DevOps culture: 3 ways to strengthen yours in 2019

The transition to DevOps is as much about mindset as skill sets. These tips can help your teams make even more progress
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As we approach 2019 – and DevOps’ 10-year-anniversary – it’s incredible to reflect on how much the industry has progressed. The job market for DevOps engineers is booming, with job postings shooting up 91 percent in the last three years and citing it the most recruited role on its site.

Not surprisingly, it has been difficult for companies to keep up with the demand.

In a DevOps world, where more organizations are working to develop and deploy services at a rapid pace, employees’ responsibilities have completely transformed. Coming from a time when developers, testers, and quality assurance teams had clear-cut, definitive jobs, roles have started to blur. No longer do employees just write code or execute tests; now everyone is responsible for improving customer experiences (CX), enhancing service efficiencies, and decreasing costs.

[ You're probably recruiting for DevOps engineers right now. But should you be? Read The great DevOps engineer title debate. ]

With this change, many organizations have failed to provide their employees with the soft skills they need to successfully execute at all stages of the software delivery lifecycle. The key to success here is teaching your employees that DevOps roles are as much about a change in mindset as they are about new technical skills like coding and testing.

Here are three simple tips to make DevOps culture progress:

1. Schedule regular team meetings and check-ins

When adopting DevOps, perhaps the most important thing for organizations to remember is that the change can and will have an impact on employees across the business. Beyond the technical skills that employees will need to learn and improve upon, such as continuous testing, a culture shift also needs to occur.

Ensure teams are comfortable not only with the work they are producing but also the way in which it is being executed.

As a result, it’s important to ensure teams are comfortable not only with the work they are producing but also the way in which it is being executed. One way to do this is by introducing monthly service health reviews. During these scheduled meetings, teams should review the overall state of each production service and identify their successes and challenges. Teams should also make time to discuss how everyone is feeling about the current software development practices and share feedback on ways to improve them.

While making the change to a DevOps culture isn’t always easy, organizations can take steps to ensure that teams throughout the business are transitioning smoothly. As leaders supply DevOps teams with the tools they need – including the soft skills and shift in mindset – teams are more likely to succeed in their implementations.

[ Want more wisdom for your team? Read also: 7 DevOps lessons learned in 2018. ]

2. Encourage industry conference trips

Every organization has its own unique approach to DevOps implementation, and each is at its own stage of maturity, with some just beginning and others years into its adoption of agile DevOps. Attending industry conferences such as those listed below can provide employees with a holistic picture of the current DevOps landscape and insights into how others are incorporating it into their business model.

Here are some can’t-miss DevOps conferences in the U.S.:

With a diverse range of companies in attendance – big and small, vendor and practitioner – conferences offer a great opportunity for attendees to learn about the latest methodologies, get a glimpse into successful case studies, and network with peers who can show how to improve upon current practices. Conference keynotes, sessions, and classes that review successful DevOps transformations (or any event based on real-life experience and implementations) are a must for those just starting their DevOps journeys.

3. Establish a book club

Never underestimate the power of a good book. It may seem like a niche subject, but there are hundreds of books on DevOps, covering everything from the basics to the famous case studies of Etsy, Netflix, and everything else in between.

[ Don't stop at DevOps. Broaden your whole skill set: Read 10 books to make you a stronger leader. ]

Establishing a book club is a great way to get team members thinking about DevOps. Not only will it help them better understand the practice, but it also offers a different way of learning; one in which they can come together as a team to discuss findings outside of the typical work/meeting environment.

Here are some favorites – both new and old:

Businesses looking to adopt DevOps practices must assimilate the approach into their culture, people, and processes to become a true DevOps organization in the new year. By investing in opportunities such as conferences and book clubs, employees can better learn the soft skills – and technical ones – that they need to succeed.

[ Are you a DevOps job seeker or a hiring manager? Get The Enterprisers Project's free eBook: The Ultimate DevOps Hiring Guide. ]

Eran Kinsbruner is Chief Evangelist and Product Manager at Perfecto by Perforce.