Let’s imagine Jim works on the development team for a food company and his colleague, Julie, works on the operations team. On a daily basis, Jim focuses on analyzing users’ needs, testing and developing software, while Judy manages IT infrastructure and policies.
Although they share the responsibility of software deployments and application support, Judy and Jim rarely interact with each other. In other words, they operate in siloed functions that do not encourage teamwork.
Many organizations recognize these silos. So, to enhance cross-team collaboration and reduce repetitive work, they are implementing the DevOps mindset. This methodology facilitates constant feedback and creates an environment where the building and testing of software occur simultaneously. But to successfully implement DevOps, business leaders first need to understand what a silo is, how it’s created and its impacts on employee morale.
What is a Silo?
Take development and operations teams as an example. Development and operations work with two distinct mindsets. Operations values stability, which can slow down software updates. On the other hand, development values speed and is encouraged to create, innovate and generate as much as possible.
Silos develop when these departments are structured to work as separate entities with their own visions, goals and responsibilities. If development employees aren’t passing information about software bugs to the operations team, then workflow quickly becomes bottlenecked and productivity suffers.
How Silos Impact Employee Morale
The lack of information-sharing across teams takes a toll on employee morale and transparency, preventing development and operations teams from forming trust and mutual respect. Within silos, the development team might not report a software bug to operations out of fear of being reprimanded. Without an honest and open information sharing system, workflow is not only delayed, but the potential for misinformation increases.
Silos create a structure in which departments focus on their own goals instead of working toward organizational objectives. Eventually, this mentality can lead to hostile relationships between departments, which negatively impacts efficiency and harms the bottom line.
How DevOps Can Eliminate Silos
Implementing DevOps is the natural first step when shifting employee attitudes from departmental focus to organizational goals. This way, employees don’t have to face the daunting task of completely eliminating all silos at once.
By breaking down silos with DevOps, companies can avoid overspending on departments that may be resistant to change. Employers can create momentum for upcoming changes in other teams with the end goal of cultivating a collaborative mindset within every department of their organization.
To facilitate this transition, organizations should assign a DevOps administrator to act as a mediator between departments. This administrator works to communicate and apply the DevOps methodology across teams while navigating cultural differences to facilitate cross-team collaboration. To successfully implement a DevOps mindset, the administrator should keep the following strategies in mind:
- Direct teams toward common organizational goals. Team leaders should set specific goals that align with overall business needs. It’s crucial for leaders to point out how departmental goals directly support common objectives.
- Design shared metrics. A consistent measurement tool holds everyone accountable and encourages stronger teamwork by enabling leaders to track progress and assign workloads accordingly. For instance, organizations can set up delivery cycle metrics for both development and operations teams to measure how much workflow speed increases for both teams while maintaining continuous delivery.
- Organize regular meetings. Inviting team representatives to participate in recurring meetings creates an opportunity for everyone to give updates on project statuses.
How DevOps Impacts Organizations
Today, IT is no longer an isolated function but an essential department within organizations. It’s important that future leaders invest in technology that drives business success while keeping its employees in mind. For example, enterprise, or employee, service management is popular among businesses for its ability to deliver automated insights and support. Many organizations are turning to a modern IT service management platform to bring their employees fast and quality service—two central qualities of the DevOps mindset.
DevOps’ culture of continuous delivery helps shorten resolution time and encourages collaboration among development and operations teams. At first, businesses can struggle with continuous delivery due to siloed IT functions because these established support structures often come with lengthy and outdated processes that slow down delivery speed. However, a DevOps-focused culture supported by an IT service desk empowers developers and operators to deliver configuration changes and resolve issues at a faster pace.
In today’s competitive environment, a silo mentality is a detriment to the innovation required for companies to stay ahead of the curve. Through effective management strategies, the integration of the DevOps mindset will eventually break down silos, increasing collaboration and productivity.