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Monolithic Transformation by Michael Cote

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Chapter 2. Leadership’s Cloud-Native Cookbook

“[T]he role of leadership on technology transformation has been one of the more overlooked topics in DevOps, despite the fact that transformational leadership is essential”

Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps

In large organizations, higher-level executives are the only ones given the authority to make organizational change at a scale that matters and are, thus, key to any meaningful transformation. These executives must do more than update the “the slides” as so many corporate strategy groups seem to do. They must actually change the organization’s structure, processes, norms, and rules—the organization’s “culture.”

The work won’t be easy. “I’ve found that changing culture is by far more complicated than any software project I’ve worked on,” Great American Insurance Company’s Jon Osborn says, “partly because you have to deal with people and personalities.” Managers rarely focus on “transformation,” spending most of their time enforcing the status quo. “Management’s mandate is to minimize risk and to keep the current system operating,” as John Kotter summarized more than 20 years ago. This situation hasn’t changed over the past two decades.

Changing how one team, or even five teams work is a neat trick and can even be done “bottoms up.” But, changing, for example, JP Morgan Chase’s 19,000 developers work requires big-time leadership support and effort. This kind of challenge is something that only the leadership team ...

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