Five Key Steps to Delivering An Agile I&O Culture

By 2018, 90 percent of I&O organizations attempting to use devops without specifically addressing their cultural foundations will fail, Gartner

Infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders planning a bimodal IT strategy will miss out on the benefits of DevOps support for agile practices unless they transform their I&O culture, says Gartner.

The implementation of a bimodal IT strategy, says Gartner, requires careful planning and execution. Analysts predict that, by 2018, three quarters of enterprise IT organizations will have tried to create a bimodal capability, but that less than 50 percent of those will reap the benefits of improved agility and risk management.

Identify Your Mode 2 Behavioral Gap Analysis

To begin addressing cultural challenges, conduct a behavioral gap analysis to understand differences between the current state and desired state. Be sure to confirm the behavioral gap analysis with select peers and key team members. It is important to both identify the key behaviors to focus on initially and recognize which can be immediately addressed.  

Work With Key Stakeholders to Gain Consensus on the Approach

Identify the key stakeholders with the intention of gaining consensus for behaviors required and developing a plan to put them in place to support Mode 2 and DevOps. An important message for leadership to bear in mind throughout is that Mode 2 is not better than Mode 1.  

Start With a Small, Focused Pilot

The plan must be to start the DevOps effort with a small, focused pilot that will allow the concepts to be tested and corrective actions taken on a small, controlled scale. Do not start the pilot in an area with a very high probability of failure, or an area that is seen as a very easy win, as either of these may deliver incorrect expectations that will influence behavior. Making noise about early success stories, especially those demonstrating that the desired cultural shift is underway, will reinforce the change's momentum.  

Deploy Behaviors Incrementally to Successive Groups

Identify which group to target next and then work on reapplying the behavioral patterns and lessons learned. It is critical to do these iterations as sprints; multiple efforts with one group are fine, but do not let time frames push out. The idea behind multiple short implementation efforts is to both allow for greater focus and care during each iteration, and collect lessons learned in order to take corrective actions between iterations as the organization changes.

Pursue Continual Improvement

The competitive environment in which the business operates will change over time. As the needs of customers evolve in response to external and internal pressures, so I&O must be prepared to change as well. One difference between Mode 1 and Mode 2 IT is that change will be continual in Mode 2. In response, DevOps teams and their parent organizations must continually monitor outcomes and actively search for improvement opportunities.


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