I was going to present a DevOps perspective on the high profile security problems that have been making the headlines recently but that post needs more work and I just read an amazing article by Liz Ryan that I wanted to share with you and comment on. Liz’s article Horrible HR Policies to Nuke in 2015 is fantastic. I couldn’t agree more with all her points.
I’ll give you a few minutes to read it, it won’t take long.
Are you done? Good wasn’t it? It may surprise you but I wrote about the damaging effect HR policies have on IT in my book Next Gen DevOps: Creating the DevOps Organisation. When the idea of the book was still forming I had a intuitive sense that DevOps would have a bigger impact than just improving products and services. I felt it would improve the lives of the people in our IT organisations. I decided to go back to Management Theory basics and see if those old tried and true management theories supported DevOps. They not only sit well with DevOps they actively encourage it. If you want to know how buy my book :). One of theories that I think supports the case for DevOps was Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory.
Herzberg’s research led him to conclude that the factors motivating employees usually stem from the work itself, or effects arising from the work. In contrast, he found that dissatisfaction stems from the work context. He found that achievement, recognition, the work itself, and responsibility and advancement were factors that cause the greatest sense of satisfaction or motivation in employees. The causes of dissatisfaction that de-motivated employees included company policy and administration, relationships with managers and business leadership.
In other words when people can get their job done and be recognised for it they are well satisfied and will become highly motivated. This supports the case for DevOps because DevOps breaks down the barriers between technical teams that prevent progress.
To Liz’s point way back in 1959 Herzberg knew that company policy, administration and the relationships with their managers were the biggest sources for dissatisfaction for employees and hence led to demotivated people.
Enter Liz Ryan’s excellent article. Look at your businesses. Look at the policies, processes and working practices that exist to help people get their work done, improve the product and bring out the best in your people. Then look at those policies that require you to force people to participate that sap the energy and the life from your people such as end-of-year-reviews, employee opinion survey’s and expenses processes.
Take this new year as an opportunity to focus on the tasks at hand, ditch those things that get in your way, that slow your business down, that prevent progress and that enervate your people replace them with product focus, clear success criteria and help your people give their best for you and the business.