Let's pipeline the tech story too

Posted by Scott Speights    on July 7, 2017 in Dev tagged with General, Culture

I just got back from my yearly training, where I sneak away from Freiburg for a few days to get inspiration for the next round of HGDC / Brown Bag events and how to move forward with telling our tech story. This year, the training was in Cologne. The other particpants were people, who work in diverse industries like banking, building supplies, travel services, and the auto industry.

While the training itself wasn’t particularly brilliant, it did show me that we have come a long way in the last year – with our technology strategy and, how we work together - and how we communicate the HG tech story. Most importantly, when it comes to all three of these, for this blog post especially the tech story part, I think there is a clear idea about what we want to do. For me, this starts with telling our tech story by producing software and content that lets people in DevOps know that we are leading the way in our market and that helps these same people go further with their own tech journey.

We’re the only ones, who can tell this story

As soon as we realized that nobody can really tell the Haufe Group tech story except for us, we got busy expanding the channels and finding different ways to tell this story. We don’t just have a blog and a Twitter account anymore. Now, we are consistently getting word out over the blog, or with a video from our event presentations, or people may use our open source software like wicked to push their own projects along. We are holding workshops for technology-strategy-relevant computing techniques.

There are many robust conversations on our Rocket Chat channel, and because we are communicating more with each other, HG-DevOps have made good progress creating a tech community here at Haufe Group that goes out of its way to stay in touch with each other, to help each other, and to share know-how with folks in the Freiburg, German and global IT communities. UX Day showed us that this desire to be more tightly networked with each other is not just a DevOps phenomenon, and now, it’s a good time to move the networking a few steps forward.

Getting past the tech silos

It really helps that our C-Suite is now giving all of us the impulse to “go out and get networked”. It’s a little like the story of the three little pigs though. They’ve told us to go out and do it, but they didn’t tell us how. So when looking at what we’ve done over the past year, I would say that our DevOps community network has become tighter. But also clear is, when we talk about being networked, at the end of the day, we want to have more than just a tightly-knit DevOps community. We also want to be networked across all disciplines at an individual and team level in a balanced way. We must be able share information with colleagues from Editorial, from our marketing and legal departments, with product owners, with business owners and whoever else we need to communicate with to create and grow products.

And, technology is absolutely part of “the product”, so being able to access all the knowledge we need to craft the technical product by being networked to all the right people, will yield better results than just siloing-up into tech-centric tribes. Growing the network as well as growing our knowledge to understand and work with folks, who have different skill sets, different domain terminologies, and who solve problems from a not-IT-perspective, is critical to finding new, effective ways to working.

Experimenting with new kinds of networks

Very cool is that there are going to be some chances to experiment with this kind networking in the near future. It looks like the flavor of the (next) months is going to be Digital Transformation, and it would be great to take on this topic by holding events and workshops that foster general understanding of what digital transformation means for Haufe Group.

We also want to keep publishing open source and open doc projects and showcasing tech at these events. Don’t worry, we’re still going to be focusing on hard-core tech. This could be microservices, container orchestration, machine learning and data science, or serverless computing. But, it’s also important to show other people why the technical product is more important than ever for the business and that digital transformation is an integral part of the overall transformation going on at Haufe Group: since “digital” is now part of the product that we offer to customers, DT also shapes the overall transformation.

Tech story CD pipeline

So, my takeaway from the social media training is that we have gotten good at telling our story, that we can be still get better and that more people from other places besides Freiburg must add to this story. If you take a look, it’s obvious that the colleagues in Timisoara really understand all the implications of digital transformation. Custom software is being created in Barcelona based on the results of using Rythmix at our customers (Why is there no link here?). And, Berlin, St. Gallen, Hannover and at all the Haufe Group offices for that matter, there are lots of good tech stories to share. We can definitely profit from putting more stories out there and making storytelling second nature because the more stories we make available, the more people can re-use these stories for themselves or evolve it into something completely new.

Showing is (almost) as important as doing

To quote Bob Fitch, who helped put together the first set of “Haufe Employee Guidelines” and who just left the company last week after 20+ years of being a developer, technical project manager and software architect, “We want to belong to the best”. But, to be the best you not only have to be able implement the best tech, you also have to show people that you are implementing it. When people start coming to you for help, that’s when you are the best. So keep blogging and say what you think, because it’s important not just to do it: You also have to let them know what you did.

photo title: owen river, photographer: Dustin Blakely, source: https://goo.gl/YRTs3C, license: CC BY 2.0