Leadership lessons through accelerated change
As the culture of DevOps flourishes, with organisations adopting its fundamentals and rapidly demolishing traditional IT siloes to develop faster with greater efficiency, incipient challenges exist in managing and leading this change process. Keeping the business running, continually improving efficiencies in existing processes while lending support to strategic initiatives is still crucial, but so is building a much greater multi-skilled and faceted engineering culture, unencumbered by traditional processes and management hierarchies. Achieving aspirational goals of providing ephemeral innovation environments to rapidly capitalise on new competitive advantages, re-invigorate Product Delivery with faster and more efficient development and architecture practices, presents fundamental challenges to management roles as does the desire to nurture and grow stronger leadership roles to establish the sense of urgency needed to take advantage of these opportunities.
At Seek we have been on our DevOps transformation for a number of years, a total of 6 if we go right back to the beginning. Amongst the many success stories that first began to emerge from when we changed our business from solely focusing on marketing and strategy to that of a product and technology company, has been the incredible growth. From a technology perspective we release faster than ever before (well over 1000 times a month into Production) and on the business side record profits and international expansion through acquisition have accelerated.
However last year it became apparent that as our workforce has doubled in size and our embracement of DevOps as a Culture been so immersive, the very way in how we focus on developing and evolving our people, processes and technology has fundamentally changed. This fundamental change has in turn confronted the very nature of how we consider what are the right ways to effectively lead and manage our technology teams. Traditional techniques and processes specifically targeted at restricting and controlling what people do, and the manner in which they do it, through a culture incentivised against risk and failure no longer works. This change has forced us to look inwards, deeply, at how we lead teams of engineers, guide their work, nurture talent and creativity in order to keep people engaged and motivated as we face competitive threats greater than ever before
This talk will present on how we have faced these challenges, the strategies we have adopted to lead the way through the chaos and ultimately what we are doing to sustain momentum and development without falling into bad habits. Like our previous talks this is a candid, real-world discussion on the difficult decisions many of us have had to face during this process, including the speaker, to understand what it truly means to be a good leader through developing a greater awareness of emotional intelligence while still being able to maintain a strategic focus on the outcomes and value our teams provide as they evolve and change with us.
Outline/Structure of the Case Study
Interactive 35-40 minute presentation developed using Focusky
This talk is an honest and compelling discussion on how we have seen traditional technology management roles lose their value in a post-DevOps world. Embracing rapidly accelerating rates of change and ever-increasing urgency now requires more adaptive, scientific and people-focused skills in leadership than we have seen in the past. It is our hope that the audience can more readily identify and adapt to these challenges as they work within organisations that are evolving rapidly into digital, data-driven businesses
Leaders and those with aspirations to take on lead positions in technology roles
People that have read books by Simon Sinek, Laszlo Bock and John Kotter will grasp certain concepts faster and (hopefully) can challenge the ideas and concepts presented during questions as well.
For others it would simply be to come with an open mind and take on board any of the learnings and messages that we have identified as being important through this evolution. The content is not tech-heavy but tech questions are certainly welcomed