Forging connections among people with diverse skills

DevOps is about transforming the way our companies run and part of that transformation is understanding that our companies are about people over products. In any company, you need human beings who do many different things. You need CEOs, you need sales reps, you need software developers, you need marketers, you need system administrators, the list goes on and on. All of these people are necessary and all of them bring their own talents and experiences to the table.

Get to know those you work with

Not only do you need people with different job skills but you need people from different backgrounds, from different parts of the globe, and people who've done odd things in their lives. All these different perspectives feed back into each other and the more diverse the pool of people, the better the outcome for the company.

To practice DevOps, you also need to form bonds with those people in our company who are different from us. You can do this in very straightforward ways. Take someone out to lunch who doesn't do what you do. Ask them about what they do. Do you know what your sales reps actually do? Do you know why they do what they do? Let's get even more basic. Do you even know the names of your sales reps?

Strong connections make better products

Aside from making your company a better place to work, there is another very practical reason to broaden your network. Someday you're going to have a big idea that you know will really move the needle on your business.

To make that idea happen, you're going to need feedback and consensus from people who work in many different areas of your company. All the bonds you've formed company wide will come into play.

As you circulate your plan it transmutes and becomes not just your plan but the sales team's plan, and the business development teams plan and the operation team's plan. Everyone has a sense of ownership and is invested in seeing the plan succeed.

It's possible to see a plan fail because your bonds are not inclusive enough. Build consensus for projects by prioritizing the people in your company.


This article discusses the relationship between DevOps and Lean principles. It is based on Adam Jacob's talk, Chef Style DevOps Kungfu, delivered at ChefConf 2015.

Next in this series: Establishing roadmaps and themes

A good roadmap can help ensure you're giving your customers what they need and want.

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