#Insanity Ep5: Max Out Strength (DevOps Culture)

Day 4: Max Out Cardio, Power and Sweat done. Can you ache any more? And what are these new muscles I am finding? Can this get any harder? Boom!

When you feel weak and in pain, Shaun T hits you with Max Out Strength – Are you ready to push past your limits and test your boundaries?

https://youtu.be/pI4gqDIj1HA

Max Out Strength and Culture

You may think that you lack of ability to do this workout has something to do with your body – sort of. You will be tired and sore and maybe even lacking in key nutrients but completing this a “mind thing” – This is where the “think, feel, act” philosophy comes into its own – It’s time to think; think about the results you want, think about not giving up, think about the life you want to have – persevere.

This workout is slower that previous workouts but this pushes your muscle system and more importantly your mind – you have to choose not to give up so many times. Maxing out over 5 mins is amazing but then you have to keep going for another 25 mins.

I wrote a previous set of articles under #AStoryofDevOps, specifically one about the practices of Agile called Origins. This talks about the change curve and the importance of building the right environment for change.

"What are you waiting for, you are faster than this. Don't think you are, know you are" Morpheus, Matrix

Traversing the change curve is tough, pushing through when things are hard is tough, leading and inspiring a team is tough. There is a scene in the Matrix where Neo and Morpheus are sparring in the matrix and Neo is getting knocked about a bit – then he is beaten, Morpheus asks if being stronger or faster has anything to do with muscles in that place – Morpheus then asks him – “Do you think that is air you are breathing?”. We have to realise sometimes that the things that challenge us are more about how we perceive them than the actual things stopping us. We need to learn to overcome.

https://youtu.be/8_C0E1ml5-o

DevOps Discovery

In a previous article, I shared how the DevOpsGroup Discovery Process work and that as part of the partnership with DORA, the following capabilities are understood; People, Measurement, Technical and Culture.

Max Out Strength brings into play Cultural capabilities predominantly. Shaun T prepares you make to mentally and physically overcome your limits and become stronger as well as faster.

Culture Capabilities

Our model includes measures of culture that are indicative of high trust and information flow, the value of learning, and job satisfaction. These measures have all been shown to be predictors of IT performance and organisational performance. Some of these measures are also leading indicators for technical feature success; that is, when people start fighting, technology starts breaking.

  • Westrum organisational culture: This measure of organisational culture is based on a typology developed by Ron Westrum, a sociologist who studied safety-critical complex systems in the domains of aviation and healthcare. Our own research has found that this measure of culture is predictive of IT performance, organisational performance, and decreasing burnout. Hallmarks of this measure include good information flow, high cooperation and trust, bridging between teams, and conscious inquiry.
  • Climate for learning: This measure captures a culture’s attitudes towards learning and if it is valued. For example, is learning considered essential for continued progress? Is learning thought of as a cost, or an investment? This is a measure of an organisation’s learning culture.
  • Job satisfaction: Job satisfaction is about doing work that is challenging and meaningful, and being empowered to exercise our skills and judgment. It is also about being given the tools and resources needed to do our job well.

Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2018

Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2018 through its research has defined a number of relationships between Trust, Voice, Autonomy and Software Delivery and Operations performance and Organisational Performance.

Westrum’s Organisational Culture model continues to hold strong in the research and the importance of management and technical capabilities that influence culture shows that you can change culture by changing the way work is done.

This year, we investigated the role that leaders have on influencing culture. We found that when leaders give their teams autonomy in their work it leads to feelings of trust and voice. Trust reflects how much a person believes their leader or manager is honest, has good motives and intentions, and treats them fairly. Voice is how strongly someone feels about their ability and their team’s ability to speak up, especially during conflict—for example, when team members disagree, when there are system failures or risks, and when suggesting ideas to improve work. Trust and voice, in turn, positively affect organisational culture.” Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2018

Practical Application

In Max Out Strength, Shaun T urges you to mentally overcome, builds trust in the team and system and creates an environment of safety whilst wanting you to do the best you can do and be the best you can be. He often says “I believe in you” and “You can do it”, even when you fail or when you don’t want to.

In your teams, you need to also mentally overcome, build trust and create a safe environment where you can be the best we can be.

Many of our people and teams have just given up – they may be coming to work and ‘Pressing Play’ on their jobs but their heart is not in it, they are no longer opinionated and they are either afraid or not bothered about speaking out, challenging, getting involved, experimenting or digging deep. We need to change this.

Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2018 provides some advice:

How can leaders most effectively help their teams gain autonomy in their work? Important components are:

  • Establishing and communicating goals, but letting the team decide how the work will be done
  • Removing roadblocks by keeping rules simple
  • Allowing the team to change rules if the rules are obstacles to achieving the goals
  • Letting the team prioritise good outcomes for customers, even if it means bending the rules

We can see that this prioritises strong leadership because clear communication of outcomes and goals to the team is key. And once the team understands the goal, a good leader trusts team members to execute according to their expertise. Indeed, our research finds that more autonomy fosters trust in the leader—that is, the team believes its leader is fair, honest, and trustworthy. This trust in leadership contributes to a stronger organisational culture.

So, where do you start? In my opinion, you need the following:

We can help you through this. Get in touch by contacting team@devopsgroup.com

More in this series:

  • #Insanity Ep1: Insanity Max 30 (DevOps: Stability AND Throughput)
  • #Insanity Ep2: Max Out Cardio (DevOps Performance Benchmarking)
  • #Insanity Ep3: Max Out Power (DevOps Processes and Measurement)
  • #Insanity Ep4: Max Out Sweat (DevOps Technical Capabilities)
  • #Insanity Ep5: Max Out Strength (DevOps Culture)
  • #Insanity Ep6: Friday Night Fight (Scale)

Raj Fowler

I am a natural, enthusiastic and authentic leader who understands the impact of IT as a differentiator for business performance and how organisational culture directly influences IT and business performance. With a strong appreciation of the changing technology environment, I have spearheaded a transformation of organisational ‘ways of working’ through adoption of the philosophies and principles that underpin DevOps, Agile and Lean. As a result, I have a track record of delivering operational excellence whilst improving IT agility, security and responsiveness enabled through close business relationships, technology-led thinking and inspirational leadership. 3 years ago we delivered about 50 to 100 changes per annum across about 80 business systems, all of which we managed using our standard plan, build and operate practices. Change was difficult and the transition from project to service was painful. I lived the opening chapters of the Phoenix Project on a regular basis. I now manage over 100 business systems and we categorised 7 of these as Products which include ServiceNow, Salesforce, Cognos, SuccessFactors, SharePoint. SAP and Bespoke Applications where we have established Product Teams. These are teams that build and support Product using DevOps philosophies. As a result, we delivered over 2500 changes last year whilst at the same time improving the service by 30%, improving customer satisfaction and employee morale. Using the "you build it, you support it" (Amazon) mentality, change is no longer a big event but a normal everyday occurrence and the usual spikes of incidents are no longer there, in fact with each change we deploy, the incident volumes reduce! Teams are not only delivering new features but are cleaning up their code and removing technical debt with every release. As a result, we have made a significant impact to the efficiency of our internal functions which in turn helps the competitiveness and profitability of the enterprise.

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