As I turned yet another year older, I began to wonder about my career. Where it has taken me? What have been the pitfalls and pratfalls? Then came the realization that DevOps is not the end game. It is not even the beginning. It really just a part of the journey: a part that seems to have taken a left turn to nowhere but at the same time to everywhere. So, what does it require to deal with today’s IT? Does it take DevOps? I think not. Does it take a new mindset? Perhaps. Does it take new skills? Maybe. Embracing the new over the old? Not really. So, what does it take?
I believe that modern IT is not about speed, or new ideas, or the one-minute manager, or even who moved my cheese. It is about agility, flexibility, and acceptance—perhaps not the ready acceptance many expect, but an acceptance that grows faster as you gain understanding. In essence, it requires a willingness to learn new tools, new ideas, new concepts, even new skills. That is what it takes to be successful in today’s IT.
When you have a flexible mindset, you can adopt new ideas. However, our industry is quite conservative in nature. This means our mindset is tempered by caution. Sometimes that caution results in a failure to learn new things. A failure to find time to learn. A fear of becoming lost, or of losing one’s position. Our culture is a culture of I and me. It was not always like that, but it seems to be steadily moving in that direction. IT is being bypassed by shadow IT because it could not move with the business. Security is marginalized because it could not keep up. I am not calling for our basic natures to change. No; however, we do need to realize that IT is changing all the time.
The new becomes the old; the old becomes the new. Even this takes flexibility—the flexibility to do old things in slightly newer ways. For example, shell programming is not new: it has been around since the 1970s. PowerShell, however, is considered to be new. PowerShell ties objects to scripts. This is not actually a new concept. In fact, many concepts in PowerShell are not new, but it was accepted quickly because of its flexibility. It provided agility, but it provided an old way to do something new. That older way provided comfort as well as satisfying our sense of caution.
Yet, it is flexibility of mind that helps us with IT today. Flexibility allows us to streamline our processes; it allows us to deal with the issues. We do not forget or roots; we use that knowledge and knowledge from others to improve ourselves and our processes.
This flexibility is what it takes to be innovative in today’s IT. We may call it insight, agility, or anything else. But having a flexible mind that looks beyond the tiny world of our silo can help a business improve. Improvements in process is what we are doing. Doing the right thing is the journey. The result is improved IT, an improved enterprise, and an improved self.
It is not about DevOps: it is about flexibility. How flexible can you be within your own individual constraints? We all have constraints and borders, yet we as IT workers look outside our professional boundaries for new work and new ideas. That flexibility is what makes those of us who have been in IT for quite a while capable of picking up new ideas and of applying our knowledge to better understand old ideas in new ways.
In your professional life, embrace flexibility. Flexibility gives us agility and a new view. This is the initial step in modernizing IT and building for the future.