The title of this post might seem a bit on the conceited side. After all, who am I to claim to be a DevOps practitioner, much less thinker? I will simply say that I am working to implement DevOps principles in my day to day life, am spending more than a little time reading, thinking, and writing about DevOps, and though I may not be considered a DevOps thinker today, I certainly aspire to join their ranks. The title, then, is a statement of aspiration, more than a statement of achievement.
When I wrote my blog post about important features of a service management tool, I wrote “I am increasingly coming to believe that the change management process is perhaps the most important one for success in ITIL – not to mention DevOps – adoption” – and I stand by that assessment. Not because change management is such a revolutionary idea in and of itself, but because of what true management of change means for a business.
I celebrated my 35th birthday this past week. As I was getting ready for work one morning, I looked into the mirror and realised that – barring some drastic, and highly unrealistic, changes in approaches to retirement – I will likely be part of the work force for (at least) as long as I have presently been alive. Counting my service as a conscript in the Royal Norwegian Navy, I have been part of the workforce for fifteen years, which means that I will have been part of the workforce for a total of (at least) fifty years when I eventually retire.
My first IT job was a one day per week internship with a pharmaceutical company while I attended my last year of high school. It was the first time I was exposed to the constant stream of support and service calls that makes up a large part of the day to day life of a support technician. I remember having a distinct impression that the IT department was constantly over-worked, always having too many things to deal with.
Kanban (capital-K, as in the method) uses a kanban (lowercase-k, as in the board) to visualise and reduce work in progress (WIP for short). This is the most well-known, and visible, part of Kanban. It is achieved by limiting how many pieces of WIP any one work centre can have assigned. At first glance, this may seem to be incompatible with IT support work. This is as erroneous as assuming Kanban is incompatible with knowledge work in general, whereas it has been proven to be an excellent match for software development (for details, I recommend David Anderson’s book “Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business”).
This was originally written before I read chapter 18 of the DevOps handbook. I feel strongly that peer review has greater legitimacy and chances of success than a system where a change manager is solely responsible for changes that may or may not fall within their area of expertise. It further grants employees more agency and autonomy in performing their jobs. While not directly addressed below, peer review is compatible with my views on change management.
Like me, I’m sure you’ve been subjected to tests designed to find out what profession you should pursue. Whether termed professional aptitude tests or primary occupational interests tests, I have long been skeptical of the value of the results these tests offer up. A study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior seems to indicate that I have been right to be skeptical. The study found that a sizeable minority are in jobs that don’t fit our primary occupational interests.
Over the years, my studies have inspired a number of posts here on the blog, and for good reason. Learning has been a significant inspiration for me on a number of areas. Sharing what I have learned and how that has affected my thinking on a number of areas has been a useful part of the studies.