After three intense days of learning at DevOps Enterprise Summit London, lots of people are asking how they can kick-start their own transformation journey.
First of all, don’t procrastinate. If you’re fired-up by the talks and experience reports, harness that energy and put it to work before it dissipates!
Here are ten practical steps to get on with as soon as you’re back in the office:
1. Create your vision
All transformations need a vision. This is critical to inspire the people around you to change. It will become your North Star, shaping and guiding transformation efforts. If you’re looking to create a vision, a good place to start is the popular ‘Remember the Future’ workshop which can be adapted from product management and applied to transformations.
2. Visualise your work
Before introducing more work into any system it’s important to have an accurate understanding of current work-in-progress (WIP) and commitments. We recommend Dominica DeGrandis’ book Making Work Visible as an excellent starting point. You might be tempted to jump into a tool such as Jira after reading it. But don’t. Nothing beats an empty wall and a stack of post-it notes for this!
3. Measure what matters
Armed with a clear vision, it’s essential to understand how you’ll know when you’ve achieved your goal. We advocate the DevOps Metrics Canvas. Using your vision as the high-level output, this technique will help you ensure targets are tangible and measurable.
4. Establish your baseline
Having identified what you need to measure, baseline your metrics. This will give you a clear understanding of where you are today and how far you have travelled.
5. Determine Minimum Valuable Change
It’s always hard to decide where to start. You need to strike a careful balance here. Identify a change where failure won’t jeopardise the whole transformation, but success will generate real value.
6. Empower your people
A key theme of DOES was leadership. Successful transformations have demonstrable C-Level support providing the mandate for change. But don’t neglect the education, training and coaching of middle managers. When these people are empowered, they become staunch advocates stoking the engine room of change.
7. Engage employees
Transformation efforts can quickly grind to a halt without wider organisational buy-in. Bring people on the journey by telling the story of where you’re going and why. Take time to understand their needs and fears. Change impacts everyone in different ways, so find ways to support them and create a nurturing environment.
8. Acknowledge the personal impact of change
People typically show most resistance to change when they believe it will cause them to lose something they value. In Nicole Bryan’s talk Transitioning from Projects to Products, she introduced us to loss maps. This excellent technique helps people visualise and discuss what they perceive as being threatened by change.
9. Celebrate success
You need to be the biggest champion of your transformation. And that means shouting about success. If you inspire the people around you to keep pushing boundaries it will help create the momentum you’re looking for.
10. Connect with the community
Change is hard and leading a transformation is challenging. But it’s not something that you have to do alone. Large events like DOES are a great way to bring likeminded people together. However, drawing support from the community should be more than an annual event. Smaller conferences, online groups, social media forums and meetups are just some of the ways you can connect with peers who will help you on your DevOps journey.
So, take a deep breath and strike out for the next stage of your transformation.