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The secret relationship between content and DevOps

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I’ve had the opportunity to be a guest on the Adventures in DevOps podcast twice now. Both times got me thinking about the importance of people and, in turn, the hidden role of content in DevOps. There’s far more than technical documentation in the relationship between content and DevOps.

Let’s take a look:

Content helps sell DevOps internally

DevOps just doesn’t affect your developers and operations people. It can have a ripple effect across your business. So much so that you will need to sell DevOps internally to your teams and management. Expectations about DevOps may vary widely. Experience with DevOps is going to differ too. Creating content enables you to communicate the value proposition of DevOps to your stakeholders.

After years of writing about DevOps and seeing it disrupts the commercial and public sectors, I always advise organizations to define DevOps for themselves before their vendors do it. Do a Google search on DevOps definition; vendor definitions of DevOps dominate the first page of search results.

Defining DevOps through content is more than just writing down a definition, filing it in a shared folder, and being done with it. Instead, it’s about developing content that explains the changes to how people work and tell a story of the benefits that DevOps brings.

Teams moving to DevOps can also create content to tell stories about their successes and, more critically, the lessons they learned on their way to DevOps.

A DevOps journey requires content

The road to DevOps is a journey for even functional organizations. Beyond selling DevOps to the stakeholders, it’s essential to use content to chart your DevOps journey, including your successes and setbacks.

A well-charted DevOps journey using content such as narrative content and diagrams you create in LucidChart or Miro can help remove the abstraction from DevOps in the eyes of stakeholders who may be suspicious of such a change.

DevOps training for your technologists

Today’s remote DevOps teams deserve more than an oral history of how your DevOps tools and processes run. Content is integral to internal DevOps training. Training content should join your DevOps toolchains.

Part of any DevOps training should also be documenting your lessons learned. Integrating DevOps training into your toolchains is another option using content you create in-house, from tool vendors or third-party training providers, for just-in-time training.

DevOps training for your business stakeholders

The transformative nature of DevOps travels outside of IT into most parts of the business. You need content to help drive that transformation home to business stakeholders across your business. Expectations and definitions of done will undoubtedly change for them, so you need to equip them with information that maps out the new way of working.

Setting expectations with sales and, in turn, your customers

DevOps can help reinvigorate your sales cycle and make you more competitive. With 39% of DevOps adoptions stuck in the middle, according to Puppet’s 2021 State of DevOps Report, talking about DevOps as part of your sales story can gain importance. Customers want a vendor who can deliver on features and commit to a product roadmap that provides.

Your sales enablement materials should capture the value of DevOps to your organization’s product or solutions development. You should also communicate how to get customer feature requests into your development lifecycle via a documented process. Putting such processes in writing is the first step to enforcing a replicable and enforceable process, saving your teams from unnecessary distractions from the business.

Final thoughts

As DevOps evolves, so must the content that supports it. Thus it’s best to factor content development in as part of your DevOps journey and transformation to educate your teams better and promote collaboration and communications. Hence, your organization reaps the full benefits of DevOps.

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