DevOps and Organizational Change

I watched a DevOps Institute webinar recently about what’s really a favorite topic for many of us; People. It was titled Continuous Everyone: Engaging People Across the Continuous People Pipeline. I thought Jane Groll did a good job highlighting the importance and challenges associated with changing culture.

The Continuous People Pipeline sounded a lot like organizational development, which of course it is. I posted about Levels of Organizational Change a couple years ago, which I got from Beyond Change Management (an excellent read!), and the webinar put this in a DevOps context. The Continuous People Pipeline can help build an organizational capability to change, something I suspect many organizations talk about but really haven’t developed.  

Most IT organizations are under such pressure to deliver quickly that we engage in deadline-driven projects, sometimes without re-assessing where along the transformation journey we are right now. This is a transformation death march and reflects what the webinar called cultural debt. Planning for the realities of human nature is not only worth the effort, it’s the right thing to do.

I guess on the positive side it certainly seems like we’re no longer Bowling Alone[i]-- I think in many organizations there’s real collaboration happening (at least at some level of the organization).

Anyway, these kind of projects [aka ITSM, DevOps, Digital Transformation, et al] 'continue to be Wicked in nature. Not because of a lot of technical complexity but because we are changing social norms-- precisely what we need to do!'.

[i] - Robert Putnam (2000) Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community, New York: Simon and Schuster: 288-290 

In the book Bowling Alone, by Robert Putnam, “Putnam warns that our stock of social capital - the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities  …  we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We're even bowling alone.


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