DevOps Is All About Changing Organizational Culture

Peter Drucker said it best: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Organizational culture matters. Culture is even more critical when enterprises embark on transformational initiatives like DevOps.

The 2014 State of DevOps Report found that “organizational culture is one of the strongest predictors of both IT performance and overall performance of the organization.” The report found that high-trust organizations encourage better information sharing and smoother collaboration. Culture is the core of DevOps - high-trust firms deployed 30 times more code than low performing peers.

Saugatuck Technology’s recent publication Why DevOps Matters corroborates this finding. Saugatuck interviewed 300 development and IT operations professionals and managers in the study. Key finding: 71% of respondents only have “pockets of IT automation” with no formal DevOps strategy in place. The biggest factor holding back DevOps adoption is "established cultural habits."

Challenges in Implementing DevOps

The report asks IT leaders to break down organizational silos when building a DevOps culture. Here are five best practices from the survey:

  1. Start small. Embrace DevOps with a small engagement. Create a virtual Center of Excellence that will create consistent practices across different initiatives.
  2. Training. Bring in a mix of internal and external trainers to create a shared organizational culture. Training sessions enhance collaboration and trust among IT leadership, Ops, and Dev teams.
  3. Automation. Automation through a DevOps toolset will increase release velocity and enhance organizational maturity.
  4. Measure business results. DevOps teams are most successful when they tie outcomes to broader organizational performance. Take the help of business stakeholders to define success metrics for every project.
  5. Continuous improvement. Culture is never at rest. Constantly check and improve execution at all levels.

Read the report to understand why you need to engineer the right culture before starting your DevOps journey.


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