Wednesday, November 4, 2015

DevOps Need Collaboration To Succeed As A Practice

#SridharPeddisetty #DevOps #Kanban #Culture #Collaboration #SchneiderCultureModel #DevOpsStrategy #Agile 
“A great team doesn’t mean that they had the smartest people. What made those teams great is that everyone trusted one another. It can be a powerful thing when that magic dynamic exists.” ― Gene Kim, The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
DevOps formulates collaboration of Operations and Engineering teams to achieve continuous delivery by participating together in the entire service delivery lifecycle. DevOps is NOT a role but it is a shift in culture of an organization, which encourages greater communication and collaboration to foster building better quality software more quickly and with better reliability. There are good number of people who agree that DevOps is not a new phenomena and some organizations have been formulating collaboration of Operations and Engineering teams to achieve continuous delivery by participating together for releasing new product or service. However there are good number of organizations who are either warming up to the idea of DevOps and ready to adopt it or going through initial phase of DevOps adoption. It is important for the organizations to understand that "collaboration culture” is key for them to successfully adapt to DevOps. In my earlier post Kanban & DevOps - Forming A Perfect Alliance, I shared how Kanban and DevOps combine together to help bring down the silos between Engineering and Operations teams. 

Why DevOps need collaboration to succeed?

To understand why DevOps need collaboration to succeed, let's understand Schneider Culture Model, which defines four distinct cultures:
  1. Collaboration culture is about working together
  2. Control culture is about getting and keeping control
  3. Competence culture is about being the best
  4. Cultivation culture is about learning and growing with a sense of purpose

In the diagram below, Michael Sahota shared his thoughts on understanding the culture of an organization using Schneider Culture Model. Each of the four cultures are depicted – one in each quadrant with each having a name, descriptive quote, a picture, and some words that characterize that quadrant. 

As can be seen in the diagram, collaboration quadrant includes the words affiliation, synergy, partnership, interaction, trust, diversity and egalitarian to characterize itself while the descriptive quote is “we succeed by working together”. These are the exact characteristics that are needed for DevOps to succeed as a practice in an Organization in which Engineering and Operations teams come together to work with affiliation, synergy, trust as partners by closely interacting with egalitarian philosophy. 
Note that according to Schneider model, no one culture type is considered better than another and same is applicable to DevOps, in which possibly cultural elements from other quadrants (control, cultivation and competence) are applicable to DevOps. Depending on the organization but for DevOps to succeed, definitely the organization needs to have ‘Collaboration’ as the single dominant culture with elements from the other three culture quadrants.
By adapting to the culture of DevOps, an organization is not only focusing on agility but also on reliability by eliminating waste, identifying repeatable steps and automating those steps. Organizations will fail in adapting DevOps if the culture is not breaking down the organizational silos and in which everyone shares the accountability for delivery.


DevOps represents both a technology and a culture change in the organization and the objective of DevOps can be achieved only if the culture of the organization is more collaborative. In other words, DevOps need more of a "collaboration culture” in the organization to succeed as a practice. 
In the comments section, please share your thoughts on what do you think an Organization must do for DevOps to succeed and make a positive impact. 
Previous posts you might be interested in