- The value of small, iterative changes – Gene pulls a story from Steven Spear and H.Kent Bowen’s article “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System” to discuss how Toyota was managing 60 line-side changes a day where other manufacturers could only manage a couple. Gene relates this to the shock and awe metrics reported by companies like Amazon in the 2010s, who were delivering thousands of software deployments a day (where traditional IT delivery models couldn’t support anywhere near that number). In both scenarios Toyota and Amazon were able to reduce the cost of change, relying on smaller, more frequent iterations that aggregate over time rather than large, slow-moving, costly changes.
- Change your organization – The early examples of DevOps services teams exposed some of the fundamental assumptions of ITIL and challenged leaders to rethink how they structure their organizations. Hierarchical, linear structures and architectures could not provide the agility, collaboration and deep empowerment required to deliver at scale. Leaders realized that if they want to speed up deployments, they needed to build organizations, made of agile, cross-functional teams where the objectives and environment encourage this to happen.
- Courageous leaders – Overcoming these deeply entrenched organizational orthodoxies – especially within large complex enterprises – requires bold, courageous leadership.
- The Importance of architecture – Gene mentions the vital role architecture plays in supporting organizational agility and ensuring DevOps success. In DevOps you are empowering small product-led teams that need to be able to work fluidly – without needing permissions or fine-grain communication from/with others. This means your system needs to be architected in a way that allows teams to make large scale changes to their part of the system with as little friction or risk as possible.
- The 5 Ideals of DevOps (From Gene’s book “The Unicorn Project”)
Locality and Simplicity – This ideal supports the notion that, whether you are an individual or team, you should be able to make all the changes you need to make in one place. This can be measured by the lunch factor e.g. How many people do you need to take out to lunch to get things done? (see Jeff Bezos policy on Two-Pizza teams in the early days of Amazon) You want to keep your Lunch Factor small.
Focus, Flow & Joy– This ideal refers to “flow” in two ways. Firstly via its connotations in the Lean community related to the flow of work through a value stream. It also relates to flow-state – what we feel when we are doing the work we love and lose track of time and self – famously the topic of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Ted Talk “Flow, the secret to happiness“. This ideal essentially boils down to ensuring work is as frictionless and purposeful as possible.
Improvement of Daily Work – This ideal ties to the idea that greatness is never free – it is a decision that requires investment and hard work. Gene talks about how you should approach DevOps with the mentality to make tomorrow better than today with the goal always being continuous improvement.
Psychological Safety – This ideal is focused on culture and how the structures and dynamics within your organization impact communication and feedback. A psychologically safe organization promotes open and honest feedback where people aren’t afraid to speak about problems. This culture of honesty limits impression management and encourages problem prevention and continuous improvement.
Customer Obsession – This ideal is about focusing on what your customers care about. Rather than spending time on ERP systems, help desk systems, email servers, your organization should prioritize time and effort on creating things that cause lasting, durable business advantage that customers are willing to pay for.
The Phoenix Project, The DevOps Handbook, The Unicorn Project – Gene Kim
That’s Not How We Do It Here – Dr. John Kotter & Heather Rathgeber
The Goal – Eliyahu M.Goldratt
Team Of Teams – General Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman & Chris Fussell
On The Other Side Of Innovation: Solving The Execution Challenge – Vijay Govindarajan & Chris Trimble
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