For leaders in the tech space, velocity is the name of the game. And for the last few years, pioneers in the industry have been evolving how technology is developed and launched in some pretty dramatic ways.
Birthed out of more established methods of developing software like waterfall and Agile, the DevOps movement builds upon the best practices of these methods in order to drive performance in today’s digital economy. In a world where technology touches nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives, evolving the ways these organizations deliver value to their customers quickly can mean the difference that separates the next Google from the next Yahoo.
Adam is known for his engaging and creative presentations on a variety of technology topics and was sure to have a unique perspective on the future of DevOps.
Chris Cancialosi: As many technology firms implement DevOps principles at scale, what should leaders keep in mind?
Adam Jacob: Leaders need to realize that implementing DevOps means changing the technology system as well as the cultural system. They must acknowledge that both are intertwined and, to be successful, both systems must evolve to drive velocity.
This is easy to say but super difficult to actually achieve. The good news is, there are ways to use one as leverage over the other.
CC: What does the future hold for how work gets done in this space?
AJ: I hope the next phase of the DevOps evolution will be a move toward being more intentional.
While many companies are making the transition, no one has completed a DevOps journey yet. And the ones that do master these new ways of working in a sustainable way aren’t going to define their success by comparing themselves to the Googles and Facebooks. They are going to define their own version of success and they are going to break out in new and amazing ways. I don’t know who that will be, but someone will do it.
CC: What are the risks of not focusing on the people and culture side of a DevOps transformation?
AJ: To me, there are three types of highly functioning teams. At the top are the highly empowered teams who have context and the authority to get things done. The next highest functioning types of groups are the brutal command and control, tight deadline type teams that are very productive but they suck to work on. They do drive outcomes, but you’re likely to burn a lot of bridges in the process.
The last group is those in the middle, and this is where the danger lies. These are the teams where you adopt the empowerment vocabulary but your behaviors are command and control. It’s easy to adopt a vocabulary, but if you don’t adopt the behavior, you’re in for trouble.
CC: What skills must tech leaders master in order to effectively lead in a DevOps environment?
AJ: Leaders in the tech space are realizing that they must lead differently in order to be effective in this environment. Learning how to manage and lead by giving people context and information to make better decisions—versus giving them tickets or briefs—is how leaders and teams will thrive.
Second is the ability to think about your technology and your cultural systems outside of your silos. You have to be willing to work outside of your sphere of control. Finally, tech leaders must learn to value taking care of people and provide them with what they need. Those who master this will find that their people can create some truly great products.
Where the tech industry evolves to next depends on a great many variables but one thing’s for certain, success will depend on leaders and organizations that are able to best anticipate and adapt to changing conditions in order to add value to their customers. Those who can will set themselves up for continued relevance and success, while those who cannot potentially risk their very existence.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.
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