Mercedes-Benz launched its new Vision 6 concept car at the Paris Motor Show recently, packed with digital innovation. The car’s designer basked in the limelight, being congratulated by the crowds for a job well done. The backroom guys, meanwhile — the ones who masterminded the electric motors, the self-driving capability, and other ideas — were the anonymous ones. No credit from the crowd for their job well done.
Does that remind you of Operations? Too often, it’s the developers who get the credit for the new service created in weeks and launched in even less time. They are the heroes of the hour. Operations? Well, they just make sure the lights don’t flicker, don’t they?
Well, no. If developers are the shape of a car, then operations is the engine, the chassis, the powertrain, and just about everything else. Operations deserve more recognition, more praise, more acclaim. It’s time they were championed. And it starts here, with six things your Ops team would desperately like to hear you say.
1. “Thank you for building a battle-tested environment.”
No one gets praise when the operational environment works well. When it falters, though, that’s when the finger-pointing starts. Your Ops teams work day and night to maintain an environment that stays running every day and every night of the year. Their skills, knowledge, and experience make certain the environment your organization relies on is robust, reliable, and resilient. Let this be a reminder to thank them.
2. “You know what, let’s not throw out our processes just because a hot new trend tells us to.”
Containers may be all the rage right now, but battle-tested and production-ready they are not. Ops people realize that new platforms require major changes not just to the technology, but also to the underlying processes. They carry a significant degree of hidden risks around integration, production readiness, security, and robustness. Change happens when change needs to happen. Maybe there is more than a grain of wisdom in not throwing out current processes and replace them with shiny new solutions. Evolution, not revolution, is the Operations mantra, and maybe it should be respected by more than just Operations.
3. “We need your help thinking about the digitization of our business.”
Successful DevOps is not the combining of developer and Operations responsibilities. Rather, DevOps done right is a collaboration between developers and Operations. Developers talk incessantly about the features of the new service and how it will work. But Operations is just as important in that discussion. Dip your toe in their vast pool of knowledge, or risk diminishing your digital success.
4. “Tell me more about the tools you’re excited about.”
Too often, Operations is told to use tools that weren’t built for them. They are handed developer tools and asked to make them work. Developers meanwhile do get to choose whatever they want. Shouldn’t we be asking what Operations wants, too? The ultimate goal is to deliver high-quality new services faster. If Operations isn’t given the tools—especially the automation tools—they prefer to use, those shiny new services won’t come to market as quickly as they should.
5. “What can I do to help you automate more of your processes?”
Sometimes Operations gets a bad rap for not automating enough of their work, but it’s not fair. We all want services delivered more quickly. Operations often aren’t asked what can be done to help them achieve their goals. People are confused. It’s not that Operations is opposed to or speed, they just won’t do those thing if they decrease robustness and resilience. So go ahead, ask them: “What can be done to automate more of your processes?” The answer might surprise you.
6. “You’re rock stars, too.”
Developers are often the kingpins of IT. If their code breaks, it’s OK. However, if Operations messes up, well, it’s time to get the curriculum vitae out. That’s so unfair. Organizations simply couldn’t function and succeed without the vision and insight offered by Operations. Sometimes a little recognition goes a long way.
There you have it. Six ways to make Operations feel more appreciated. Next time you see us, try out one of these statements. Better still, how about buying us one of those new Mercedes-Benz concept cars?
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