The Phoenix Project Simulation + DASA DevOps Coach Certification = Best in Class DevOps Coaches

The DevOps Coach has become a critical role in driving DevOps success and organizational performance. Why? DevOps is a cultural shift towards a new mindset, behaviors, and ways of working. Making this shift is not easy. It requires safety, time, practice, patience, and feedback. Without effective coaching, it is easy to fall back to old ways of working and not realize the hoped-for value from adopting DevOps practices.

The Need for New Skills and Behaviors

Even before COVID-19 emerged, communication and collaboration were already top-scoring DevOps skills needed according to one industry survey. DevOps requires effective end-to-end collaboration bringing different stakeholders together, such as Dev and Ops. These two traditionally don’t always work well together and have conflicting goals, terminology, and ways of working. Nothing new there. DevOps has been around a long time and just last year collaboration was named as a top skill in demand!

These skills became even more important in today’s reality of remote working. This change that has been forced upon us, comes with fear, uncertainty, doubt, frustration, and stress. Learning to communicate and collaborate remotely and also learning to adopt and apply DevOps practices remotely is a huge challenge.

A popular Forbes article by Bruce Rogers claims that 84% of all Digital Transformations fail for reasons that go beyond technology. The research he reports contributed to the belief that all successful transformations address how people think, interact, collaborate, and work together.

Accelerating DevOps Journeys with DASA DevOps Coach

Coaching professionals and teams to adopt DevOps ways of working and understanding the underlying principles is where DASA DevOps Coaches make a difference. The DASA DevOps Coach is working at the customer site to enable and sustain DevOps transformations. DASA DevOps Coach is the go-to program for professionals who are helping team members and other stakeholders in the organization to apply DevOps concepts and principles.

This certification provides the theory and practical insights required to Coach the organization to meet its full DevOps potential. A wide number of DevOps experts have already expressed the positive impact of this course.

The numerous The Phoenix Project Simulations carried out by GamingWorks and their partners have reinforced our view of the importance of the DevOps Coach role in a team. These experiences have shown that regardless of where an organization is in its DevOps journey, an experienced DevOps Coach is needed to ensure good collaboration is in place.

The Value of Business Simulations

Business simulations can add an extra layer of experiential learning on top of the existing case studies, exercises, interactions that are already part of the DASA DevOps Coach program. Simulations provide a great way to practice, in a safe environment, either remotely or face-to-face. The simulation can be added as an extra day or half-day onto the classroom or virtual classroom DASA DevOps Coach course.

Course attendees can take turns in playing the coach role and put the concept learned in the DASA DevOps Coach program in practice. An alternative approach may be to incorporate elements or rounds of the simulation into the course itself adding theory at the start of each round and during the reflection moments at the end of each round. This helps to bring in the relevant theory to match learning discoveries from the simulated exercise.

Complementing DASA DevOps Coach with The Phoenix Project Simulation

In a series of global online The Phoenix Project workshops, Jan Schilt and some of our global DASA training partners have helped delegates of diverse professional backgrounds gain new insights into the very much needed DevOps skills and competencies mentioned above. DASA DevOps Coaches interested in business simulations could benefit from some additional experience related to topics such as the ones that follow. These are just a few key discoveries and takeaways that Jan got from delegates from across the globe.

  • Teams often need somebody to tell them what to do. Taking ownership of continual learning and improving, prioritizing work, facilitating retrospectives is not easy or natural. This requires support, coaching, mentoring, and challenging teams and individuals to practice, experiment, and stimulate feedback.
  • It’s important to give the team the time to learn new ways of working. This includes helping them deal with the frustration, uncertainty, and possible fear of new roles, responsibilities, skills, and new behaviors – especially new online behaviors.
  • Teams often focus on the ‘What’ – driven by technical expertise. They need to be coached to learn the ‘Why’ (why DevOps, why these features, why does it matter) and the ‘How’ (how do we want to collaborate, how will we approach this).
  • Reflecting is difficult. There are many ideas for improvement, but how to prioritize them? How to claim time to work on improvements? Continual learning and improvement needs practice and feedback while teams need coaching and help.
  • Teams have a tendency to work in silos – they get bogged down doing their own thing, and end up multi-tasking as they get pressure from upstream and downstream demands relating to other silos’ work. Coaches need to help teams experiment and practice single piece flow, feedback, and iteratively improvement.
  • Making sure everyone is engaged and heard by actively asking for input, feedback, suggestions is crucial.
  • Teams often adopt ‘TO DO’, ‘DOING’, ‘DONE’ as an instrumental approach to building a KanBan or visualization board. They often need coaching to understand how to visualize to gain situational awareness, make effective decisions, prioritize work based on value, identify impediments, constraints, and areas to improve as well as identify dependencies.
  • Coaching a team is difficult. How do you prepare for the coaching and decide on what topics to tackle without telling the team what they need to improve? How to coach during the execution of the work without getting in the way? How to coach during reflection without taking over?

DevOps coaching is a core capability to enable and sustain a transformation to DevOps’ ways of working. It’s evident that experienced DevOps Coaches are needed to ensure the successful adoption of DevOps principles.

Developing high performing teams is like developing sports teams. It’s all about practice, practice, and practice. It’s not something that you suddenly “have” from one day to the other. This applies to both technique (DevOps skills) and behaviors (communication and team working). That’s why best in class DevOps Coaches may very well be the ones who complement their DASA DevOps Coach certification with The Phoenix Project Simulation. Such DevOps Coaches have the knowledge and experience of observing, giving feedback, and coaching teams. This makes them top athletes in collaboration skills.

Are you interested in integrating The Phoenix Project on your DASA DevOps Coach certification? Contact DASA directly for more information.

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Paul Wilkinson

Owner / Director, GamingWorks

Paul is the co-founder of GamingWorks, a simulation training company based in the Netherlands and a DASA Training Partner. He has been involved in the…