Where are the CTOs?

For the last 5 years I’ve led DevOps transformations, consulted with small and medium businesses and large enterprises. I’ve written a book and I’ve pitched that book just as hard and as far as I can. That’s meant attending and presenting at conferences, participating in group discussions and attending events such as CA’s DevOps influencers dinners.

In all that time I’ve met with the handful of CTO’s who are personal friends and one who was the organiser of one of the events but that’s it.

DevOps is without doubt what is shifting the needle in the Technology industry right now. The Puppet and Thoughtworks State of DevOps 2014 report and Harvard Business Review’s The Leadership Edge in Digital Transformation report confirm this. If more evidence is needed one only has to look at the investment Thoughtworks, HP, IBM, CA and others are making in tooling and consultancy. And if that isn’t enough the nearly 200% growth experienced by Chef this year make it clear where much of the biggest 2000 companies are making their bets.

And yet the very people who should be creating the strategies that drive DevOps transformations and that lead to investment in new tools, training and that support the necessary cultural changes seem to be absent from the discussions.

I regularly speak to enthusiastic engineers and line managers. When I’m invited to speak to companies directly I’m almost always invited by the engineers. Sometimes they manage to bring their managers along but only once have they been able to bring the budget holders and decisions makers to the meeting.

On the other side of that fence, I get several calls a day from recruiters who are on a never-ending hunt for DevOps Engineers. They are routinely frustrated that they can’t enter into a dialogue with the CTOs they’re hiring for to find out how the company strategy is evolving to support a DevOps transformation. They need that interaction to be assured that someone isn’t asking for DevOps when they actually need System Administrators. Nothing annoys a recruiter more than working hard to present candidates and for those candidates to leave after just a few weeks because the hiring organisation misrepresented the role.

So if you know a CTO then tell them to get in the game! Ask them what event they’ll be attending to learn more about DevOps. Ask them what groups they’re members of and who they follow on twitter. Tell them to take a look at my book or drop me a line. If they look at you funny tell them that it’s already true that the businesses who are evolving DevOps practices are already outpacing those that aren’t and it’s time to jump in and swim or count the days until they’re washed away.

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