Enterprise DevOps without a Million Dollars

Do you want to hear about how I terribly failed in leading my first devops transformation? I don’t intend to give you a process handbook or a blueprint for a successful devops adoption. But I aim to walk you through a perfect narration of my journey that will prepare you for the unknown in devops.

Five years ago, when I was working for one of the big corporates, I had access to ample budget. Around the same time is when the devops movement was gaining popularity and most organizations - big and small were introducing devops for software development. I was learning about devops through conferences, meet ups and in every other professional catch ups. I was sold that devops is the next big thing after agile which is believed to increase efficiency in software delivery.

Soon enough, I was leading a devops transformation in my organization.

Here are the list of things that resulted in my first unsuccessful attempt in devops transformation:

1. Waited forever for an approval on a million dollar budget to kick off devops transformation - not realizing transformation of culture doesn't need money, it only needs changing people's mindset towards software development and delivery. 
2. Created devops transformation roadmap. Little did I realize that devops transformation is not a project that has a start and end date. It is a journey. A journey where we iteratively Adopt - Test - Learn devops principles that are suitable for the organization and team.
3. Hired expensive consultants to promote and execute devops.  I failed to identify devops influencers within my teams and train them in devops promotion and execution. 

Having failed once and learnt what it means to promote a positive devops culture, here is what I did in my future devops transformations which resulted in a positive outcome

1. Initiated devops transformation with limited budget. The budget was mostly used for tooling and automation and less on fostering culture. 
2. Devops is best run agile. We did not step into a devops transformation with a blueprint or a process handbook. We created, adopted and documented devops principles based on what resonated with each of our teams. 
3. The first and foremost milestone in devops adoption is to promote cultural transformation. Tooling and automation will follow suit. 



Lakshmi Baskaran


Lakshmi Baskaran is a Corporate Leader, entrepreneur, and a mom of a 5 year old little charm. Throughout her exciting career she has built and managed high performing Engineering teams for corporate