Ranger4 DevOps Blog

DevOps Leadership

Posted by Helen Beal on Tue, Jun 4, 2019 @ 11:06 AM

The DevOps Institute (DOI) will be releasing V2.0 of their DevOps Leader course imminently. As an instructor, it's my favourite course to deliver and I've thoroughly enjoyed participating in the update along with many other global DOI REPs and instructors - it's been receiving fantastic feedback. Some have described the new version as 'dense' or 'meaty' but I like to think of it as rich. The course is designed for people who are leading DevOps evolutions or transformations - either within their own organisations or acting as coaches or consultants for their client organisations.

The focus of the new version has been in a number of areas:

  • Updating the format of the courseware to include the new (also incrementally improved) look and feel we first saw in V3.0 of the DOI's DevOps Foundation course released in the summer of 2018 and again in the Continuous Delivery Architecture course early this year
  • The new format is also modular - each of eight modules includes:
    • A real world case story: DevOps Leader V2.0 includes case stories from Royal Bank of Scotland, British Army, BTPN Bank, Westpac, Allianz, Kaiser Permanente, Barclays and BMO Financial Group
    • A video: notable new inclusions include The Backwards Brain Bicycle with Dustin Sandlin, The Puzzle of Motivation with Dan Pink, Techno-Economic Paradigm Shifts with Carlotta Perez and Greatness with David Marquet
    • Interactive discussions around topics such as leadership styles, DevOps backlogs, behaviours that need to change, target states, avoiding measure to target and focusing on outcomes
    • Exercises including Value Stream Mapping, lean canvases, story-telling, describing Target Operating Models and defining awesome - the course concludes with my favourite exercise of all; a chance to write yourself an email to be received in the future!
    • End of module quizzes
  • Two new sample exams
  • A comprehensive Value Added Resources document including links to all of the materials referred to in the course as well as a number of DevOps engineering blogs and books referenced such as The DevOps Handbook, Unlearn, Beyond the Phoenix Project, DevOps for the Modern Enterprise, Flow, Value Stream Mapping, Reinventing Organizations and Your Brain at Work
  • A master glossary including definitions for terms used in all of the DOI courses
  • The course also includes a ton of new tools, building on what was introduced in the DevOps Foundation course - the tools have been chosen to help guide DevOps leaders as they drive change and support discovery and empowerment - I'm going to look at a few in more detail now:

Bateson Stakeholder Map

When people are working on bringing new ways of thinking and new ways of working to an organisation, there will naturally be some people more open and ready for the change than others who will be more resistant - as we learned looking at the change curve in the DevOps Foundation course. It's an important skill for a DevOps Leader to be able to identify their supporters and early adopters and this tool builds on the change curve and provides a method for thinking through who sits where by mapping individuals (or teams) against their Level of Understanding and their Level of Emotional Engagement. Users of the tool map their stakeholders into one of the six categories: critics, cynics, spectators, unengaged, ambassadors and enthusiasts. From there, activities can be planned to target the most receptive stakeholders and tactics devised for elevating stakeholders through the categories during the DevOps evolution. This version of the tool comes from Ranger4's very own Philippa Hale - you can read more about what she has to say about it here.

Kolb's Learning Styles

The course is heavily involved with how humans learn and unlearn and this tool helps DevOps Leaders understand how learners experience learning from a cognitive perspective. Kolb asserts that learning involves the acquisition of abstract concepts that can be applied flexibly in a range of situations. In Kolb’s theory, the impetus for the development of new concepts is provided by new experiences. Again, this is a tool that can be used in practice and importantly, can make sure practice happens and change sticks. Kolb's model offers both a way to understand individual people's different learning styles, and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies to us all.

Karpman Drama Triangle

Building on the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, featured in the DevOps Foundation course, the triangle maps a type of destructive interaction that can occur between people in conflict as developed by psychologist Dr. Stephen Karpman as a social model of human interaction. The triangle breaks the chaos of drama into a scenario with three simple roles: a victim, a persecutor, and a rescuer. User of the tool can become more mindful about what roles are being played when they experience conflict in the workplace, particularly when evolving new ways of working and use an iteration of the triangle, The Power of TED by David Emerald, first published in 2009, to change the dynamic by adopting the roles of creator instead of "victim", challenger to replace persecutor and enlisting (themselves?) as coach instead of rescuer.

Wilber's Quadrants

Wilber's Quadrants is a model that recognises four modes of general approach for human beings. Two axes are used: on one axis people tend towards individuality and on the other, towards an interior view (subjectivity) or an exterior view (objectivity). In his book, ‘Reinventing Organizations’, Frederic Laloux takes Wilber’s Quadrants and modifies them to apply them to organisations rather than individuals - this then, can be used by DevOps Leaders to articulate their current and desired state, identify constraints and challenges and devise experiments for improvements.

Other new topics include:

  • Unlearning
  • Mindset and mental models
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychological safety
  • DevOps for the rest of the organisation
  • Target Operating Models and Organisational Designs
  • Training from the Back of the Room
  • Little's Law
  • World and Conversation Cafes
  • DevOps Kaizen
  • Evolution versus Transformation

The learning outcome for this course is to arm DevOps Leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to drive the new ways of thinking and working in their organisation. It recognises that this is a tough job, requiring seemingly endless reserves of enthusiasm, vision, passion and patience; indeed, the final module of the course is "Maintaining Energy and Momentum'.

The new course is available now from Ranger4 - we have an open programme running in London on 25th and 26th September that you can book here, or you can request a private, onsite course here.

Topics: DevOps Leader, Unlearning, Leadership, Bateson Stakeholder Map, Ways of Working, Ways of Thinking, Learning, Transformational Leadership