Why DevOps Is Becoming a Pivotal Factor in New Data Centers

1 - Why DevOps Is Becoming a Pivotal Factor in New Data Centers
2 - Practitioner Tip: Work With Other Teams and Find Ways to Build Empathy
3 - Manager Tip: Build Trust With Your Counterparts on Other Teams
4 - Practitioner Tip: Make Invisible Work Visible
5 - Manager Tip: Encourage Practitioners to Move Between Departments
6 - Practitioner Tip: Learn by Sharing Knowledge
7 - Manager Tip: Create a Climate of Learning
8 - Practitioner Tip: Prepare for Postmortems
9 - Manager Tip: Make It Safe to Fail
10 - Practitioner Tip: Evolve Your Skill Set to Solve Your Most Important Problems
11 - Manager Tip: Make Monitoring a Priority
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Why DevOps Is Becoming a Pivotal Factor in New Data Centers

by Chris Preimesberger

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Practitioner Tip: Work With Other Teams and Find Ways to Build Empathy

Building bridges between teams will increase your understanding of the challenges at every point in the life cycle. As a developer, try to put yourself in the shoes of the operations team: How will they monitor and deploy your software? As an ops person, think about how to help developers get feedback on whether their software will work in production.

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Manager Tip: Build Trust With Your Counterparts on Other Teams

Building trust between teams is the most important thing you can do, and it must be built over time. Trust is built on kept promises, open communication and behaving predictably even in stressful situations. Your teams will be able to work more effectively, and the relationship will signal to the organization that cross-functional collaboration is valued.

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Practitioner Tip: Make Invisible Work Visible

Record what you and your colleagues do to support cross-functional collaboration. If members of the dev and ops teams work together to solve a problem in the development environment, make sure to record and recognize what made that possible: an ops colleague taking an extra on-call shift, or an assistant ordering food for a working session. These are nontrivial contributions and may be required for successful collaboration.

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Manager Tip: Encourage Practitioners to Move Between Departments

Admins and engineers may find, as they build their skills, that they're interested in a role in a different department. This sort of lateral move can be valuable to both teams. Practitioners bring valuable information about processes and challenges to their new team, and members of the previous team have a natural point person when reaching out to collaborate.

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Practitioner Tip: Learn by Sharing Knowledge

Hone your skills by teaching them to someone else—by pairing on difficult problems, submitting talks at conferences, writing blog posts or just reaching out when you see someone struggling with a task you've mastered.

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Manager Tip: Create a Climate of Learning

Learning often happens outside of formal education. Ensure that your team has the resources to engage in informal learning and the space to explore ideas. Some companies, such as 3M and Google, have famously set aside a portion of time (15 percent and 20 percent, respectively) for focused free-thinking and exploration of side projects.

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Practitioner Tip: Prepare for Postmortems

An important part of a learning climate is effective, blameless postmortems. This type of post-event analysis identifies the actions you and your team can take to improve, and to incrementally learn from failures. Prioritize root cause analysis after an outage, and make sure to provide a detailed log of actions taken and effects observed, without fear of punishment or retribution. Learn how to participate in the postmortem without taking it personally, and don't level personal criticism at anyone. Remember, postmortems make your service better.

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Manager Tip: Make It Safe to Fail

If failure is punished, people won't try new things. Treating failures as opportunities to learn and holding blameless postmortems to work out how to improve processes and systems help people feel comfortable taking (reasonable) risks, and help create a culture of innovation.

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Practitioner Tip: Evolve Your Skill Set to Solve Your Most Important Problems

Focus on learning new skills that help you overcome the big challenges. If you don't know how to program, make it a priority to learn. If you already have some skills, learn a new language, framework or library. Spend your time writing code to solve problems, instead of just gluing together vendor solutions with fragile scripts. Make sure you understand the theory behind the software you're using before you implement it.

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Manager Tip: Make Monitoring a Priority

Refine your infrastructure and application monitoring system, make sure you're collecting information on the right services and then put that information to good use. The visibility and transparency yielded by effective monitoring are invaluable. Proactive monitoring was strongly related to performance and job satisfaction in Puppet Labs' survey, and it is a key part of a strong technical foundation.

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