Speed of innovation is becoming increasingly important. Ship faster and meet customer needs faster than your competition.
The key to shipping faster is DevOps. This is why awareness of the importance of DevOps has grown in lockstep with trends in mobile apps, digital transformation and public cloud.
When it comes to execution, some enterprises are undertaking major DevOps initiatives to effect change while others are taking a more piecemeal approach.
Either way, some changes happen automatically as a result of adopting new tools and processes. For example, investing in faster build and test infrastructure and automating testing.
Other changes are more difficult but perhaps even more important, such as improving information flow and promoting better decision making. This is often due to a lack of information but sometimes also attributed to cultural issues.
"Fixing" the culture requires changing people’s behavior. Behavior that has become habits. And habits that have become barriers to innovation.
Trying to change habits with grand messaging or repeatedly telling people to “Do the right thing!” is unlikely to be productive.
To change a habit, one must address the root causes for the habit and provide the right behavioral “nudges” at the right time to overcome inertia and create inflection points.
Inefficient behavior can persist because of a lack of information, lack of good tools, or due to lack of motivation. Removing these barriers requires presenting actionable information in a way that is easy to understand, providing easy to use alternatives, and reminders and incentives at the point of decision making to make better decisions.
Let’s look at an example of inefficient behavior.
Engineering has provisioned a cluster in the public cloud (AWS, Azure or Google Cloud) to do some experiments. Once the experiments are done, the cluster should be de-provisioned. Unfortunately, it is all too common for the cluster to stay provisioned much longer than needed and to even completely forget that it is provisioned.
The fact that resources are being wasted is not easily visible to users, they don’t know the opportunity cost of wasting the resource, and may have no direct motivation to conserve resources.
It’s also critical that the information be actionable. It’s no use to give someone a nudge if there is nothing they can do to correct their course. The self-service nature of the public cloud provides opportunities for people to do the right thing if they have the information at the right time and the means to take action.
These types of scenarios play out day after day in project after project. The opportunity is that a little bit of actionable information and a reminder at the right time would result in better behavior.
Behavioral economics has shown that a “nudge” at the right time along with the means to take action can be far more effective in changing behavior than a long-winded justification.
This is particularly true for intrinsically motivated professionals operating with a high degree of autonomy. Developers fall into this camp..
Presenting actionable information at the right time and reminding people of the benefits and costs of one decision vs. another in the right context at the time of decision making is often all that it takes to nudge people into making better decisions.
For more of our thoughts on DevOps best practices in AWS , Azure and other public cloud services, download our white paper.