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DevOps Culture Is More Important than DevOps Tools

Geeks love new tools. It's part of what makes geeks the kind of people they are. According to Matthew Skelton, this is one reason why it's common for technology teams to deploy tools while just paying lip service to the real cultural changes that are needed to drive DevOps. Helpful as they are, DevOps tools alone cannot substitute for the improved communication and shifts in attitude required to create a high-functioning DevOps environment. Cultural change is difficult, Skelton points out, and it takes a long time to get dev and ops teams to trust one another and transparently communicate project and system status on a regular basis. It’s especially hard in an organization where no one has previously experienced that kind of continuous collaboration. So it’s good to encourage small changes in day-to-day behavior, allowing people to get used to these small changes before moving on. Workshops where people can get some practice with new processes can really help, as can pairing and hands-on mentoring. Inculcating the cultural changes that enable DevOps is analogous to continuous delivery. Just as deploying small code changes is less risky to the system than deploying large, far-reaching changes, you’re more likely to succeed when you ask people to make small changes to their working practices. Give them time to integrate each change, and see the benefits, and they’ll feel more comfortable implementing the next set of changes.

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