Friday, April 19, 2019

The Human in Devops

What was significant this week ?

This week a mild epiphany came to me right after a somewhat heated and tense meeting with a team of developers plus project owner of a web project. They were angry and they were not afraid to show it. They were somewhat miffed about the fact that the head wrote them an email pretty much forcing them to participate to make our DevOps initiative a success. All kinds of expletive words were running through my head in relation to describing this team of flabby, tired looking individuals in front of me, which belied the cool demeanour and composure that I was trying so hard to maintain.

It happened. In the spur of the moment I too got engulfed in a sea of negativity and for a few minutes lost site of what is the most important component or pillar in a successful DevOps initiative. The people. 

"What a bunch of mule heads !" I thought. It's as plain as day, once this initiative is a success everybody can go home earlier and everything will be more predictable and we can do much much more than we could before. "Why are you fighting this ?!" I was ready to throw my hands up in defeat when it finally dawned on me.

"Codes that power DevOps projects don't write themselves. People write those code" 
"Without people powering our initiative now, we are just a few guys with a bunch of code and tools that are irrelevant"

Boom! These thoughts hit me like lightning and in that moment I felt and equal measure of wisdom brought by this realisation as well as disgust at my stupidity of forgetting one of the main tenants and requirements to make the dream of a successful DevOps project a success.

It was then I realised 2 very important mistakes I had made so far:

  1. I was reaching out horizontally to push our agenda across. Developers loved what we proposed and that was pretty much it. It's cool and it's cutting edge. It stopped there. "Hey thanks for sharing that cool tool ! I will try it in my project when I get the chance!" is pretty much the maximum you can expect to get from such an exchange. For you to gain any traction, you have got to sell your proposed solution or improvement to the stakeholders or the decision makers. Efforts that usually require people to do the right thing or go out of their way to do some unplanned kindness or rightness usually results in zilch. 
  2. I did not try to see the tool that I was proposing from the eyes of the beholders. It was too much of a leap. Much like how Abraham it's impossible for you to frog leap from sadness to happiness, so it was how the developers felt. They knew it was good for them, they can see it was good for them, they felt it could have the potential to improve their lives but alas they did not internalise it. The proverbial light bulb did not turn on inside of them, more correctly said, I did not do enough to turn that light on. I could see some people opening up, but when this realisation hit me, I just ended the meeting. I have not done enough of understanding where these people that I hoped to implement DevOps were. I had to do that first. 

Do I miss coding ? Do I miss hunkering down and prototyping my way to showcase a tool or to get something to work ? Of course! Who wouldn't but main thing I keep on going back to is ... what is the main goal and expectation of the people who hired me to lead their DevOps push ? Is it to wire together some tools and configure something so they can use it ? At small enough scale probably that is enough of value, but when you want the horses you lead to the puddle to drink you need to give them a reason and just because you are drinking, you can't expect them to follow suit. 

I am going to reach out more, I am going to understand more and I am going to engage more. All the people pieces needs to be in place before the pieces start falling automatically. Stay tuned if this is interesting ... 

Friday, March 15, 2019

DevOps for corporate ?

Implementing a DevOps strategy with your army of one team is most of the the time easy. It's just dependent on the sweat on your brow. A matter of experimentation, glue the pieces together push it out and you are pretty much good to go.

Put in a corporate environment into the mix and add in about a few hundred more people into the mix and you get a pretty interesting mix. Strangely this time around I don't find the exercise exhausting or that much frustrating. I have been struggling and examining my own feelings and comparing to find the difference in the situation this and why don't I feel so restless or frustrated. I think it's a function of growing up and the promise I see in the people that I am helping now. The difference I see with the people now is that they want to change and they feel a need to do so. No question about that.

However add in that dash of fear of the unknown of the new methods and practices and you get a a jumble of wishful thinking and half implemented ideas and visions. Main thing is try not to judge. That is very important. The book "Factfulness" says it best. Try to believe that people are not stupid. Practices or things are a certain way for a reason. Sticking with the belief that people or practices in an organisation is a certain way because people are stupid or stubborn just makes the task or changing or overhauling something in that same organisation so much insurmountable and frustrating for me.

Believing that people inherently want to do the right thing given the chance puts you on a mode of thinking or view that have a much higher chance for success. Then the only thing left are practices or governance that were erected to protect a collective belief or state not because people want to make other people's life harder but usually because they did not know better and were of the belief that the governance or checks will help their current situation.

Now I see a lot of opportunities for improvement and change that can be unlocked via many levels governance unlocked by convincing committees and gatekeepers. I am hopeful and see many opportunities to help and make things better enabling the organisation to move faster than it had before in the past.

