5 Tips to Evangelize DevOps in Your Company
Change is a-comin', and if you and your team can't convince the right people to get behind you, you might get left behind.
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While the DevOps movement has continued to see adoption across organizations of all sizes, it can still be difficult to initiate the changes needed to roll out DevOps. If you are in the exciting position of starting a DevOps initiative, these 5 tips will help you evangelize it to your company.
Know Your Audience
Make it a top priority to identify your different audiences. You can do this by gathering feedback from all affected by DevOps initiatives. Determine their pain points and drivers, then optimize your message for each of your audiences.
For example, more technical audiences will want a proof of concept so they can see it in action. An executive audience will want a use case presentation outlining high-level benefits and spreadsheets of ROI calculations.
You need all affected or involved in DevOps to buy-in. This is especially true of executives. Support from the top is critical, so speaking to them in their language is a must.
Expect and Embrace Resistance
If you have ever tried to roll out a new program, you know a simple truth: most people do not like change. As you identify your audiences, you will likely uncover where pockets of resistance reside. Do not get discouraged. Yes, you are excited, and your slides are impeccable, yet you will still encounter resistance. It is part of the process.
Make sure detractors feel heard, and be open to their ideas. Resistance will make you assess each element carefully, sometimes resulting in a more refined plan. Expect it and embrace it.
Focus on Results
Resistance will happen, and positive results are the best tool to get past it. Mirco Hering, Principal Director of DevOps and Agile for APAC, said:
“Nothing sells better than results. Don’t focus on vanity projects to showcase Continuous Delivery or any other concept; focus on getting results. Use the full toolbelt of Lean, Agile and DevOps practices to achieve some real results and then leverage them to convince more and more people of your alternative way of getting things done.”
Identify small scope, but real pain points that can be addressed quickly. Get quick, positive results. Then use the momentum to tackle more complex issues. Building goodwill with a few small positive results will pay off big in the end.
Be Consistent in Communication
Establish a pattern of consistent communication about your positive results around the transition to DevOps. The form of communication matters less than being consistent. An internal blog post, Slack message, Confluence page: whatever fits your organization.
The key is to establish a rhythm. It is very easy for people to get excited about a result, then slip back into the status quo. Regular updates on new exciting results, delivered consistently, combats this habit.
Choose Tools Carefully
Technology changes fast. We all know this. For a fundamental function like DevOps, picking tools that will meet your needs and be around for years is critical. It is all too easy to be wooed by the cool new open-source hotness with the awesome uni-lama mascot for continuous delivery. Will it still be actively maintained in 18 months?
Tools can also incite much debate (Grunt v. Gulp. v. Webpack anyone?). That is why tools are last on the list. They are important, but should come after consistent communication of audience-specific messages to minimize resistance.
DevOps has the power to transform how your company operates, and getting started is just the first step on the journey. Hope these tips help get you started effectively.
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