In part 1 of this 4-part blog, I discussed your tool requirements. In part 2 of this blog I discussed your procurement process and I mentioned key stakeholders. Here in part 3 of this blog I elaborate on key stakeholders required to make tool purchases.
DevOps is about breaking down silos, improving collaboration, and working faster, smarter, better, etc. What’s the one basic thing that this requires? …CHANGE! The hardest thing to do within an organization is not spinning up new tools or technology. It’s not meeting a deadline or even onboarding new infrastructure. The hardest thing to do within an organization is to invoke change, plain and simple. Thus, to invoke real change, you need to have leadership from your technical champion and executive sponsor.
#3 Who is your organization’s executive sponsor and technology champion for this new tool? Who is “that guy” that you need to watch out for?
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These days there are many tools/ways to solve a technology problem (insert cliché here). Who is your senior technical architect who can confidently say that all of the possibilities have been measured and the right decision has been made based upon all of your variables? This person should be pivotal in writing your tool requirements (see blog part 1). This person should be instrumental in making your tool decision. This person should be able to confidently articulate to the organization why the technical choice was made.
Over the years, working at many different organizations under the DevOps umbrella, I’ve seen time and time again that the biggest problem within an organization, aside from plain old change, is “That Guy.” There is always That Guy (or that group) who has done the development thing or the operations thing FOREVER within an organization. What they do in their mind works just fine for them. They might pay you lip service that they are willing to change, but as soon as you turn your back on them they go back to what they know, or worse, they try to undermine what your trying to do.
You need a clearly defined technology champion AND executive sponsor to hold people accountable to adopt new tools and processes. These stakeholders must be true leaders within an organization. The more the sponsor and champion are involved, beating the drum, incentivizing and glorifying successful work, the better. That Guy will kick and scream in the car the whole way to the destination unless mom and dad are there to calm him down with a juice box and give him a high-five when he gets out of the car for being such a good passenger.
To that last point, what is the juice box for your organization? The reality is that people are motivated by incentives. If I have no incentive to change and in my mind things are working just fine, then why would I change? Monetary incentives typically work well, but there are other forms of incentives too. People also need to be held accountable. If someone isn’t getting on board with the new change, is the technical champion or executive sponsor holding that person accountable?
Since change is the hardest thing to make happen within an organization, having a strong technical champion and executive sponsor who incentivizes the team and holds the team accountable is a huge key to success.
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