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March Madness for DevOps

March Madness for DevOps – Practical Advice from Legendary Coach John Wooden

John Wooden was coach of UCLA Bruins and won 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year period achieving a record 88 straight wins. If you were filling out your March Madness brackets during the Wooden era, UCLA would be the easy pick to win it all. While his basketball coaching skills are legendary, he is equally recognized as a life coach and has dozens of quotes that are often repeated in any team situation. 

Here are some words of wisdom from the “Wizard of Westwood” for your DevOps team:

“Be quick, but don’t hurry”
DevOps was designed to support an agile world and the accelerated pace of business. While DevOps speed is desirable, the process cannot be hurried and without discipline, or quality suffers, and the outcomes become unpredictable. Wooden would stress perfecting fundamentals to get it right. Working as a team with a collaborative set of tools that facilitates the rapid delivery of code into an integrated build with automated testing and deployment can reduce your time to deploy by more than 10 times that of a traditional process, all while producing quality results. Mastering these fundamental processes of DevOps will allow you to be quick with quality, and not hurried and haphazard. 

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail”
Setting up your DevOps processes based on evolving best practices and levels of DevOps maturity is critical to the success of your program. Job one for any company embarking on DevOps is a readiness assessment. It will identify the needs of the organization for team development, process definition, establishing performance metrics and continuous delivery tools and services. You don’t have to do much research to discover DevOps is a cultural change as much as a technology approach. Preparing your organization for this important shift to deliver on business agility before you buy technology means avoiding failure.

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
While preparing to avoid failure is sage advice, it does not mean you will not make mistakes. The only way to avoid mistakes is to not transition to continuous delivery. But then your business will likely suffer as others move to the new pace of delivery. Making mistakes is part of putting the process in place and letting your developers be responsible for error free commits, learn from the process, and re-engage each and every time to get comfortable with the pace and expectations. Hundreds of companies have transitioned to DevOps and Continuous Delivery, not one made the journey without their fair share of mistakes. 

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
DevOps is not a big bang transformation, but rather a series of small steps that transitions your org from two independent operations into a collaborative, continuous process with more speed and quality than ever imagined. There are several small steps in the process than can be rolled out and perfected before moving to the next and then the next. Know where you are on the maturity model and take deliberate steps to move up the scale. Big things will happen.

There are many more words of wisdom from Wooden – take a look. 

Good luck with your journey to become a model DevOps organization. The competition is getting more intense every year and your company is counting on you to make this happen.  One final quote from John Wooden: “It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.”  Do it well.

Dean Alms is VP of Product and Strategy at AutoRABIT. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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