Understanding what DevOps means and brings to the business is critical in order to get buy-in at the beginning of the process, but also to ensure that all teams are fully engaged with an ongoing process that requires the whole organization to be on board.
Getting buy-in for DevOps may be your greatest challenge in the implementation process. There are three key groups of people you need to get buy in from: executives, engineering and operations teams, and middle managers.
Executives is the most important group to get on board early – in particular because they can be instrumental in preparing other parts of the business for the DevOps implementation.
To get executive buy-in, lead with data and show (and prove) the waste and inefficiencies in your current processes and how DevOps can solve this.
Alongside this, align the proposed DevOps implementation with the company vision, such as reducing costs or moving to the cloud. Demonstrate how these things require a DevOps mentality to be successful.
You should also align with executives’ visions. Find out what each executive’s concerns, challenges, and goals are and explain how DevOps can help them reach these objectives.
Engineering and Operations Teams:
Identify problems engineering and operations teams are facing and where they’re struggling. Then provide solutions that are actionable and tie in with DevOps practices. It is important to show these teams first-hand experience of DevOps successes and give evidence of where other organizations have succeeded with DevOps.
From here, provide solutions and basic guidance that are actionable and will enable team members to solve the identified problems utilizing DevOps practices. For engineers and IT admins, first-hand experience is critical.
Also, reassure engineering and operations teams that with a DevOps culture their jobs are safe. Change is often associated with staff cuts, so let the teams know that DevOps will not impact job security but will allow them to focus on more valuable work.
Show the engineering team how they will have more features with less rework and will no longer face blockers in the process. DevOps will enable them to do their job.
For IT operations, meanwhile, let them know that they will get more proactive work done, which means fewer alerts and fewer tickets because they will be able to address problems before they arise. There will also be less manual work, with feedback incorporated into the product.
These team members are the most difficult to convince and are typically late to adopt, so trying to gain early buy-in may be tricky. Try sharing real results from other teams and exerting some peer pressure from above and sideways. You can also ask this group why they are hesitant, with a number of ‘why?’ questions.
DevOps can bring valuable advantages to your business, but it must be supported organization wide. Getting buy-in for DevOps is just one of the common challenges to the implementation process. True culture change required to successfully implement DevOps is difficult, so understanding the misconceptions and challenges before you begin is critical to your success. Download our ‘Misconceptions & Challenges of DevOps Transformation’ eBook for insight into other common misconceptions and challenges to implementing DevOps and guidelines for how you can overcome them.
-Stefana Muller, Sr Product Manager, DevOps