Why DevOps is for everyone, not just a single team

DevOps doesn’t care what industry your company operates in, what department you sit in, or what title you have. That’s because DevOps isn’t for just one industry, just one team or even just one person. Collaboration and communication, core tenets of DevOps, are critical to building and maintaining a company equipped to meet modern customer needs for efficiency and speed.

Jennifer Davis, senior software engineer here at Chef and co-author of the book, Effective DevOps: Building a Culture of Collaborative, Affinity, and Tooling at Scale, helps us break down what it is about DevOps that’s so beneficial for such a wide variety of stakeholders.

Why industry doesn’t matter

Building relationships — both across an organization and within a specific community — is key, no matter what industry you operate within.

“The connections that we build allow us to shorten the time that it takes for us to get work done, reduce communication barriers, and build trust based on regard,” Davis says.

What company doesn’t want to shorten time for project completion and increase productivity?

Why department doesn’t matter

DevOps shouldn’t be regulated to just one team, by definition. Security, marketing, legal and sales can all be part of a successful DevOps transformation. When other teams are included, you can see automation support contracts and compliance, for example, Davis shares.

“When the organization as a whole believes that DevOps efforts are owned by one team, or by only development and operations employees, the effort suffers, Davis said” to Alison DeNisco in a recent article on 5 DevOps obstacles to overcome.

Working with other departments helps everyone understand the context of work being completed, and helps minimize unplanned or unnecessary work, Davis adds.

Why hierarchy doesn’t matter

DevOps is a professional and cultural movement that stresses the iterative efforts to break down information silos, monitor relationships and repair when misunderstandings arise between teams in an organization, according to Davis.

“Often, senior folks are discouraged from this, and implicitly encouraged to become the single point of failures on the team, as they can get the work done quicker than the new folks,” Davis said. When an individual is seen as a blocker—someone who you can’t do a particular task without—they are effectively the single point of failure of the service, she added during her conversation with DeNisco.

But DevOps should be embraced by everyone. It needs support at a leadership level as executives drive culture for an organization. However, managers and senior individuals must be given the time and opportunity to mentor junior staff, as that’s a critical component to successful communication and completion of projects.

Spending time building the knowledge and skills of all individuals on a team adds value to the organization, Davis said. “One of the five indicators of overall employee happiness is the opportunity to learn,” she added. “Happy employees build better products leading to better quality and happier customers.”

If you want to drive change in your organization, you need to empower the whole team to be a part of that change transformation.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how to implement DevOps in your organization, join us in Austin May 22-24 for ChefConf 2017! There’s still time to register.

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Jamie Bright

Former Chef employee