Jul 18, 2017 | 3 min read

Transformational IT Leaders Embrace a DevOps Culture

By: Patrick Emmons

Transformational IT Leaders Embrace a DevOps Culture

The term “DevOps” pops up frequently in IT, but there is a lot of confusion and misconception about what it really is. DevOps goes beyond being a process or tool that someone can license, buy or install: it’s a culture built from a combination of ideas, philosophies, and practices that allow organizations to deliver applications and services at a high velocity.

One way to understand DevOps is using the “CAMS” acronym:

  • Culture: DevOps culture involves putting people and business processes first.
  • Automation: Once an understanding of how people work in an organization is in place, the next step is to start automating processes to improve efficiency.
  • Measurement: Measuring key performance and process metrics is essential to knowing where DevOps is working and where it's still necessary to improve.
  • Sharing: DevOps culture encourages people to share problems and ideas to solve them.

An alternative way to look at DevOps is using the idea of “ICE,” which stands for using inclusion, complexity, and empathy to create an environment that improves communication between everyone involved with a product. For example, ICE connects programmers and system administrators to marketing and finance professionals while finding ways to tackle complex systems and understanding the needs of users and customers.

Business Benefits of a DevOps Culture

Creating a DevOps culture helps break down departmental silos that hinder the immediate and continuous deployment of 99.99 software. DevOps and Agile complement each other since Agile involves tearing down the wall between business and IT. The ultimate goal of DevOps is to deliver applications rapidly, reliably, and according to the highest priority needs of users.

Improving organizational communication helps to ensure the most efficient use of resources to deliver a viable product. This can only occur when there is a culture of open communication, collaboration, transparency, and empowerment amongst all departments (not just development and operations).

IT Leadership Attributes That Drive Change

DevOps requires a cultural shift. It begins with having an engaged leader who can guide others to embrace the DevOps principles. Here are some of the key attributes of a transformational leader, as outlined in the “2017 State of DevOps Report.

1. Vision

Leaders must know where their organization as a whole is heading. They should have a clear vision of the organization's goals for the next five years.

2. Inspirational Communication

Transformational leaders must be able to communicate in a way that inspires and motivates their team. They should convey their message clearly even when the environment is changing rapidly.

3. Intellectual Stimulation

The best leaders challenge those who follow them to think about problems in new ways. This approach can lead to innovative solutions.

4. Supportive Leadership

As well as leading and inspiring their followers, leaders also need to offer support. People working in IT have personal needs that management must address to allow them to work at their best.

5. Personal Recognition

When people perform well, leaders should recognize their achievements. A personal approach is often best; leaders should directly praise people who have done outstanding work.


Generating a high-trust culture that supports experimentation and innovation is key to embracing DevOps and reaping the rewards. Without a culture change, this movement is not effective. People must overcome confusion and cynicism around DevOps and fully embrace its principles to ensure success.

What are you doing to develop a DevOps vision in your organization? DragonSpears has a proven process to help IT leaders become transformational. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

About Patrick Emmons

If you can’t appreciate a good sports analogy, movie quote, or military reference, you may not want to work with him, but if you value honesty, integrity, and commitment to improvement, Patrick can certainly help take your business or your career to the next level. “Good enough,” is simply not in his vernacular. Pat’s passion is for relentlessly pushing himself and others to achieve full potential. Patrick Emmons is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. Patrick co-founded Adage Technologies in 2001 and in 2015, founded DragonSpears as a spin-off dedicated to developing custom applications that improve speed, compliance and scalability of clients’ internal and customer-facing workflow processes. When he is not learning about new technology, running a better business, or becoming a stronger leader, he can be found coaching his kids’ (FIVE of them) baseball and lacrosse teams and praising his ever-so-patient wife for all her support.