8 Steps to prepare your team for a DevOps platform migration

Aug 16, 2022 · 4 min read
Sharon Gaudin GitLab profile

When organizations are getting ready to move to a DevOps platform, taking the time to get IT teams prepped for the migration will mean people can make the transition with more confidence and efficiency.

By replacing a complicated mix of DevOps tools with a single, end-to-end DevOps platform, you are about to change the way people work in a fundamental way. That will bring many benefits, like cutting tool-management costs, increasing security, speeding software creation and deployment, and replacing silos with a collaborative environment. But any kind of change can create anxiety. By reaching out to people as part of your migration prep, managers can calm those stresses, create champions for the adoption, and ease the work that’s to come.

Let’s look at what IT leaders can do to ease this transition for everyone.

Build buy-in

Starting at the VP and CIO level, create organization-wide buy-in for this migration. This will be a wide-reaching project so everyone from the C-suite on down needs to be on board. Help them understand the importance of making this move. It’s not about adding a new tool – it’s about improving the way software development works overall, so make sure everyone is invested from the beginning. “Management and DevOps teams both need to understand that not migrating will ultimately take up more time and energy because they’d be forced to continue time-consuming glue work and duct taping to keep the toolchain stitched together," says Brendan O’Leary, staff developer evangelist at GitLab. “People will be doing a lot less of that after a migration.”

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Find champions

Early in the process, find your innovators and migration champions. Talk with people on every team to figure out who is excited about adopting a DevOps platform. These people will be critical. Empower them to lead the charge by allowing them to be the first to migrate with your full, visible support. Then their migration successes will serve as inspiration for those less excited to make the move.

Ease tension

Remember that change makes people nervous and be sensitive to that. Get ahead of any anxieties by laying out how continuing on with their existing (and ever-expanding) toolchains will only suck up more of their time and efforts because they’ll have to remain focused on juggling a tangle of tools, instead of actually turning plans into software. Toolchains are not the fun part of their jobs, and they’ll be letting go of that.

Set expectations

Talk with workers about what this will mean for them individually. Reassure them that this does not mean their jobs will be eliminated. However, it will change their day-to-day responsibilities since they’ll be doing less feeding and watering of disparate tools. That will give them more time to take on bigger, more valuable and more interesting projects. Developers, in particular, want to work on projects that matter. Decreasing the toolchain red tape will be a huge step towards increased job satisfaction.

Define roles

Not everyone on every team will work on the migration. Some will need to keep software development and deployment moving along, while others work on the adoption. Make it clear to individual team members what their roles will be. They’ll automatically be more at ease if it’s clear what their migration responsibilities will be.

Plan for training

Assure everyone there will be training. They won’t just be thrown into the deep end of the pool. Make sure they know you will be setting them up for success.

Create sample projects

Fatima Sarah Khalid, a developer evangelist at GitLab, says that even before a migration even begins, managers should ensure their team members are ready to use a DevOps platform to do everything from planning to testing, and pushing software iterations through to production. “Managers should think about having a sample project set up with issues and epics. Set up workflows and merge requests. Run it all through,” says Khalid. “Getting hands-on experience before the migration will get rid of anyone’s fear that they’ll break something.”

Lay out the benefits

Make sure everyone understands the benefits of using a DevOps platform:

By preparing teams to make the move to a DevOps platform, the entire migration process will be easier and more efficient. For more information on transitioning to an end-to-end platform, check out this ebook.

“Is it time to move to a DevOps platform? Here's how to make the migration seamless” – Sharon Gaudin

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