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March 26, 2019

Internal DevOpsDays: Accelerating Your DevOps Cultural Transformation

Internal DevOpsDays introduces DevOps to a wider audience, showcases team projects, reinforces collaborative problem solving, and encourages Technology Transformation.

An Internal DevOpsDays (IDOD) is a conference an organization hosts for its employees to showcase the work of those who are working boots-on-the-ground. It empowers practitioners to share their work, problem solve, and collaborate with peers. A strong theme tied to the conference allows leadership to create a “rally cry,” helping to motivate employees toward accomplishing organizational goals and strengthening the connection between goals and results. An IDOD creates a surge of excitement and motivation for attendees, and the results show in the delivery of the work they produce.

Goals of an Internal DevOpsDays

What Are the Benefits of an Internal DevOpsDay?

Imagine it's the kickoff of conference season, and you, as a leader in your organization, can handpick only a few team members to attend the next big conference. Do you choose the engineer who just delivered the latest innovation? Do you pick the tester who needs to learn the newest automation practice? Do you offer to send your product owner so they can learn how your teams follow internal practices and procedures?

A picture of Dojo participants raising their hands with the caption "Who do you choose?"

Why not choose everyone? Hosting an Internal DevOpsDays gives an organization the opportunity to share knowledge across the entire organization in an engaging, interactive, and collaborative way. Each attendee has the opportunity to take something away from the conference, whether it’s learning new information, solving a problem, or networking. An IDOD brings excitement that lasts from the first impression and continues long after the conference is over.

The purpose of an Internal DevOpsDays is to build a shared community of practice where, together, teams can create a foundation for a common language of agile, lean, and DevOps. The community is striving to get better together and get rid of bad habits. The biggest takeaways from an IDOD are intangibles for the company, which include the ability to:

  • Build a technology brand
  • Share on social media
  • Discuss DevOps and attract talent
  • Build a sense of community

Cultural Transformation

“DevOps is a Culture. It's not a team. It's not just Dev and Ops magically coming together. It is a Culture. The best way for a culture to form or re-form is to emulate the practices, behaviors, and mindsets that you want to cultivate and grow.” ~ Christine Sills, “Enterprise Transformation and Culture

Cultural transformation starts at the top of an organization and works its way down. An Internal DevOpsDays allows leadership to prioritize raising up practitioners. Change begins when leadership empowers practitioners.

The IDOD has a structure and flow that support the culture you want to build. The event setup encourages practitioners to focus on innovation, problem-solving, collaboration, visibility, and knowledge. Setting up practitioners for success leads to attendee excitement and motivation well after the event has ended. Weeks and months after the event, attendees are actively practicing takeaways from the conference. Book clubs, active use of new terminology, and implementation of better practices are primary examples of actions that occur after an IDOD event.

Tips for a Success Internal DevOpsDays

A dynamic and interactive schedule is critical for an Internal DevOpsDays. We recommend using the following schedule as a reference for your event. (The schedule can be adjusted depending on the number of attendees.)*

An example Internal DevOpsDays schedule

*A small IDOD is attended by fewer than 350 people; a large IDOD is attended by more than 350 people.

The following activities are recommended to encourage higher engagement with the attendees.

Ignite Talks

Speedy, 5-minute, 20-slide Ignite Talk presentations focus on Agile developments, examples of DevOps innovation, failures and success stories, and organizational culture.

Lean Coffee

Lean Coffee gatherings usually focus on set topics and encourage discussion and collaborative brainstorming and problem-solving. Sample topics include moving from project to product, quality framework as a service, transformational leadership, overcoming workflow inefficiencies, getting business buy-in, continuous compliance, and modernizing IT operations in the age of DevOps.

The Lean Coffee meeting facilitation technique.

Open Spaces

Open Spaces is a “conference within a conference” moment where attendees select the topics that interest them and then meet to talk through those topics. Parallel open spaces sessions might include discussions of technical dilemmas, current tasking, and common DevOps practices.

An open spaces whiteboard with topics to discuss on posit notes.

Next Steps

Well-organized Internal DevOpsDays events are extremely popular and often have widespread attendance throughout the engineering and business organization. The event gives organizational leadership and other stakeholders a window into the DevOps transformation taking place and tends to increase organizational buy-in. Hosting an Internal DevOpsDays is the first step in your cultural transformation.

Want to learn more about coordinating an Internal DevOpsDays for your organization? To receive a copy of our Internal DevOpsDays flyer, reach out and use the Subject “Send me the IDOD flyer”.

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