Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Stackify Blog

Article

Leading a DevOps Transformation: Challenges

Common DevOps Leadership Challenges

We recently kicked off our 2017 season of our Continuous Discussions (#c9d9) video podcast with an episode featuring a panel of speakers from DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES16), discussing Leading Change the key theme for the conference this past year.

Our expert panel included: Nicole Forsgren, CEO and chief scientist at DORA; Paula Thrasher, director of Digital Services at CSRA; Pauly Comtois, VP at Hearst; Ross Clanton, DevOps Fellow at Verizon; Steve Mayner, Agile coach, mentor, thought leader and strategist; and, our very own Anders Wallgren and Sam Fell.

During the episode, panelists highlighted common challenges in aligning teams, managers and executives around a DevOps culture and proven patterns for success in leading a DevOps transformation in large organizations.

The hour-long discussion – with some of the best DevOps mind in the industry – was PACKED with great insights and best practices.

In the first part of this two-part blog series, we highlight the challenges that the panelists discussed. Stay tuned for the second part, where we cover the patterns for success they shared with us.

Key Takeaways from Continuous Discussions (#c9d9) Episode 60: Leading Change

Part 1: Challenges

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/common-devops-leadership-ch... 294w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/common-devops-leadership-ch... 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/common-devops-leadership-ch... 230w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/common-devops-leadership-ch... 380w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/common-devops-leadership-ch... 78w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/common-devops-leadership-ch... 186w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/common-devops-leadership-ch... 372w" height="408" width="400" alt="common-devops-leadership-challenges" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/common-devops-leadership-challenges.jpg" class="wp-image-28729 alignnone" />

Whether you're a large or small org you need specialists - but that doesn't mean you can't collaborate, per @paula_thrasher

 

"Change is occurring at such velocity that we are finding it difficult to keep communication current" - @paulycomtois @Hearst

 

 

Simplify the people side of the  transformation so you can help a large scale org go through that level of change @RossClanton

 

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/nicole-fergurson-c9d9-150x1... 150w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/nicole-fergurson-c9d9-115x1... 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/nicole-fergurson-c9d9-80x80... 80w" height="89" width="90" alt="nicole-fergurson-c9d9" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/nicole-fergurson-c9d9.png" class="alignleft wp-image-28344" />Communication is a major challenge Forsgren has seen in her research:  “A lot of the challenges that I see when people are trying to lead change in organizations is around communication. How can we get everyone on board? How can we help everyone see where it is we’re trying to go and where we are now? How do we communicate that? How do we motivate everyone? Essentially, it still comes down to needing to get a bunch of people to believe in the same mission and the same goal, and want to be a part of that team and align themselves to that same goal.

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/pauly-comtois-c9d9-does16-d... 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/pauly-comtois-c9d9-does16-d... 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="pauly-comtois-c9d9-does16-devops-podcast" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/pauly-comtois-c9d9-does16-devops-podcast.jpg" class="wp-image-26801 alignleft" />Comtois discusses the challenges his teams have been facing at Hearst: “A big challenge for us is that change is occurring at such velocity that we’re finding it difficult to keep communication current. We are trying to help teams move away from that classic written documentation method of communication, that “Sunk Cost Fallacy” of holding on to the SharePoint server as the single source of truth just because of the sheer volume of content in it. You still document what needs to be documented, of course. But, it’s been a huge time suck for us. It’s been wonderful to get that time back and say, ‘Oh yeah, if we just talk to each other, we sit together, use Slack every day, use Bots to automate away all of the ancillary stuff that would have eaten hours out of every day.’ That’s been great for us in building momentum.”

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/sam-fell-80x80.jpg 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="sam-fell" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/sam-fell.jpg" class="alignleft wp-image-24863" />Treating your pipeline like a product is crucial but requires some work, explains Fell: “When you think about your pipeline, what you use to deliver your product – is in itself a product. You should have a list of things that you want to improve in your pipeline, you should be measuring it, you should be understanding what works, what doesn’t work. It is a very critical part of your application. If you don’t ship, no matter how much work you do on the front end, no one’s going to see it.”

