Changing the way you architect, write, and deliver code in a fast-paced agile software development environment is an engineering challenge with few equals. Adaptability is vital for teams to thrive, but changing development strategies is like climbing a tree. It’s critical to know what you’re doing at every step, to educate everyone involved about the physics of the operation, to have a common goal of reaching the top, and to have a plan for when things go sideways.
When it’s time to switch to a new development platform like Docker, the education, and communication surrounding the change are critical to the outcome. Great leaders involve the entire organization in the change process, listening and consulting while providing information to make everyone part of the journey.
Workflow isn’t just about process
Changing the methodology of your development and test organizations affects goals, roles, values, and attitudes. Similarly, climbing a tree requires a clear goal, the right tools, a winning mindset, clear communication with the team, a healthy tree with strong roots, and good weather. Often when organizational change goes wrong, it’s because it’s being treated purely as an implementation of a new process when it’s part of an ecosystem where one small change has a domino effect.
Educate, educate, educate
One of the fundamental principles for implementing change is to manage the education. It will make a huge difference in whether your change initiative is sustainable. When you invest in valuable Docker training for employees, you have the added benefit of professional change agents who can provoke thoughtful discussions about implementation.
Emotional trumps rational when it comes to change
Significant changes can be deeply emotional, and fear can cause you to slip. When an employee’s confidence falters, it threatens their level of safety and security in their role. Employees don’t want to lose valuable skill sets that may reduce their perceived value, and may fear the inability to adapt to the new ways and remain competitive.
Change has to come from the top and reach the bottom
Successful change is approached from every level — the management team, the developers, principal engineers, and the test organization. Successfully climbing a tree requires support from the ground level all the way up to the top. The benefits of a new system must be outlined, employee training must add value, and performance targets should include measurable actions that are specific and realistic.
You need the right tools
You’ll need the right tool belt to climb a tree. Imagine, for instance, a team leader who wants developers to collaborate more, and be more efficient at communicating about test cases and logging bugs. This is a big ask if the developers fundamentally believe that a good software engineer is someone who is primarily good at coding. To profoundly change the culture and the process, the development and test teams need to see the value of a new system.
Failure should be expected
You shouldn’t expect catastrophic failure, but be prepared for setbacks. Climbing a tree happens one foot at a time, and missteps simply reveal what requires attention and energy before the next move upward.
Change is ongoing
When it comes to overhauling your development process, the size of the organization and the size of the change are intertwined. The bigger the tree is, the harder it is to climb. Larger development teams are designed to succeed within the status quo where interdependent strategies and processes exist. Starting change is easy, but finishing and fully implementing change into an existing culture is dependent on strong leadership, clear goals, the right communication and education tools, and fully engaged employees.