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November 9, 2018

Community Interest in Collaborating on a DevOps Fluency Model

We are beginning to build a DevOps Fluency model for enterprises to identify and articulate the behaviors, benefits, and investment needed to achieve specific outcomes.

At DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES) 2018, Dr. Nicole Forsgren and Jez Humble, coauthors of the book Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations, spoke about how enterprises can become high-performing technology organizations. Something significant stood out in their presentation — Nicole said that Maturity models are dumb! It’s a pretty bold and somewhat controversial statement, but we’re glad that she called it out. I have to say that at Liatrio we couldn’t agree more!

We agree with Nicole and Jez for three primary reasons:

  1. Maturity models give the sense that the transformation journey has an end state, but the reality is that organizations should never stop improving. High-performing organizations have adopted a culture of continuous improvement.
  2. Maturity models tend to be prescriptive and assume that the same progression of maturity from level to level will apply across the enterprise. This is simply not the case, as the landscape is always heterogenous. We believe teams should be able to focus on the capabilities that will bring them the highest value.
  3. Maturity models often focus on technical proficiency rather than on value-based outcomes.

DevOps Fluency Model for Enterprise Transformation

To this effect, we would like to propose something new — and we would like to get input from the larger DevOps community.

In place of a Maturity model, enterprises need a better mechanism to identify and articulate the behaviors, benefits, and investment (cultural changes, time to adapt, and resources) needed to achieve specific outcomes. For this reason, we are beginning to build a DevOps Fluency model for enterprise transformation.

First off, what is a DevOps Fluency model? Drawing from the Agile Fluency model as inspiration, we see a DevOps Fluency model as a non-prescriptive mechanism to allow an organization to choose desired capabilities based on their organizational needs and appetite for change. In a Maturity model, a team succeeds when they achieve the highest possible level of that model. In a DevOps Fluency model, on the other hand, a team becomes fluent when they meet all of capabilities at their target fluency level. These behaviors (proficiencies) hold regardless of the pressures or challenges the team may face.

As an analogy, think of fluency in terms of learning a language. Say I want to learn Spanish. The level of fluency I wish to achieve relates directly to how I intend to use it. If my goal is to be able to travel to Mexico or Spain, order food, and shop in the market, I’ll probably seek language proficiency, and my time and investment will be light. In contrast, if my goal is to move my entire family to Mexico or Spain indefinitely, I’ll want to be completely fluent in Spanish, and I’ll invest much more time and effort.

Collaborate with Us on a New DevOps Fluency Model!

To be fully transparent, we don’t have all the answers. We haven’t built out the model yet, and we would like the help of the DevOps community. As we begin to build a DevOps Fluency model for enterprise transformation, we would like to invite you to collaborate with us:

  • Talk to us 1:1 (confidentially) to see if this idea makes sense.
  • Collaborate with us to build the model out.
  • Help us test out the model.
  • Provide feedback on this approach vs. others.
  • Give us general feedback and send us positive vibes!

In any case, please reach out to one of the Liatrio team members directly by commenting here, find us @liatrio, or email us directly at We look forward to hearing from you!

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