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-po... 150w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-po... 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-po... 179w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-po... 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-podcast" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-podcast.jpg" class="wp-image-28475 alignleft" />Clanton says that the constant changes happening in the industry are particularly challenging to keep up with: “I think one thing that’s increasingly challenging is the number of change programs, and the number of things that are changing in the industry right now, and how that’s all infusing. You’ve got this massive move to Cloud. You’ve got the way roles and responsibilities change for individual product or development teams – they have to secure their stuff, they have to run their stuff. It isn’t just about writing code and passing it onto the next person in the queue. You’ve got the cultural transformation that’s associated with moving towards DevOps and Agile, and I think it can be overwhelming for an organization to deal with all of that together.”

Wallgrenhttp://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/anders-wallgren-c9d9-80x80.png 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="anders-wallgren-c9d9" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/anders-wallgren-c9d9.png" class="alignleft wp-image-24031" /> mentions that culture change is the biggest challenge he sees in large organizations: “It’s so easy to get stuck in that sort of cargo-cult mentality. ‘We do stand-ups, therefore we’re Agile.’ ‘We do stuff in the Cloud, therefore we’re DevOps.’ We say things like this and don’t really focus on the things that cause change, and help change become permanent. We’re stuck. The most common mode of failure I typically see is cultural failure, or failure to adapt the culture.”

Thrasherhttp://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/paula-thrasher-150x150.png 150w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/paula-thrasher-115x115.png 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/paula-thrasher-80x80.png 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="paula-thrasher" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/paula-thrasher.png" class="alignleft wp-image-27524" /> talks about the struggles of collaboration in large organizations: “We have to have the great collaboration tools and the great practices around collaboration. When you’re in a large organizations you need specialists – you won’t get away from people that have specialized expertise. Just because you have all those organizational groups doesn’t mean you can’t collaborate. That’s where we are really trying to spend our energy is in organizing the collaborative teams.”

 

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/stephen-mayner-79x80.png 79w" height="91" width="90" alt="stephen-mayner" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/stephen-mayner.png" class="wp-image-27150 alignleft" />Getting leaders to change their mindset from delegator to student is particularly challenging, explains Mayner: “When it comes to driving to a different culture, like a DevOps implementation, this cannot be delegated. You have to know what it is that you must do. That means you have to be a student first. You have to understand it. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be writing Chef scripts. But, it means you have to understand what’s different about where it is we’re trying to go from where it is that we’ve come, and you’ve got to be the chief cheerleader. You’ve got to exemplify the mindset change, the behavior change. You’ve got to show that you’re in the fight with everybody else, that you’re right there, as a servant leader, a transformation leader. You need the understanding for what you can do with the leverage you have, to be able to support, enable and empower everybody that’s fighting, day in, day out, trying to drive this change across the organization. Which means you’ve got to be authentic, you’ve got to set the example first.”

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/nicole-fergurson-c9d9-150x1... 150w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/nicole-fergurson-c9d9-115x1... 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/nicole-fergurson-c9d9-80x80... 80w" height="89" width="90" alt="nicole-fergurson-c9d9" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/nicole-fergurson-c9d9.png" class="alignleft wp-image-28344" />Another challenge Forsgren points out is that people can only be motivated by themselves: “My background is also actually in Knowledge Management and Motivation Research. The key is we can’t motivate other people; we have to help them motivate themselves. All of the motivation research shows that everyone really has to motivate themselves. So as a leader, and even as someone who’s a team member or individual contributors and practitioners, we need to ask ‘How can we help our fellow practitioners buy in? How can we help everyone else understand the greater goal, the greater mission, so that everyone can have that drive from within?’”

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/pauly-comtois-c9d9-does16-d... 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/pauly-comtois-c9d9-does16-d... 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="pauly-comtois-c9d9-does16-devops-podcast" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/pauly-comtois-c9d9-does16-devops-podcast.jpg" class="wp-image-26801 alignleft" />Comtois on the misconceptions of DevOps: “I have found a lot of misconstrued notions on what DevOps is, and how fast you do it. It’s not an off -the-shelf software package you install that fixes all of your problems overnight, or even in a year. The patterns and culture that you have in your organization have taken years to develop. Changing that doesn’t happen overnight.”

