So what are the six patterns you need to succeed at DevOps?

1. A Real Executive Sponsor

Proper sponsorship and on-going support is key, it is the single most important factor in your success. Without an actively engaged senior leader you will fail. Your sponsor should have cross-departmental responsibility i.e. owns the business service and the IT functions that it uses. They are part of the team and should be engaged continuously as part of the decision-making process and measuring success.

2. A Culture of Continuous Improvement

We’ve had this term ringing in our ears for years. Continuous Improvement is the heart of ITIL & 6Sigma. Yet ITIL & 6Sigma are constrained – we need something holistic and something that is measurable. With DevOps and the body of experience we have acquired we now have the tools and experience to measure the effectiveness of your project, the management regime it uses, the quality of the software and the efficiency of operations. Not only can we measure these but we can also work out the right triggers to change things now.

DevOps is practical – not an abstract theory and it is core to your Continuous Improvement process.

3. The Scientific Method

Developers and Administrators have to adopt the principles that make manufacturing work. When building systems we start with a requirement, develop a story, build something, test it, analyse the results, change variables to see what impact it has on results. In a DevOps world it is essential to capture and analyse data. The purpose of automating and adopting build systems is to create a repeatable process. With comprehensive automation and sensitive instrumentation it becomes possible to make change to test a hypothesis and measure impact. Measure everything. Test Everything. Make sensitive alterations and measure the impact.

4. A Drive to Standardisation

I have long argued that automation in the cloud is easy, in a virtual world it is not too hard and with physical it depends….The drive to standardise is advanced and should be within reach of all organisations. The balance is working out what to standardise, how to make standards extensible and what to allow some level of creative license. I truly hope we have reached the point where the argument to standardise is won.

5. Investment in…

How often do we hear that our biggest investment is our people? Train them, give them responsibility, form high performance teams. Encourage your top performers to engage in community activities, share their thoughts and contribute to non-IT projects will help them to develop better skills and add value to the business. Avoid the superhero culture at all costs. Find the ‘rose-tinted sceptic’ and test their metal. When they say ‘we can do this better’ test what that means and how they would tackle the problem; qualify this further by understanding how they would measure their changes and how they would take the team with them. Then give them rope!

6. Supplier & Vendor Management

Outsourcing and off-shoring have been of short-term benefit and they are not going away quickly, yet I rarely visit an organisation where there is not an acknowledged cost. If you are in a position where you rely on outsourcing or off-shoring align yourself and your supplier more effectively. Manage your suppliers and define the ‘template’ that they must deliver to. Tools, processes, quality and acceptance are all things that you own and should enforce on your supplier. A good partner will embrace a relationship where the client explains precisely what is needed and develops a ‘technical’ contract that helps them to deliver more quickly.

It’s a win win…

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