CIO: Do you want more productivity? Help your Ops think like Devs

Estimated read time 4 min read

CIO: Do you want more productivity? Help your Ops think like Devs

The key to successful collaboration within IT teams is not only to align the work of developers with that of operations teams. It is also necessary to unleash the development skills that lie dormant within the production teams. The Nasdaq DevOps manager says the time has come for production teams to play a more important role as developers.

It is now essential to encourage a developer mentality, said Amado Gramajo, vice president of infrastructure and DevOps engineering at Nasdaq, who shared his experiences at the recent Developer Productivity Engineering (DPE) conference. You have administrators on the operations side and developers on the other side. It is time to encourage administrators to think more like developers, he insisted.

“Happiness for developers consists of staying at the top of their
creative flow, with stable quality, stable code, deployment
stable. A happy developer means that he has a good software. A
happy developer will be nice for Ops,” Mr Gramajo said.

The big question of the rapid deployment of software

If development methodologies and techniques have allowed Dev teams to produce software very frequently, “it is also a question of deploying these software quickly,” he explains.

The opportunities for productivity gains therefore now appear in the Build and Test phase that precedes deployment. So we need to focus on development productivity engineering, he said. “This is how we improve the quality of the software and create real added value for the company”.

The problem, he continued, is that software is designed, built, deployed and managed by separate teams: “As new technologies appear – the cloud, Kubernetes – companies have designed dedicated teams, such as infosec, internal audit and infrastructure. This constitutes many teams that have a specific function or objective. This is not a negative thing because with this system you get more controls, more safeguards.”

Shared service platforms for Devs, OPS, and other IT professionals

But the logic of DevOps integration is also hampered by the fact that IT professionals are paid and mandated for single-purpose roles, explained Mr. Gramajo. “The developer works on the project for which he is paid. He can’t change everything. This creates friction between the development group and the other teams”.

The solution proposed by Mr. Gramajo, who manages more than 130 stock markets around the world, consists in creating shared services platforms on which developers, operations teams and other IT professionals can collaborate. Mr. Gramajo, who comes from the Ops, realized that many people working with him thus became de facto full-fledged developers.

The company or workplace culture – which everyone wants to change – is almost impossible to change, he says. Rather, he advocates a systematic and technical approach. “If a company is trying to set up a DevOps system, the first thing to do is to ask how to change the culture. We have to change the culture. But no one ever changes the culture for real, right? We just talk about it and display values in discussions while waiting for the elevator”.

What can be changed is the mindset of the Ops

But what can be changed is the mindset of the Ops. We must “orient it more towards engineering. Instead of waiting for something to happen, you start developing a solution”. They then realize that they are not only administrators, but also engineers who write code”.

By leveraging this approach, “you are able to change the culture,” he hopes. “What defines a company is the way people work in it. And the way they work is based on policies and procedures. So the challenge is to start looking at policies and procedures and allow the operations team to work and operate more like developers”.

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