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-po... 150w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-po... 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-po... 179w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-po... 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-podcast" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/ross-clanton-c9d9-devops-podcast.jpg" class="wp-image-28475 alignleft" />Combating resistance to change is another challenge, per Clanton: “I think the challenge is figuring out how to simplify the people side of the transformation – the skills and practices, the culture, the operating model, and how you think about your teams so that you can help a large scale organization go through that level of change. I think that’s probably one of the hardest things I’m working through right now. I also think figuring out how to get inertia. You’ve got to figure out how to continually energize the masses, the people that are passionate about change, while you’re continuing to fight the change battle at the same time.”

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/stephen-mayner-79x80.png 79w" height="91" width="90" alt="stephen-mayner" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/stephen-mayner.png" class="wp-image-27150 alignleft" />There are tendencies to rule out the necessity of leaders and managers, but Mayner says that shouldn’t be so: “In our Agile and DevOps circles there’s a spirit of self-organizing and self-managing, which is all fine. However, there’s often a too strong of a pendulum swing to the other side that we have seen in some circles. We hear, ‘We don’t need managers. We don’t need leaders. We’ll just let teams do it. You guys just get out of the way.’ Well, when you’re running multi-billion dollar global organizations it just doesn’t work that way. We need leaders. We need managers. They play a very critical role in a transformation, like a move to DevOps.”

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/anders-wallgren-c9d9-80x80.png 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="anders-wallgren-c9d9" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/anders-wallgren-c9d9.png" class="alignleft wp-image-24031" />Undergoing a transformation while having to continue business as usual is a major challenge, per Wallgren: “A syndrome that I see quite a lot is the ‘I’m too busy drowning to learn how to swim’. You’re not going to stop the clock while we do this transformation. Challenges continue, competition increases and cost has to be controlled. That seems to be a problem in the trenches, but, I think that’s more of a universal problem all up and down the chain. It is definitely a problem of, ‘How do we change the tires on the car while we’re driving on the freeway?’”

http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/paula-thrasher-150x150.png 150w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/paula-thrasher-115x115.png 115w, http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/paula-thrasher-80x80.png 80w" height="90" width="90" alt="paula-thrasher" src="http://electric-cloud.com/wp-content/uploads/paula-thrasher.png" class="alignleft wp-image-27524" />Change causes anxiety, which is a major threat to a DevOps transformation according to Thrasher: “We talk about having an impetus for change. Which is usually an industry crisis, merger, or something like that. Something happens that causes management to say, ‘Oh no, we need to do the DevOps.’ The problem now is that you’ve created anxiety. Most people don’t like change. There is a population of people that like novelty, but the majority of the population does not like novelty, they like predictability. Novelty is anxiety producing. There’s this presumption that when you have novelty you have fight or flight. However, there’s actually three things: fight, flight, or freeze. I think what happens in a lot of our organizations is freeze. Very few people react with ‘Okay, crisis. Let’s go get it!’ The more common response, I believe, is  that people freeze.”

So, How do we tackle these challenges?

Stay tuned for next week when we share the tips and patterns our panelists discussed for successfully leading a DevOps change.

In the meantime, you could watch the video of the episode to hear it from the horses’ mouths:

Watch the full episode:


Want more Continuous Discussions (#c9d9)?

We hold our #c9d9 podcast every other Tuesday at 10 a.m. PST. Each episode features expert panelists talking about DevOps, Continuous Delivery, Agile and more.

Check out all past episodes and panelists here.

More Stories By Anders Wallgren

Anders Wallgren is Chief Technology Officer of Electric Cloud. Anders brings with him over 25 years of in-depth experience designing and building commercial software. Prior to joining Electric Cloud, Anders held executive positions at Aceva, Archistra, and Impresse. Anders also held management positions at Macromedia (MACR), Common Ground Software and Verity (VRTY), where he played critical technical leadership roles in delivering award winning technologies such as Macromedia’s Director 7 and various Shockwave products.

@ThingsExpo Stories
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...