Currently reading ...

Saturday, March 2, 2019

A new year and new challenges

It's a new year already. I have this uncharacteristically made some promises to myself. I have set a goal this year to read more, 20 books more to be exact. The promise was solemnised in the goodreads app. So far I am 8 books in and off to a good start, hopefully I keep it up midway and finish strong come December of 2019.

The new year brought about too challenges in looking at some of the things I do daily from a different perspective. It was about at that time too, that I came across this great book called Grit written by Angela Duckworth. Some contents of that book seems to be speaking to me directly and forced me to look back at my own history in some areas with the harsh light of truth.  Sometimes or most often than not stuck in the throes of your own self righteousness of what things you feel that you have been wronged or those who have wronged you, your blinders does not allow you to see the whole truth, or I guess self preservation distorts the truth for you so that you can still get out of bed each day and champion another day of tilting at your windmills.

Some chapters of this book is like a balm or the soothing syrup to the hoarse voice that cries out in my head that I should be constantly jumping around and looking for the next best thing. The voices have died down to a degree until you can say I am only "semi looking" for a good thing now, as in only if something really good comes along I will try out for it. Thinking ahead I would rather leave behind regrets for things I have really gave a good shot to that I failed rather than all half tries which have still lingering hopes in there that I could have triumphed or prevailed if I had stuck to it longer of tried that last great idea I had before I got struck down by the powers that be. Talking about the "powers that be" I think too that I might have been hiding too long behind being mistreated in my jobs or stuck in a job where I was helpless to make a change. I bailed just before things got bad or more accurately before my ideas had time to get bad.

I am going to steer and commandeer this one until I get some results be good or bad to see where it takes me this time. I don't want to leave a legacy of half tried ideas behind. For those of you that want to give this great book a try, you can find the book here, full disclosure it's an affiliate link:

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Will tell you more about this book in my upcoming posts.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Will you never find it ?

Came across this warning article when reading my mail: The problem is, not one thing written there I noticed about the last job except that I was offered the job almost too fast.

I guess the advice to never take a job when you are at a needy place still holds true. When you are at a needy place, you tend to allow the not so desirable traits and warnings to get through because you are just so interested to go. Issues and problems that will eventually become the reason you leave the new place will never seem big enough to deter you from the new place when you are needy. I have lived through where I am a lot but the one thing that still bugs me where I am is the answer I gave my daughter when she asked me "Daddy, what exactly are you looking for ?" which was a surprisingly introspective question and took me aback, taking me quite a few minutes to give her a convincing answer. At last it came to me and the answer is, I just want a company that respects me. A company that respects our time offs and leave and does not judge you through the glass of project achievements. At the end of the day, one that respects you as a human being.

I can find you at least 10 companies that pay lip service to seeing you as human but for that really does this walk I don't know. I have not found it yet. A company or a boss that has a heart.

These kind of companies is not easy to find and it makes me want to laugh when interviewers ask me incredulously why I have been changing companies so often the past few companies. It makes me almost want to scream out to them "Wouldn't you if you were looking for a good fit ?" No matter how many howtos or articles on gaining insights into your new place of work during interviews that you read, I have found that there are still so important clues that you will not like this new place you are going to that you will not be able or is extremely difficult to read during an interview.

How would you want to convince your boss that the culture of working hard which he or she holds on to is not one that you share ?

How would you want to convince your hiring manager that what he or she is currently doing is perhaps not the best management style they adopt ?

These are highly personal traits or visions that people have developed and can't be changed easily or risk you brushing the whole upper echelons of the company the wrong way if you tried and believe me I have tried and failed at this very exercise. 

So, I don't know, I am still looking out for the reasons stated above. There are no conclusions to the thoughts here as I really have no answers or solutions yet. I don't know. I am tired of looking yet when I compare it, it tires me even more to stay where I am, so I continue the search.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Day 6 of water fast


Feel okay today energy level good. The damn side stitch was quite bad today


69 kg - weight seems to have stalled.


Cotton mouth no more. Felt very "empty" at the end of the day and very tempted to go get something to eat.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Day 5 of water fast


Feel okay today energy level good. Strangest part all of the days I don't feel any hunger at all during morning hours.


69 kg


Cotton mouth gone, pain at the side of the ribs remain but less pronounced.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Day 4 of water fast


Feel okay today energy level good




Cotton mouth very pronounced today and mouth feels dry although water intake was increased

Lipid profile (After 3 days of fast):

Total - 13.2
HDL - 2.0
LDL - 11.0
Triglycerides - 0.5
Total / HDL - 6.6