Meet Mr. Barker, IT Manager

Bio: Male, age 45, hails from London, England
Twenty years in IT services and support with a MBA and IT degrees

Mr. Barker is one of our key characters in our upcoming book, he is also a key stakeholder and decision maker for a DevOps adoption and agile transformation program at his company. Mr. Barker is notorious for his command and control management style and he loves to let people know when they royally screwed up. He is a no-nonsense, intelligent and a slightly closed off kind of personality however he works very hard and likes to deliver quality. Mr. Barker is a loyal chap and wants to impress his Boss Mr. Maverick the CIO and thus he is willing to jump in with both feet to impress and stay in his Bosses’ good graces, which leads to sometimes getting over his head and Mr. Barker never admitting to making a mistake.

Mr. E. J. Barker

A story about Mr. Barker (this is for context for an upcoming article on opensource.com, May 2019, entitled “5 values for the DevOps Mindset”). Perhaps you can relate to this story… one of several I am sure we will add over the course of the development of the book in 2019.

Why we need a DevOps mindset, a Mr. Barker tale

It was 5:30 pm, Mr. Barker the IT Director, was finishing up his monthly report in front of the leadership team when the Marketing Director Ms. Sellit, interrupted him.  “You promised us the last three months we would have our marketing digital channel up and running.”  “I know, I know,” said Mr. Barker, with all the strength he could muster “We have been dealing with many disruptions, new mobile phones, new security updates to our products and data compliance demands.”  “You mean, to say,” Ms. Sellit said callously, “You are too busy to keep up! I thought your teams were agile and we started this DevOps thing.”  Mr. Barker winced, Ms. Sellit continued, “Which none of us understand and now performance seems worse? “That’s not true!” said Mr. Barker raising his voice, “we have increased our overall performance and quality at least 20%, despite continued delays from your team!”, he said defensively, “our customers are demanding more from us, faster and better than our competition,” said Ms. Sellit, and the rest of the Directors all nodded profusely.  

Wow, Mr. Barker and his stakeholders are facing a dilemma, the need to change how they work, to deal with disruptive processes like time to market, and technologies which are changing at a rapid pace.  Unfortunately, terms like Agile and DevOps are “overloaded” & “oversold” that is they mean different things to everyone, and because of this, the definition and complexity behind the rationale of using these terms means many terms are dependent on context.  Many folks in both Business and IT turn to the easier conversation around the “silver bullet” as the answer such as a particular technology, framework of the month, or other tool that can be purchased; or worse yet created from scratch.  Thus, the ongoing problem of leadership and middle management, not facing the hard questions which, lies in having critical conversations means we are missing the mindset, rationale and enablement required for changing how we work.  This is an ongoing, long term roadmap of improvements that enables agility, brings teams and silos together by increasing collaboration across the enterprise.  

The first step to adopting Agile & DevOps is the learning, practicing and sharing the mindset, why? Without first understanding why and how we work, the way we work, we won’t make much traction in our ability to improve IT delivery, service, support and keep up with the only constant, change!

Link to article forthcoming… stay tuned!


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