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Change Agents for DevOps

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Being an effective change agent is something you may need to do. Change agents are able to take the people leg of the stool and make them effective. Frequently, with DevOps, we focus on technical metrics. We talk about things like cycle time, we talk about things like time to mitigate, we talk about time to detect, and so forth. But these measures don’t necessarily carry through to management concerns. Principles like M/M/1 infinity show you that if you just optimise for utilisation, you have a counterproductive approach to cost. At the same time, principles of accelerating the release pipeline, and improving the automation, and guarding against more failures with better telemetry and more robust testing show you that you can accelerate the process.
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You can deliver more value. And in the process, you will, in fact, achieve a great cost reduction. Making these points to management is a key issue in many organisations, and being able to tie back what you’re doing technically to what the results are for the business is a key thing you may need to do. That means that you take the people, and you develop process experiments that prove the principles and prove that the results are there for the intended business results. That use of process, in a contained way, again, needs to be tied to the right kind of telemetry that lets you demonstrate the business impact. Good change agents do that.

So far, in this course, you have gained an understanding of DevOps. You explored the basics of DevOps and the philosophies and practices of DevOps and discovered how DevOps supports compliance and security. Let’s look at adopting DevOps. In this step, you will learn how you can encourage your organisation to implement and adopt DevOps practices.

Making the cultural shift to DevOps is difficult. You can be an effective change agent for your organisation to successfully guide this shift by understanding the business problems and connecting the technical measures that will solve them and by tracking metrics to align with suitable business results.

For example, when attempting to convince your business stakeholders to automate deployments, instead of starting the conversation by saying, ‘We want to automate our release pipeline’, try leading with the following:

“By focusing on our deployment speed, we will have a faster time to mitigate issues and faster time to value. Doing this allows us to work in small batches so that we can test for usage and get validated learnings out of every deployment. It’s typical that requirements increase business value about one-third of the time, decrease business value about one-third of the time, and make no difference a third of the time. We want to fail fast on the ineffective two thirds, and do more of the one third that generates improvements. With DevOps, we can work faster to know that we’re developing the right features or pivot if necessary. Ultimately, we can improve and adapt based on being constantly informed by data.”

Drawing the connection between how your organisation performs some action and why has to be first and foremost can help get buy-in. If you are able to tie in the business strategy with technical implementations, you’ll likely be able to overcome most objections to DevOps.

In the next step, we will look at a case study where the Microsoft Developer Division implemented a DevOps practice.

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Microsoft Future Ready: Fundamentals of DevOps and Azure Pipeline

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