Differences and challenges
The tendency towards expertise is already anchored in the German education system. Pupils are trained to specialise early on. Those who have once chosen a training path hardly pay attention to other areas of the professional world during the dual training period or during the academic years. Experts are trained everywhere and generalists are a rarity. This is not only due to tradition, but has also guaranteed a stable and successful German economy for decades. Now and again, however, the question arises whether the system might not be softened in some places. After all, agile work environments and Scrum have become standard in many companies. In these systems, however, many experts feel out of place. We are looking for people who can work across functions and disciplines. This is a complete paradigm shift. In contrast to Scrum, Kanban offers the possibility to continue working with specialists and not, as in Scrum, to assign all tasks to everyone. In Kanban, there is more division of labour, which often accommodates the specialists trained in Germany.
Bureaucracy and hierarchies - inhibition or blessing?
Bureaucracy is a word with a rather negative connotation. In an agile environment, more value is attached to the actual work than to the documentation of the work. This often contradicts the German work culture, in which the complete documentation of projects is regarded as particularly important. What is not written down has virtually not happened at all. It has to be said, however, that in traditional project management the documentation of decisions and project steps has always played a role, no matter if it is only for an evaluation at the end and for gaining experience. However, DevOps attaches much more importance to pragmatic work. Agile teams have neither a treasurer nor a secretary. Especially in particularly small teams and fast-moving projects, bureaucracy is often an obstacle. If you want to do without it, you have to change the way you work. With DevOps this is possible. Strict hierarchies are completely dissolved in the concept of DevOps. In a DevOps team everyone sits at one table. Equality is important for successful cooperation. For many German companies, it is difficult to soften or dismantle hierarchical structures because they are omnipresent in people's minds. Not only the leaders, but also the team members have to adapt. The initiative for change can now come from each individual. This results in undreamt-of opportunities, but also, of course, risks. DevOps requires visionary thinking and other leadership qualities.
Perfectionism in German companies
DevOps promotes the principle of Continuous Delivery. This means that results must be delivered not just once a year or once a quarter, but always. The fail-fast approach plays a role here, according to which errors are to be detected and corrected as quickly as possible, not every three or twelve months. Continuous Delivery also means that results are not only presented when they are perfect, but continuously. This contradicts many experts trained in Germany because they are reluctant to show semi-finished results. Justin Vaughan-Brown believes that it is safe to work on this. For him there is no way around DevOps. Although these points of friction between German corporate culture and DevOps are indisputable, he assumes that there are a thousand good reasons for introducing DevOps. Companies must therefore first recognize the benefits of agile systems for themselves and then work to reconcile both. Justin Vaughan-Brown proposes to meet the need for perfectionism by comprehensively monitoring applications. Reporting, which is always possible in DevOps, can also be used to cover the demand for continuous documentation as far as possible. Thus there is a documentation, which demands however clearly less writing expenditure. In questions of hierarchies and leadership, change must take place in people's minds. Agile management must be desired and promoted by management, otherwise it will not work.
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