Culture. It’s the most mentioned and the most ignored part of the DevOps conversation.
Lots of lip service has been paid to the importance of culture (“It all starts with culture”, “DevOps is a cultural and professional movement”, “Culture over tools”, etc..). But just as fast as everyone agrees that culture is supreme, the conversation turns straight to tools, tools, and more tools.
Recently, John Willis, my fellow dev2ops.org contributor and DevOps Cookbook co-author, let this tweet fly:
John has been as big of a culture warrior as anyone — constantly fighting to elevate the importance of and the discussion around DevOps Culture. He later said that this tweet was part exasperation and part challenge.
It was obvious to John that the difference between high performing and low performing companies was their DevOps culture, not the tools. But rather than be satisfied by the default explanation of DevOps Culture maturity being either that a company “gets it” or “doesn’t get it”, John was challenging the community to dive deeper into the issue.
During the week of Velocity London and DevOps Days Rome, there were finally some presentations that answered that call and were all about the culture. I did a presentation on defining DevOps Culture and what high performing companies do to reinforce it (based on the work of DTO Solutions). Michael Rembetsy and Patrick McDonnell gave a great peek behind the scenes of Etsy’s transformation to a company with a fast moving and high performing culture. Mark Burgess (CFengine) gave an interesting talk on the importance of, and science behind, relationships.
(slides were updated after the presentation)
(when you watch Mark’s video you will understand why there are no slides posted here!)
Update: John Willis knocks it out of the park talking about the importance of culture and the classic influence of Deming on this recent episode of the Food Fight Show.