Moving to A Cloud DevOps Culture – The CALMS Framework

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Cloud native is more than technology. While DevOps enables cloud native, a culture change is needed to make DevOps work. The CALMS framework helps enterprises handle the culture change when going cloud native. This article explains how the different facets of CALMS enable an organization to become a cloud DevOps powerhouse.

CALMS stands for Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement and Sharing. Each piece of the puzzle helps make a successful culture change in a truly DevOps-driven fashion. Let’s cover them one by one.

What is DevOps?
Contrary to common belief, DevOps is not ONLY continuous integration pipelines or automated testing and delivery mechanisms. Beyond the technical enablers, DevOps is a delivery philosophy that makes use of automation, lean and agile principles that allow organizations to shorten their go-to-market cycles and improve the quality of deliverables.

Devops

Culture determines cloud DevOps success

C is for culture, because culture change is at the heart of every cloud DevOps transformation. Although it’s tempting to jump straight into pipeline implementation, the wise choice is to start by revising and adapting the way that teams are organized and empowered to contribute within a DevOps environment.Culture change takes more than a team chanting “Let’s go agile!”. Disconnected teams running scrums and half-automated pipelines is also not enough. Change must be embraced by top management and put into practice with consistent leading by example. Adopting the culture change may be much more difficult for teams than it is for management, but two things can make the transition that much smoother:

  1. Invest in heavy internal evangelization of a cloud DevOps culture, especially if the current culture is radically different
  2. Make the cloud DevOps transformation a business strategy endeavour rather than just an IT enablement project

Automation increases delivery speed and quality

A is for automation – the obviously important part of DevOps. Automation enables the realisation of the DevOps promise; delivering value faster and with higher quality.

In this instance, let’s focus our attention on the concept of Everything as Code (EaC). To achieve full benefit of automation, an organization needs to have the mindset that everything can be automated. Besides infrastructure, this could mean automating for example security policies or quality control as code.

However, be mindful of the difference to everything should be automated. Sometimes it’s just not worth it. And whatever you decide to automate, blueprinting your delivery pipeline is always a good idea.

Lean keeps the wheels turning

L is for Lean. This cultural but highly practical aspect of DevOps builds on both culture and automation. Lean embraces the principles of agile delivery. It ensures snappy processes and smooth workflows, bringing responsiveness to the cloud DevOps organization.

Retrospective meetings are a part of lean that adds an element of continuous improvement, so that failures can be identified as opportunities. Lean operations eliminate waste and increase value delivered to customers. Lastly, lean working methods enable quick and small deliveries, which are more efficient to release than big batches.

Measurement leads to actions and performance

M is for measurement. You cannot improve what you cannot measure is more than true in DevOps, which is wholly based upon the concept of continuous improvement. Anyone who has done or attempted it, knows that implementing metrics and KPIs is no simple task. But giving up is not an option.

Increase your odds of cloud DevOps measurement success by selecting only few effective metrics and not drowning yourself in an ocean of numbers. Defining the metrics is only step one. The best way to ensure that performance can be followed constantly is to embed the tracking to your automation pipeline from day one.

Add a real-time dashboard on top, and suddenly measurement becomes not only doable, but also exciting. The accessibility of data coupled with useful tools like Tableau or Power BI lets you analyze what’s happening and – most importantly – turn your findings into actions.

Sharing amplifies the cloud DevOps culture change

S is for sharing. In the DevOps context, sharing means creating a culture of openness, trust and empowerment. The spreading of best practices and learnings is the backbone of organization-wide development and also helps break down siloes that the old culture has allowed to form.

Sharing is necessary at the start of the cloud DevOps transformation and equally important in later stages. It can be done by organizing frequent events and communicating constantly about the cultural and technical concepts related to DevOps. Don’t expect everyone to be on board immediately. Culture changes slowly, and that is a great reason to begin today.

Keep CALMS and DevOps

There is no cloud native without DevOps, but only setting up the technical DevOps enablers isn’t enough. Going cloud native calls for a DevOps culture change that spans across the organization, bringing automation, lean, measurement and sharing to the focal point for executives and employees alike.

Shaping a culture to the needs of cloud DevOps and cloud native is a long process that requires trust and an environment where teams can self-organize production. The CALMS framework directs focus to the right things and helps you to plough through the DevOps culture change without facing severe clashes.

Get in touch to learn how we can help your organization move towards a truly cloud DevOps-driven culture.

 

Simone Leggio

Simone Leggio
Director, Head of Cloud and Devops Practice,
Application Services at Capgemini Finland

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