Solving the tough problems, Develop the Passion in your Team

Mike Manos wrote a post on DevOps.

This is just lost on so many companies / organizations…


Having experienced nearly all of the pain and desire one could have in trying to scale out applications, operations, and infrastructure, I have become a huge proponent of blending efforts between Development with Operations.   Additionally I think the blend should include lower level stuff like facilities as well.  The entire online paradigm fundamentally changes how the problem space should be viewed.

With Concepts like NoOps, DevOps, and the like becoming fashionable in the Development community its probably no surprise that these issues are being addressed from people’s own comfort spaces.  To a development engineer – those Ops folks are crusty and cranky.   To an Operations engineer those darn developers don’t really code for long term operations.   Its always the ‘throw the code over the wall’ and the Ops folks will make it work mentality.   In reality both sides are right.

One other part I would like to add to the problem of DevOps is whether you have a team who is passionate to work on the problems.  The tough problems.

It is so easy to have really smart people who think they know the right thing.  Designing the system, picking the hardware and software, the team that will deploy it, then hand the operations over to people who inherit the smart decisions made.  DevOps changes this approach as the people who make the design decisions operate the system.  This is not the standard practice as there is typically a heirarchy where the higher people make the design decisions and the lower people operate based on the decisions. This system can work, but it can be more expensive than a DevOps model.

DevOps is getting more popular, but what I don't hear many talk about is focusing on finding the people who have a passion for DevOps.  Here is a post that discusses finding top talent, and the role of passion.

As a manager, you can leverage the link between passion and creativity by following two guidelines:

First, hire for passion as much as for talent.If you don’t look for passion in the people you hire, you could end up with employees who never engage deeply enough to dazzle you with their creative productivity. As Conant advises, get to know potential hires for important positions as thoroughly as possible, long before you might have an opening for them. When you talk to them, ask why they do what they do, what disappointments they’ve had, what their dream job would be. Look for fire in their eyes as they talk about the work itself, and a listen for a deep desire to do something that hasn’t been done before. When you talk to their references, watch for mentions of passion.

Second, nourish that passion.Unfortunately, standard management approaches often (unwittingly) end up dousing passion and killing creativity. But keeping it alive isn’t rocket science. We have found that the single most important thing you can do to fuel intrinsic motivation is to support people’s progress in the work that they are so passionate about. This isthe progress principle, and it applies even to the seemingly minor small winsthat can lead to great breakthroughs. You can use the progress principle by understanding what progress and setbacks your people are experiencing day by day, getting at the root causes, and doing whatever you can to remove the inhibitors and enhance the catalysts to progress.

Two of my good friends I talk to almost every day have a passion for DevOps, and I regularly look for people who have a passion for Operations.

I knew looking at Mike Manos's post on the DevOps there is a missing part.  Passion.  Actually, for any of you know Mike there is no lack of passion in Mike.  He just didn't happen to write about it in this post.

Here is a post where Mike discussions Passion in relation to our dear departed friend Olivier Sanche.

As we sat in a room full of  ‘experts’  to discuss the future of our industry, the conversation quickly turned controversial.  Passions were raised and I found myself standing side by side with this enigmatic French giant on numerous topics.  His passion for the space coupled with his cool logic were items that endeared me greatly to the man.  We were comrades in ideas, and soon became fast friends.

Olivier was the type of person who could light up a room with his mere presence.   It was as if he embraced the entire room in one giant hug even if they were strangers.  He could sit quietly mulling a topic, pensively going through his calculations and explode into the conversation and rigorously debate everyone.  That passion never belied his ability to learn, to adapt, to incorporate new thinking into his persona either.  Through the years we knew each other I saw him forge his ideas through debate, always evolving.

Hope this gets you thinking of how some of the best people have passion for their jobs.