Puppet’s 2020 State of DevOps Report landed last week and we were delighted to find an entire 23 page chapter on Change Management for DevOps! In this blog, we’ll share the key findings.
1. Platforms are a big leap, but Change Management can be a small step
A big theme in 2020SODOR is the rise of platforms. There are many challenges to creating internal delivery platforms: lack of company standards, implementation costs, and onboarding difficulties, to name just a few. But, the findings in the report show you can still speed up development by addressing change management as a crucial first step.
2. Change starts with leadership support
One of the challenges the report highlights is the institutional nature of change management processes. These legacy processes can be difficult to adapt to modern ways of working, so support from the leadership is necessary to ensure collaboration and alignment with all the stakeholders.
3. ITIL implementations are often bureaucratic
Ostensibly, ITIL is a framework with the noble goal of aligning IT with business while ensuring quality. However, in practice, the report found implementations in large organizations “created complex processes that require entire teams just to traffic and manage changes”. Furthermore, “rather than improving alignment between IT and the business, many companies built cumbersome bureaucracies that take enormously long times to approve any change.”
4. You can measure change management effectiveness
To measure the effectiveness of change management, the researchers at Puppet devised an interesting compound measure made up of three indicators:
- Implementation success
- Level of efficiency
- Performance sentiment
Combining these allows researchers to cluster results into archetypes, and reason about the relationship between overall effectiveness and change management.
5. How you implement Separation of Duties matters
The report highlights the common fallacy that Separation of Duties required by regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and SOC 2 must be implemented with manual handovers and approvals. They show that these can also be achieved in the DevOps world with combination of:
- Automated deployment
- A requirement that someone other than the code author must review and approve the change
- Supporting controls such as strong audit logs and access control
This is, of course, a finding we 💯👍 agree with!
6. Changes as Code are stronger than Changes as Prose
When looking at the degree of automation in change implementation, the report describes the advantages of defining changes as code. Making change part of your automation, including review, risk mitigation, sign-off, and deployment produces a greater level of consistency and velocity.
7. There are four approaches to change management
The authors have clustered responses into four distinct groups, highlighting the change management culture found in the survey.
8. Orthodox approvals make you less efficient
It might not come as a surprise, but the authors found that orthodox approval processes were highly inefficient. Again, this is an area where we 🤓🤗
9. Automation gives teams confidence in change management
The findings also show that test and deployment automation strongly correlate with performance. The respondents reported that good automation around change management improves review and approval processes, reduces risks, and delivers better information and knowledge sharing.
10. Giving people agency over the process results in higher effectiveness
Autonomy, mastery, purpose. These are the three principles highlighted in Dan Pink’s seminal book, Drive. However, the idea of autonomy is seen as a threat in regulated industries. The report shows that this is contrary to reality. In organizations with high employee involvement, respondents report higher effectiveness and enjoyment of change management processes.
11. There are three top challenges to automating the change management process
Concluding the chapter on change management, the authors shine a light on:
- Incomplete test coverage.
- Organizational mindset
- Tightly coupled application architecture
We believe that Organizational Mindset is the most challenging of the three because it requires a broad commitment. Ironically, the status quo of change management is extremely stubborn to change. The report goes into many of the reasons why, such as siloed organizations, legacy governance models, and lack of trust across teams.
On a brighter note, the authors counter these challenges by promoting DevOps principles: break down silos, build empathy across the organization, create feedback loops, and measure the impact of your new approach.
There is a lot of valuable information in the report, so if you are interested to learn more you can find the full report here.
And if you’d like to talk to us about how DevOps change management can help you, feel free to book us for a virtual coffee!