The Third Way: Culture of Continual Experimentation and Learning

Gene Kim and others at IT Revolution have described Three Ways: The Principles Underpinning DevOps.

The Third Way is about creating a culture that fosters two things:
  1. Continual experimentation, taking risks and learning from failure; and,
  2. Understanding that repetition and practice are the prerequisites to mastery.


third way
My good friend Doug Barlow recently described to a meeting of Agile Executives the work that his team has been doing at Ancestry.com.  Doug's team was acting on direction from his CTO to get the company's technology onto open source, cloud-based technologies from the proprietary platform in their hosted data center.

Doug was able to build a team of volunteers from both the development and operations sides of the IT organization.  He's the kind of leader who encourages experimentation and risk taking, as well as mastery of technical knowledge and skills to allow the team to recover quickly when they've gone too far into the danger zone.

The team took on the challenge of mastering technologies that were new to them, including Linux, Kubernetes, and Docker.  The team's objectives included not only mastering the new technologies themselves but creating the tools and knowledgebase to support other teams in the company making the move to the new stack.

In a similar vein, Tyler Garlick, development team lead at LeisureLink, needed to break through the impediments to delivering working code to product early and often.  He explored a number of options before settling on modulus.io as a viable, yet untried (in his current work place) solution.  He moved forward taking some risks and breaking a few things along the way, but ultimately, in a relatively short time, had blazed a new and bold path to value delivery.  His determination and creativity allowed all teams to begin delivering software after having been stymied by operational roadblocks for months.

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