On the eve of Shakespeare’s birthday, there was a local event to commemorate the great artist’s work. Being the eternal curious, I checked-in to get a quick understanding of the genius, only to be amazed on how well I already knew one of his worlds – “The Taming of the Shrew”.
As the play introduced the characters and built the storyline, I realised that this is exactly what I do in consulting with Enterprises across the world – share strategies to “tame” (institutionalise) the Shrew (DevOps) in the family (Enterprise)!!
Let me elucidate this wondrous world by briefing about the characters and how I discern their parlance in our software world:
Meet Baptista, the Father who wants to get his daughter successfully married off into prosperity. And is willing to go the miles to do so.
I see him as the Business Owner, who wants to successfully drive his business into profits, by bringing in Agile and DevOps. They are willing to follow through on the grind, because the sight is set on the welcome outcomes.
This is Katherine, the daughter, who is penchant about her current lifestyle and strictly averse to marriage. Her hostility toward suitors particularly distresses her father.
She seems to represent the Associates/Employees adapt to their current ways of working and averse to any change. And this aversion has seen even the best-intentioned changes initiated by the Business Owners fail.
Then, there is Bianca, Katherine’s sister, who ultimately falls in love and elopes for marriage. She is soft-spoken, sweet, and unassuming and has a love for life and all things beautiful.
She is the DevOps Champion, who will find innovative means of sparking genuine interest in the transformation journey and ultimately ensuring the “marriage” is successful. She will openly embrace anything that will fill her life with more love and joy.
And of course, there’s our Hero, Petruchio, who uses all the tricks of the trade, and more to “tame” the “Shrew”. He deprives Kathrine of lavish food and comforts, stating that his humble means are just not good enough for her. And that triggers Katherine’s transformation, over a period of time.
This is of course, Zensar, who’s world class consultants have “tamed” the most challenging digital transformations all across the world!!!
Now that we understand the indicative characters, let’s postulate the 3 themes of Taming the Shrew – or undergoing a successful DevOps implementation across the Enterprise:
- Resistance is the first step to change
When Petruchio and Katherine meet for the first time, their interaction goes thus:
“Petruchio: Come, come, you wasp, i’faith you are too angry.
Katherine: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
Petruchio: My remedy is then to pluck it out.
Katherine: Ay, if the fool could find where it lies.”
As the DevOps transformation journey is initiated, the first things we hear are often the sounds of resistance:
This will not work in our Environment
This is how we’ve always done it
But, we are different !!!
And when we, as Consultants, ask the right questions to the right people and dig deeper, often times the resistance gives way to ground realities and practical challenges. Because all good people want good things.
2. Not everything can and should be automated or modernised
Nothing comes amiss, so money comes withal
– Grumio, scene II
Petruchio is mocked that he will be willing to marry any woman, no matter how ugly or old, for enough money.
One of the critical decisions during DevOps transformation across an Enterprise is what to automate or modernise. The lure of going “Big Bang, let’s change everything” must be treaded with caution. Just because certain tasks are mundane or in older technologies does not automatically qualify them for change. The effort of transformation vs return has be to weighed in – an ROI analysis carried out.
3.Culture is critical
Do as adversaries do in law, — Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
– Tranio, scene II
It means be competitive in business (or endeavour) but treat those people you compete with as friends outside of business. Like two opposing lawyers going for drinks after a case is concluded.
I have seen the best tools and technologies not delivering their promised value, unless accepted and adopted by the practitioners. And this requires a top-down and bottom-up approach. An approach that dictates broad adjectives, while building grounds-up momentum through collaborative wisdom.
And so that evening, with my renewed understanding of taming the shrew, I return to the exciting world of Consulting, hopefully a tad wiser and a couple of more strategies up the sleeve!
As they would say – Long live Shakespeare!
About the author:
Savinder Puri is a DevOps Evangelist and Transformation Technology Group (TTG) leader, UK/Europe region.
For the past 19+ years, Savinder Puri has been helping Enterprises across industry verticals to strategise and drive successful business transformations, leveraging cutting edge technologies. Savinder is a recognised figure in the DevOps space and has been representing Zensar Technologies in leading industry events. He is a sought after trusted advisor providing valuable insights and thought leadership to Customers and technology partners.