DevOpsGroup Blog 2021 Puppet State of DevOps Report Highlights – A decade of DevOps

2021 Puppet State of DevOps Report Highlights – A decade of DevOps

Today’s release of the 2021 Puppet State of DevOps Report marks the 10th anniversary of the State of DevOps Report.

This year I was lucky enough to be one of the contributors to the report. As such, I got my hands on an advance copy so in this post I’ll summarise my key takeaways and insights from the report. I urge you to download the full report here. It’s definitely worth reading and is packed with awesome DevOps insights.

The #1 insight is that the majority of organisation are “stuck in the middle” level of DevOps performance. The percentage of middle tier DevOps performance organisations has remained remarkably constant over 2018-2021 at around 78%.

So why are they stuck? Is it slow cloud adoption? Is it legacy technology? No. The main blockers are cultural. A culture that discourages risk. Lack of clear responsibilities. Most of all? A failure of leadership at the top to promote DevOps, remove barriers and build momentum behind the DevOps implementation efforts.

So what can leaders do to drive their DevOps technical and cultural transformation efforts forward?

The report highlight 3 key area:

  1. Accelerate your Cloud adoption strategy – ~80% of high performance have embraced all 5 essential characteristics of the cloud computing compared to only 20% of mid performance and 5% of low performers.
  2. Redefine your Team Topologies – Build teams with strong identities, with a culture of cooperation and learning, that is willing to embrace risk in order to drive growth, and that use advanced automation capabilities that are provided as shared self-service platform.
  3. Build shared self-service platforms – “A digital platform is a foundation of self-service APIs, tools, services, knowledge, and support which is arranged as a compelling internal product. Autonomous delivery teams can make use of the platform to deliver product features at a higher pace, with reduced coordination.” – Evan Bottcher

Here at DevOpsGroup we’re big fans of the “Delivery Team + Platform Team” approach (what Team Topologies would call a “Stream aligned team” + “Platform team”). We first put together our “Platform Team Model” diagram below for one of our retail clients back in August of 2016 (you can learn more about the model here) and it’s great to see the data to support this original vision.

DevOpsGroup - DevOps Platform Teams Diagram

The report also sounds a clear warning:

Thinking about your organizational problems as “culture” is neither useful nor actionable. Moreover, stating blockers as “cultural” can lead to inaction as people think of culture as “immutable” or very hard to change, i.e. “it is what it is.”

2021 Puppet State of DevOps Report

This is what my contribution to the 2021 report addresses – “How can leaders change their culture? Practical ideas for change.” on page 32 of the report. In it I talk about what culture really is, using Edgar Schein’s definition of culture that we have talked about before back in 2016 and again in 2018. I then offer four levers that you can use to start your cultural transformation. If you want to know what they are… then read the report.

I conclude my section of the report by saying:

Culture change is hard… but it is possible. It might take a long time to achieve a durable shift in culture organization-wide, but you can start that change today by defining the microculture you want in your team. Good luck!

2021 PUPPET STATE OF DEVOPS REPORT, page 32

I’ll conclude this post with the same message. Don’t wait for someone else to lead the transformation. Change yourself, the way YOU work and how you interact with your team, and let you and your teams improved performance speak for itself. Be the catalyst for a wider change. Good luck!


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