Over the last several weeks, as we internally have discussed the concepts and techniques of DevOps (we consider ourselves a DevOps oriented team), several of our “younger’ team members made a comment that went something like “but this is what we always do, what is different”. And they weren’t just referring to our own internal practice, but to their previous experiences as well. At first, I thought – “don’t you get it?” But it quickly dawned on me that we were operating under a completely different point of reference.
I’m one of those old guys that cut his teeth in the large corporate world. In those days, we were always trying to come up with solutions that would increase delivery throughput. Adding folks, improving procedures, cross functional team meetings – you name it, looking for ways to build systems quicker and better. But, we were naturally operating in our SILOs, with the typical allegiance that comes from the SILO boundaries. We genuinely would try to do better – but we still operated within the cultural behavior of primary allegiance to our respective department. Meaning truly effective teaming was difficult – because deeply embedded in our individual psyche was the priority to please our department (and bosses), over meeting particular business objectives.
So back to our team members comments. It struck me that their approach was already more collaborative based on their experiences. They haven’t been “trained” in the old silo behavior. This generation of technologists expect to reach across the aile….in fact, based on what I have observed, I’m not sure if they even recognize those aisles exist. Although they understand the basic premise of DevOps, many have not lived through the departmental barriers – so in a way they haven’t been “corrupted”. Consequently, from what I have observed, they seem to be extremely focused on meeting business objectives – and working together to make that happen is a very natural behavior.
Of course ultimate DEVOPS is now possible due to many of the software and tool advances, whether its tools for development, test automation or IT infrastructure management. But, in my mind, the key contributing factor is having the right “attitude” within the team – which translates to a high level of collaborative behavior.
What is encouraging to me is that it appears members of our team (which is comprised of many different global locations), not only are willing to be more collaborative, but EXPECT it and FLOURISH from this approach.
I think this collaboration “spirit” is the most important factor to realizing the promise of DEVOPS. The time is right, and it is good news for all of us.