Culture is Key to DevOps
November 07, 2016

Tim Zonca

Culture is the single most critical part of any DevOps initiatives. You can have a great technology stack with all the right tooling in place, but if your teams don't trust each other, don't communicate effectively, and play the blame game, the chances of a DevOps initiative paying off are slim.

But culture is also hard to define. That's why we've spent a lot of effort the past few years studying it in our annual State of DevOps Report.

We found that organizational investment in DevOps is the strongest correlation to organization culture and is also predictive of organizational performance. Why? By making an initiative like DevOps a high priority and following through by communicating that with the organization, it shows what a big deal it is.

Secondly, changing culture is hard and requires organizational support and investment – investment in employee training and development, and in new tooling to support the initiative.

Once an organization has made the commitment and communicated it to everyone, there are a number of ways leaders can further invest in their teams:

■ Allow time for training: This requires a dedicated training budget that people know how to access. People should be able to choose training they find most interesting, rather than being restricted to specific manager chosen topics – even if it isn't directly applicable to what their job is today.

■ Enable employees to travel for conferences: Even if it's only once a year, staff should be encouraged to attend conferences and share what they learned with the rest of the team.

■ Provide time to experiment: Provide the time, infrastructure and budget for staff to have dedicated time to try out new tools and technologies. Not only will this create more engaged and happy people, but sometimes the best new ideas are originated from experimentation.

Tim Zonca is VP of Product Marketing for Puppet.

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