Dev + Ops + ???

If there’s one thing the DevOps cultural and professional movement taught us, it’s to question the status quo for the betterment of our customers, businesses, and ultimately, our teams. The combination of improved tooling, questioning structural barriers between teams, and a “shared outcome” culture have been powerful forces to date.

Granted, we’ve seen the most demonstrated benefit in smaller organizations, but let’s face it… a big part of the movement is culture, and a set culture in a large organization is not easy to evolve. As we’ve mentioned before, you can’t sell DevOps. It will take time for large organizations to benefit from the movement.

While we wait for the cultural evolution of large organizations to DevOps, it’s worthwhile to watch the continued professional and cultural evolutions of smaller organizations. The ones that first embraced DevOps from their start, what’s next for them?

There are three ways I am currently exploring this question:

  • Dev + Ops + ???: Addition of a third functional pillar
  • DevOps evolution in parallel to Sales & Marketing evolution: Some interesting parallels
  • Org-wide evolution: DevOps cultural tenets deployed throughout the organization

I would love to hear your observations as well.

Dev + Ops + ???: As the title suggests, the most common finding thus far is another legacy functional silo having the structural, cultural and tooling barriers to collaboration torn down. These organizations have a solidly executing group of engineering and operator mindsets working closely together, and have actively embraced a third pillar of the organization. The most common I’ve found is the security team and the embrace of the term SecOps, though I’d love to find others. Do you fit this profile? Leave a comment below on your observations.

DevOps evolution in parallel to Sales & Marketing evolution: In a small handful of organizations I’ve talked to, I’ve seen an interesting parallel evolution in the go-to-market teams to what was evolved in the technical teams.

If DevOps tore down the fence where code was tossed over, and eliminated the “blame game” when things went wrong of “It’s not my servers, it’s your code” and “It’s not my code, it’s your servers”, there’s a remarkably similar parallel evolution happening in go-to-market teams… of course not about code, but instead about leads. To put it the most bluntly ableit controversially, there has been a long-standing tension between marketing, historically charged with generating leads for new customers, and sales, historically charged with engaging the leads and nurturing them into prospects and ultimately happy customers.

Cue the blame game: “It’s not my leads, it’s your close” and “It’s not my close, it’s your leads”. Enabled by better tooling and visibility (e.g., customer relationship management software, marketing automation, etc.), progressive organizations are spending less time blaming each other, and more time collaborating on a shared outcome. Personally, I find the parallels between the evolution of technical teams and the evolution of go-to-market teams fascinating, and if you fit this profile, I’d love to hear your observations.

Org-wide evolution: Our preceding two profiles are fundamentally about change from within; specific cultural, structural and tooling barriers being torn down between functions of an organization. We see examples of technology teams tearing down walls, and examples of go-to-market teams tearing down walls, but what about the many other key functions of an organization?

Where’s finance? How about talent and human resources? Customer services and support? Product management? I would love to learn of more examples where cultural evolution is occuring not just in functional pockets of a comany, but across the entire organization at scale. If you fit this profile, I’d love to hear your observations.

About the author  ⁄ Cory von Wallenstein

Cory von Wallenstein is the Chief Technologist of Dyn where he is the voice of the company’s technical vision and preeminent solution architect for customers. He works with all departments within engineering to set and promote the strategy, innovation and development of all Internet Performance solutions for Traffic Management, Message Management and Performance Assurance. He is a leading voice on cloud computing having spoken on the topic at Interop, Velocity, Structure, CloudCamp, and DevOps Days and written on the subject for Wired, Datacentre Solutions Europe, and PandoDaily. Additionally, Cory co-chairs the Cloud & SaaS Cluster of the Mass Technology Leadership Council and mentors at the Harvard Innovation Lab and TechStars Boston.