So, where were we?
Since the last post at The Adventures Of Space Monkey A LOT has happened. At that time I worked in Telia where I tried to breathe life into their testing operations. The better I got in my job, the more aware Telia became of the challenges it needs to meet in order to function properly in modern technology market. But there was no one to help them before these challenges…
I have always considered testing to be a noble profession, because we testers produce one of three of the most valuable commodities in the world: information (other being matter and energy). Feedback that others can use to steer themselves into right directions. We humans are the organic half of this feedback mechanism, and machines such as test automation are the other half. There’s a neverending debate on the sapient vs. automated testing (or checking, whatnot), but I like to cut corners and concentrate on the conclusion I drew from all of this: When a human being provides feedback, he/she can participate or even take responsibility of fixing the root cause of the problem, which is quite often of sapient nature. In Telia I knew how to meet the challenges that testing dug up, because I’d experienced similar contexts many times before. At that time I just didn’t know that in 2009 a guy named Patrick Debois had coined a word for all that: DevOps.
(Dear reader. I know that you might have an idea of what DevOps is and it might differ from mine. So be it. Somehow everything that seems to work in my line of work comes from that community, which is why I’ve grown quite an interest on it. Now, I’m not that keen on writing on technical aspects of it. Firstly there are vast amounts of material about it already available and written by people way more competent in it than me. Secondly, there just isn’t enough material on the cultural aspect of DevOps, which is strange, because a lot of the challenges we face in our daily lives are of cultural and yes, sapient nature. This sets the tone for everything I write here about DevOps from now on. I might write about testing, financial stuff, psychological, sociological and even technical stuff, but in short I like people and the dynamics of working with people. And I want to write about that. Mostly. At this moment. And it might change. If you want to keep on reading even after this statement, awesome!)
Back on track. Now, when you try to change a company, my simplest tip would be this: Do it via internal references. I could go to the same lengths as Louis Grenier in his blog post about how best practices kill businesses, but as it’s already been done, lazy me settles for providing it as a source. In short: Do not look for a guru, Gartner report or some pesky blog post. Do something that works in your specific context and then do that again. Something concrete and valuable to the company. An example that people struggling in that very same context can follow. In Telia our first concrete example was the new CMS system, which we managed to build along with Telia’s new webpage and the surrounding infrastructure. And yes, it was a bit bigger than just a “hello world” demo. Two or three weeks into the project we had first product increments in production, red hot pipeline spewing high quality builds into integration, processes in place, everyone on point and pretty much everything running smoothly. Money was spent less than in one SAFe program increment planning session and we were already getting valuable feedback from production that we could use to steer ourselves into right directions. Then we just adjusted tech and methods here and there: monitoring, analytics, testing, automation, CAPEX allocation, Kanban flow, you name it. The results were quite staggering compared to the results the company was used of having. This of course caught the attention of management. When they saw that this could be done, they started to demand it from others too. And presto: We had a market for our coaching work! After that I started forming DevOps community in Telia, leading relevant initiatives, supporting the teams already on board, finding resources and funding, and generally helping people with DevOps and of course testing.
Eficode played a huge part when we started to expand DevOps to the whole company. More precisely the good people of Eficode. I have countless of stories about how they helped me even beyond professional context and made it possible for Telia to move into modern software business. Eficode doesn’t have public reference from Telia, but that doesn’t stop me from spreading the good word about them whenever I can. Credit is given where credit is due: They are awesome!
So. This was the pivotal point that turned a new page in my professional life, and created CAPSLOCK Holmes. A private investigator of bits and pieces. Stay tuned.
PS: Oh. Nowadays I develop and manage DevOps business at Elisa, which is the main competitor of Telia here in Finland. Long story. So, my days are filled with market research, business analysis, service design, customers, money, you name it. My inner geek still doesn’t know whether to like or not, but let’s give it a chance. Aaaand I’m a father of two now. Mandatory fam pic as follows (wife Malin, daughter Vilja, son Max and me).