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DevOps - CALMS approach to Transforming IT

Through 2015, 80% of the risks associated with attaining DevOps program objectives will stem from how organizational change is managed. DevOps represents a change in IT culture that makes different risk and investment trade-offs to achieve rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile and lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. Still, DevOps velocity ultimately rests on the ability of processes and technologies used by different IT organizations to integrate at key points along individual departmental life cycles. Key to building a DevOps-oriented mindset within IT is selecting and hiring the right people. A DevOps-oriented person is not just technically adept.The goal is to maintain the same levels of control while moving more quickly through the processes. This blog will highlight the CALMS approach to Transforming IT and sharing the five best practices for DevOps Transformation.


Culture — While changing organizational culture is often the critical outcome, we rarely see it emphasized first within a DevOps initiative, because changing the associated behavior of individuals can be among the most challenging tasks for any enterprise. Still, we have seen a case where the desire to become more engineering-oriented was initiated with a change in skill requirements for both existing and prospective employees.


Automation— Each DevOps initiative will have a different orientation regarding where to start from an automation perspective. Adding in technology to orchestrate and automate workflows and human touchpoints, as well as system-to-system interactions, is how DevOps scales, but most successful initiatives start small, with automation to fill gaps. Automation should improve outcomes by removing human error (e.g., removing human handoffs), making activities more consistently repeatable. There are many options for automation that can be selected; be clear on the goal (and problem) to narrow the scope regarding which automation to start with


Lean—"Lean management" provides process performance improvement by focusing on value streams from customer need to customer satisfaction. It targets inefficiencies or "waste" — any effort or expense that does not directly contribute to value as experienced by customers. Lean asks the question, "Would the eventual customer at the end of this production process be willing to pay money for this activity or task?" Because the value stream focus generally extends across functions or "end to end" — and beyond individual teams' functions — benefits can be difficult to realize. This is why lean is considered an enterprise cultural change, not a more narrow change to team procedures. To get lean involves significant process analysis, learning and organizational change, and takes longer than a simple process change to effect.


Metrics — A metrics-oriented mindset is key to ensure that DevOps initiatives taken up by infrastructure and operations leaders deliver the intended results. IT organizations should focus their measurement efforts on five primary domains: IT operations, the service (or application), the organization as a whole, the customer, and the business. Goals should be service-focused, with an eye toward improving agility (velocity) and improving business value (quality).



Source: Gartner (May 2014)


Sharing — Sharing best practices has long been critical to continuous improvement. The idea is you identify the best way of doing something – either in your team or within a pocket of your company – and you roll it out across your company to bring everyone up to the highest level of performance. That’s what happens in theory at least! Share experiences, successful or not, to enable others to learn.


The practices we’ve learned in DevOps don’t just apply to the technical teams, they apply to the business as a whole.