Skip to content

July 7, 2020

Tactics to Spread DevOps

By IT Revolution

Adapted from the DevOps Enterprise Forum Guidance Paper Expanding Pockets of Greatness.

Written by Josh Atwell, Carmen DeArdo, Jeff Gallimore, Thomas A. Limoncelli

If you’re reading this, then you have likely considered numerous ways to more broadly consolidate and engage the teams in your company. In this section, we will outline some strategies and tactics, focused on four core areas, to help provide structured guidance on where to start and where those efforts will evolve.

Don’t try to do all these tactics at once. Pick a few, have some success, and build from there. Choose tactics that best align with your objectives and your company’s culture. There are no “one size fits all” solutions, and you may have to apply multiple strategies to achieve the desired effects. DevOps is a journey and you must be mindful of how much you take on at once.

We’ve grouped the strategies and tactics into four categories:

  1. Share: I provide opportunities to share knowledge and make success visible.
  2. Communicate: I create common communication channels.
  3. Standardize: I increase standardization and consistency of processes and tools.
  4. Empower: I develop leadership capacity.

1. Share: Provide opportunities to share knowledge and make success visible.

Making success visible has multiple goals. Of course you want to share knowledge so others can benefit. At the same time, sharing enables allies to find you, which can be important at the beginning of a transformation. Sharing opportunities are ways to advertise the benefits of DevOps without being pushy. Hypotheticals can be debated endlessly, but a case study that shows a tangible benefit gets attention and can turn naysayers into allies.


  • Show and Tells
  • Demo Days
  • Webinars
  • Internal Open Source
  • Dojo (Training)

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Pro Tip: When sharing and talking about success, think about what’s in it for your audience. Why should they care about what you’re sharing? Why should they spend their time participating? You’re not trying to “sell” them (that could be counterproductive), but putting things in terms that are meaningful to others will increase engagement. Success inspires further success.[/perfectpullquote]

2. Communicate: Create common communication channels.

Make it easy for people to find information they need, share knowledge they’ve discovered, and communicate with like-minded people. The focus should be on openness and easy access to as large an audience as possible. As much as you can, try to create common “go to” channels that focus, facilitate, and encourage collaboration versus having numerous, fragmented, disconnected efforts.


  • Wiki or SharePoint
  • Chat Rooms
  • Email Lists
  • Newsletters/Mass Education

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Pro Tip: Use good marketing in your communications. You know DevOps is great, but not everybody else does. They need a “story” or narrative that helps them understand more of what this movement is all about. DevOps marketing requires three things: a good story with a beginning, middle, and end (e.g., “The old way was painful. We made a bunch of changes. Now releases are fast and error free and features are shipped faster.”); good visuals (e.g., graphics, logos, slides, posters, stickers); and numbers that back up the story (e.g., measurements, KPIs, proof). [/perfectpullquote]

3. Standardize: Increase standardization and consistency of processes and tools.

Standardization can be a dirty word when talking about innovation. However, there are times when the lack of any standards can impede innovation or result in inefficiency across an organization. It is important to identify areas where standardization can be applied while also respecting individual flexibility when required. Driving the appropriate level of consistency can lead to improvements in the delivery pipeline needed to drive desired business outcomes, such as shorter lead times and more frequent deployments. This also provides the opportunity for increased knowledge sharing as discussed in the previous section.


  • Standardize
  • Scorecard
  • Experimentation
  • Common Language
  • Adopt Rogue Apps

4. Empower: Develop leadership capacity.

Leadership presents itself in various ways. As you navigate the tactics outlined in this document you should quickly recognize key individuals whose efforts stand out from their peers. These individuals may regularly lead execution on one of the tactics, or they may be seen by their peers as a leader and subject matter expert on a process or technology. You want to identify these individuals and provide opportunities for them to increase their impact as your organization matures. Everybody wins—you, the leader, and your organization.


  • Identify Leaders
  • Mentor Leaders
  • Influence Across Groups
  • Role Creation

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Pro Tip: Maintain an open mind when presented with new ideas, especially from those who you view as other potential leaders. It is easy to dismiss ideas that feel counterintuitive. Giving these individuals freedom to experiment will expedite finding what works and doesn’t work for your organization. Treat failure as a learning opportunity and make it clear it’s okay to fail and move on. You’re also trying to build a coalition of the willing, so incorporating ideas from others increases their buy in.   [/perfectpullquote]

Download the full DevOps Enterprise Forum Guidance Paper Expanding Pockets of Greatness.

- About The Authors
Avatar photo

IT Revolution

Trusted by technology leaders worldwide. Since publishing The Phoenix Project in 2013, and launching DevOps Enterprise Summit in 2014, we’ve been assembling guidance from industry experts and top practitioners.

Follow IT Revolution on Social Media

No comments found

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Jump to Section

    More Like This

    Frankenstein vs. the Gingerbread Man
    By Leah Brown

    In a previous post, we mentioned how the new book by Mark Schwartz, Adaptive…

    The Three Team Interaction Modes
    By IT Revolution

    In many large organizations, and even in some small ones, poorly defined team interactions…

    The Making Of The Phoenix Project
    By Gene Kim

    Ten years on, let's take a look back at how The Phoenix Project was…

    Ethics, Digital Transformation, and Frankenstein vs the Gingerbread Man
    By Leah Brown

    "If there’s an elephant in the room, it must be chased out quickly or…