communication with people new to them, learn from others, and teach others so the cohesive framework functions. Get a sense of employees’ willingness to shift their everyday routines to incorporate this collaboration. Battling resistance to change will only hinder your DevOps transition.

Assign the right leadership

A cultural change requires a change in leadership, from the top. Leaders are responsible during the transition process to maintain the new “we” mentality that drives DevOps. Doing so means senior leadership must:

  1. Be action-oriented: Prepare the team with goals to reach together.
  2. Explain the “why”: Keep the team motivated with the vision of DevOps — to create faster, low-risk product release cycles.
  3. Act as the team’s safety net: Change itself can make anyone nervous, which is why leadership is needed to guide employees through the DevOps transition with confidence, enough so that they begin to innovate and experiment on their own.
  4. Set a core technology team: Whether new talent or old talent, these figures use their credibility and expertise to lead by example and assist the team through the DevOps transition.
  5. Keep communication open: A great leader facilitates communication, whether through daily stand-up meetings or platforms such as Skype, Slack, or Campfire.

Appoint strong project management

An organized project manager aids leadership by setting and maintaining the shared goals and aligned priorities. The PM’s biggest responsibility is to create a flow across all aspects of the project. He or she will eliminate “silos” developers and engineers are used to working in to create a unified team that communicates constantly and sticks to deadlines.

After your DevOps culture is established, it’s time to take the next steps in the transition process. In our next blog post, we’ll look at the tools and metrics you can use to transition fully to the framework.