DevOps is one of the most powerful weapons that CIOs have in their arsenal. DevOps unites the entire enterprise in delivering business transformation with superior customer experience. Companies like Target, Capital One, Walmart, ING, Nordstrom, Netflix and JetBlue are already reaping the benefits. In order to unlock the promise of DevOps, CIOs must lead the call for cultural change.

As any leader knows, changing institutionalized behavior is the toughest of all management challenges and CIOs are understandably skeptical of new trends.  Despite this, CIOs must recognize when a trend becomes an imperative for survival. DevOps has become this imperative, and CIOs must act now. CIOs who embrace the DevOps challenge must first fostera culture of collaboration and learning, then enable their people with the right tools to drive holistic life-cycle automation. Those who meet this challenge won’t just beat their competitors — they will decimate them.

CIOs must replace traditional linear thinking with Agile thinking.

Effective DevOps requires the fusion of dev and ops, into teams that are product (or solution) based.  Product teams will own the complete product life cycle.  This reorganization resolves the issue of automation only taking place within technology silos.

Automation across the complete life cycle will drive velocity, and integration across the life cycle will remove human error, reducing risk while driving enhanced quality of service.

Eradicate blame, replace with learning

DevOps pros have all attended those post mortems where we look for the scapegoat and add additional processes to prevent the next failure. Over time, these processes build up, adding layers of bureaucracy and introducing delays. These processes rarely equate to future value, and undermine confidence in DevOps initiatives and people.

The fundamental principle of DevOps is trust. Teams learning to trust one another while working together in a learning culture that uses failure as an opportunity to learn and drive value.  In this type of collaborative environment, a production failure will lead to a change in the code and the automated testing regime. This safeguard ensures that mistakes aren’t repeated, and that changes to production systems are delivered so that any failures can be rapidly rolled back or resolved. This process builds a foundation of learning from past mistakes and encourages the habit of sharing these learnings across the organization.

Replace silos of automation

Automation across the life cycle is critical to success. Currently automation exists within a process, but not across processes. Automation of handoffs and knowledge management suffers from a lack of automation. Removal of human intervention and manual handoffs will be rewarded with decreased release cycle times and greater quality.  For example, your operations team often gets performance management data, yet may struggle to share it with development teams. Creating automated feedback loops ensures that when browser speeds slow, the information will be faithfully channeled to development teams so they can resolve the issue quickly and impact the least customers.

The need for speed and how good DevOps practice translates into customer value are just a few of the points in the Forrester report: “DevOps: The CIO’s Guide To Velocity.”