Hey Raj, can you please introduce yourself and your role and give us an insight into how you got into DevOps?
Prior to that I was the Head of Product Delivery for BAE Systems where I managed around 100 applications that served the 40k UK employees, 8 of these we transformed into Products and built product teams around them, employing DevOps and Agile principles and practices.
We made a significant impact to business performance through improving IT performance and in 2018 it felt right to leave by 20-year career at BAE Systems to build on my experience and help others transform.
For the people who have read the Phoenix Project, I have gone from being Bill, to being Steve and now I am Erik.
You can find out more in the Story of DevOps article contained within the DevOps Playbook. My last talk was also recorded where I shared my journey.
What is the best aspect of your role? If anything, what do you not enjoy?
A key part of my role is to learn and to use this learning to help transformational leaders. I have been in the privileged position of being an IT leader and understand the pressures, challenges and rewards of being accountable for IT and in my new role I have time, access to amazing people with loads of experience at DevOpsGroup, leading edge thinking and access to multiple case studies in multiple industries. A big part of my role is to pull all this together.
I see you’ve recently undertaken the project of implementing DevOps and Agile practices and philosophies to BAE Systems. Can you talk us through the steps of change?
1. Transformation takes time
2. Delegate authority under aligned goals
3. Build humility and transcendent purpose into your leadership style
4. Build full lifecycle product teams and give them the right environment for maximum productivity
5. Focus on the right tools that accelerate the momentum of change
6. Change the paradigms for work; value, flow and quality
7. Develop the right practices and allow time for mastery
8. Create an environment where Truth is spoken and responded to
9. Avoid the anti-patterns of DevOps
10. Be obsessed with the customer
11. Automation as the momentum accelerator
12. Everyone should leave their legacy – a dent in the universe
In terms of capabilities:
1. Stability and throughput need not be a trade off
2. Benchmark your performance
3. Process and Measurement capabilities
4. Technical capabilities
5. Cultural capabilities
6. Scale and improve
What were the main challenges in this project, and how did you overcome them?
- to believe in something bigger than ourselves, a transcendent purpose, a vision
- to belong to a community, part of a real team and to feel safe
- to be productive, to make a difference everyday
The key is to engage the transformation with these and bring people along on the journey. Belief and fear can make or break your transformation.
Who are some of your top influencers in the DevOps sphere?
I have read a lot of their work, watched some of their talks and met a few of them in person. These people have inspired me and helped me form my path.
Companies are beginning to embrace DevOps at a growing rate, what technologies and trends are you most excited about seeing in the future?
The trend for organisations to embrace through-life full-lifecycle Product Teams will continue to grow. This will require a significant breakdown of the silos and barriers that slow down and stop the work.
Do you have any advice for someone who is starting in the sector?
Don’t dive into the tools – start with your people, teams and practices – Technology is a momentum accelerator not a generator.
Read, watch, learn – the whole organisation embracing from the sponsor to the transformation leader to the teams impacted. Start book clubs, lunch and learns, town halls, and build visibility, momentum and excitement around the change. The goal is not to create a ‘DevOps’ team, it’s to create a learning organisation that can respond and adapt at pace so that you satisfy the needs of your ‘beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied customers’.