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DevOps Resolutions for 2016 | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #Microservices

DevOps isn’t just about engineering better processes. It’s also about cultural transformation.

At year-end, we often consider where we've fallen short over the last twelve months - and how we can do better over the next twelve. For IT leaders, DevOps is likely to be a primary concern for 2016. As application awesomeness becomes more important to the business, IT must get great code into production faster. DevOps success is thus imperative - especially if you're competing against digital-first market disrupters.

DevOps, though, isn't just about engineering better processes. It's also about cultural transformation. This reality makes some IT leaders uneasy, because excellence at operational management - rather than cultural leadership - got them where they are today.

But DevOps success requires cultural leadership. Without that leadership, people will work in 2016 the same way they worked in 2015.

KPIs are particularly useful tools for this cultural leadership, because they define goals and incentives. Here, then, are three key performance indicators (KPI) related New Year's resolutions to consider for 2016:

"I will unify my DevOps team KPIs"
KPIs for DevOps are well known: release frequency, number of software defects, MTTR for problems in production, etc. Unfortunately, many organizations still apply these KPIs in the context of a siloed "culture of blame." Developers get blamed for slow releases. Ops get blamed for extended outages.

DevOps requires the de-siloing of KPIs and collective responsibility for their fulfillment. Everybody has a stake in continuous delivery and in minimizing MTTR. Nobody gets to point their finger.

Cultural DevOps leadership is thus akin to coaching football. Coaches don't just incentivize receivers to run their routes well. They also disincentivize blaming the linebackers for a loss. IT leaders should do likewise.

"I will add cultural KPIs to my operational ones"
Management-by-objective is not management-by-what's-easy-to-measure. Yes, it's important to track obvious operational KPIs. But if your objective is cultural transformation, you need cultural KPIs too. Otherwise, you'll hit the wall with your operational KPIs - and never quite understand why.

Can you measure frequency of blame? Collaboration across skill silos? Trust? Of course you can. Those metrics may be grounded in subjective perceptions, but that doesn't make them any less real or relevant to your cultural mission.

"I will include myself in the ‘us-ness' of our KPIs"
An irony inherent in leading DevOps cultural transformation is that you can wind up blaming people for blaming people - and get frustrated about how "they" aren't becoming a "we."

Contemporary managers face this irony on many fronts as the drive for flatter organizations and the influx of Millennials redefine the workplace. Self-exclusion, though, is especially problematic for IT leaders attempting to re-make their organizations in order to fulfill the near-impossible demands of a globalized digital marketplace.

Yes, you need to get your developers and ops staff to do many things differently next year. New models of work, however, require new models of leadership. To change others, as the cliché goes, you must first change yourself.

And you can't change what you don't measure. That's why IT leaders should make self-examination a top resolution list for 2016.

More Stories By Aruna Ravichandran

Aruna Ravichandran has over 20 years of experience in building and marketing products in various markets such as IT Operations Management (APM, Infrastructure management, Service Management, Cloud Management, Analytics, Log Management, and Data Center Infrastructure Management), Continuous Delivery, Test Automation, Security and SDN. In her current role, she leads the product and solutions marketing, strategy, market segmentation, messaging, positioning, competitive and sales enablement across CA's DevOps portfolio.

Prior to CA, Aruna worked at Juniper Networks and Hewlett Packard where-in she led executive leadership roles in marketing and engineering.

Aruna is co-author of the book, "DevOps for Digital Leaders", which was published in 2016 and was named one of Top 100 The Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley by the San Jose Business Journal as well as 2016 Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award by the National Diversity Council.

Aruna holds a Masters in Computer Engineering and a MBA from Santa Clara University.

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