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DevOps @ Swisscom - getIT
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DevOps @ Swisscom

Swisscom’s dynamic and technologically diverse environment relies on satisfied and continually developing employees, an ability to bring new products swiftly to market, exceptional quality, and secure solutions.
Martin Thalmann
Martin Thalmann, Former Agile Enabling Coach und DevOps Enthusiast
08 April 2020

As a result, the consistent application of DevOps principles has been instrumental to Swisscom’s approach in many areas since 2015. As described in the DevOps Handbook, system thinking, feedback loops, and continual experimentation and learning are integral to DevOps. It involves more than just development and operations; aspects such as business, security, quality assurance, user experience and many more are also important. Additional key factors are the DevOps culture, processes, technology and organisation. We have already achieved a great deal in these areas and continue striving to develop our agile principles even further in order to swiftly incorporate experience, from past mistakes in development as well as positive results, into the ongoing planning process.

 

DevOps culture is about making each and every employee feel part of the team and part of Swisscom, whatever their gender, age, origin, sexual orientation or religion. We can achieve great things when working together as a team. This does not mean that there are never differences of opinion. Through an active feedback culture, however, these can be addressed openly and directly and used constructively. In our DevOps culture, we find that autonomous, self-organising and interdisciplinary teams make the best decisions. We therefore take the idea of decentralising decision-making very seriously and align our understanding of leadership with this. We are motivated and fascinated by the new technologies that are available to us, and it is vital that we keep our knowledge up to date. That is why we attach great importance to continuous personal development for all employees.

 

Traditional project management has almost disappeared at Swisscom. We continuously develop our products and services in permanent teams. Depending on the context, we work with Scrum, Kanban or the Scaled Agile Framework. The most important thing is being able to quickly generate value according to the Agile Manifesto with our main focus, throughout the value chain, on the customer. This allows us to get feedback as quickly as possible and to re-incorporate this into the planning.

 

Both our culture and processes are reflected in our organisation, which we have continued to adapt in accordance with the principle of ‘structure follows strategy’. A flat hierarchy is also part of this (for more information, check out the LinkedIn article by our CTO and CIO Christoph Aeschlimann). Leadership is important even for self-organising teams – there is simply no need for micromanagement. Instead, our managers are able to focus on the general conditions and/or visions. DevOps has also had an impact on our job architecture, which has been consciously adapted to also enable skilled workers such as engineers to advance to the highest levels. It goes without saying that there is no distinction between development and operations here.

 

And, of course, DevOps is also about technology, and automating wherever possible with a focus on CI/CD and continuous testing on a modern cloud infrastructure. This applies not only to new, greenfield projects, but also to systems that are already in production. To facilitate this for all the different interacting technologies in use and the vast swathes of data that we process, we have at our disposal a variety of state-of-the-art tools.

At Swisscom, we take a holistic view of DevOps. And we pursue a systematic approach to ensure that our employees are satisfied and able to deliver better products of the highest quality.

An article by:

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Martin Thalmann

Former Agile Enabling Coach und DevOps Enthusiast

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