If you are involved in implementing DevOps practices or if you are researching DevOps, you know that culture change is critical to success. Developers and Operations must work together to create high quality deliverables on a frequent basis. For most organizations, bringing Developers and Operations closer together is a significant cultural shift. It is the most important aspect of transitioning to DevOps practices. Without fully addressing the people side of DevOps, you can only make so much progress.
The various DevOps discussions and materials tend to focus on the behavior and subsequent culture change required within the IT organization but what about the business. If you are going change how IT works and delivers services to the business, there is a business impact. They are the customer. They need to be prepared to have discussions about the value of various requirements and deliverables. These discussions require someone at the table that can make decisions about functionality that delivers value, resources that may be required for user acceptance testing, the business impact of delivery schedules, etc.
In the last fifteen years, IT leaders often talked about wanting a seat at the table with the business. They wanted to be involved in strategic decision making and offer advice and counsel on the various initiatives that the business was undertaking. Many IT leaders struggled with achieving this level of involvement. Now there is a new opportunity. In a sense, DevOps creates a brand new table and the business is definitely interested but they need to be involved in the planning as well as the execution so the entire organization can fully recognize the value of changing how the work is delivered.
The culture change required for DevOps involves more than just IT. It needs to include the rest of the business. IT provides foundational technology for the entire company and it may create services that are sold to the community.
It’s great the Development and Operations are recognizing the value of tearing down the silo between the organizations but to be truly successful, it is time to remove the silo that exists between IT and the business. Any organization adopting DevOps practices needs to focus on the behavior changes required across the entire organization.
It’s a new day. DevOps practices involve more than just IT. The business needs to adopt a new mindset as well. Organizational change plans that address IT behavior need to consider the behavior of their business partners as well. The business needs to take the journey with IT to achieve the expected return.
When adopting DevOps practices, engage the business in the early discussions prior to making changes. Even if you want some time to test and learn within the IT organization, take the first step in tearing down the wall that exists between IT and the business. Bring the business into the conversation. Talk with them about your objectives and ask them about the results they would like to see from this type of initiative. Partner with them on developing a strategy and path forward.
Engaging the business in the early conversations relating to DevOps will help to gain their buy in. The behavior change from the business will evolve as DevOps practices evolve in the organization. They will have a voice in the adoption of the changes and while IT Development and Operations are adjusting to a new way of working, the business will be planning and adjusting as well. Inviting the business to the table along with Development and Operations will strengthen the end result and help to tear down the silo’s that have existed for far too long.
To be successful, the adoption of DevOps practices requires a cultural shift from IT and the business. Take the journey together to achieve a much more valuable outcome.
How can Business Relationship Managers Influence Organizational Change? Part 2 of a 2 Part Blog Series
In Part 1 of “How can Business Relationship Managers Influence Organizational Change”, we looked at how Business Relationship Managers can serve as a translator for both IT and their business partners by bringing the benefits of IT work to life for both sides. They can help IT staff and business stakeholders understand the true impact of the work by relating the benefit in a manner that is meaningful. It is about more than saving money or upgrading a server. Business Relationship Managers can explain how the work directly impacts the customer or the employee. They understand the bigger picture but they can drill down to the day to day operational level and explain the benefit which allows all stakeholders to connect with this work at an emotional level and ultimately, improves the adoption of change.
Another aspect of driving change adoption is understanding existing performance as well as progress toward improvement. Business Relationship Managers (BRM) are in a unique position to use metrics to help all of their stakeholders understand the value of the work being proposed or completed through the use of metrics. The metrics can drive action and improve the adoption of change.
The business areas are tracking various productivity and satisfaction metrics. The work completed relating to technology should enable stronger performance in these areas. The BRM should be reviewing these measures with their customer on a routine basis. Work completed by IT is often reflected in these measures. Using our example from part 1 of this blog series, the work to upgrade an ATM may be reflected in the volume of customers using specific ATM functionality, the volume and type of security issues relating to the ATM, or the number and type of support calls about a particular application used at the branch.
Technology supports the business in doing their job effectively. Metrics that are monitored by business partners often show the impact of changes to the technology as well as changes to IT process and changes to the IT organizational structure. Business Relationship Managers are able to use these metrics to show the IT staff how the work they do has a very meaningful impact.
The same metrics can be used to facilitate a conversation with the business about the value IT is bringing to the organization. While the business will also be making changes to strategies, processes, staffing, procedures, etc., and the BRM needs to understand the work that is underway, changes to the metrics also reflect changes taking place to the technology that is used every day by the business staff. With minimal effort, the BRM can help the business understand the value proposition for IT by using metrics to show how IT is supporting business outcomes.
Using business metrics and correlating them to the work of the information technology team will have a considerable impact on change adoption by helping both IT and their business partners understand how the work being completed is affecting success. Additional training, communication, application or other technical enhancements, process and procedure changes, and even organizational changes may result from truly understanding the metrics and how the changes completed by the IT team influences the end result.
Attend the Building Your Business Relationship Management Capabilities Workshop to grow in your role and strengthen your relationship with your business customers!
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