Life at Cloudibility (XIV):What makes us unique and why is worth fighting for it

logo_cloudibility_rgb_transparent_square_smallTL’DR:

Cloudibility is about mindset and culture, about respect and values. We will ensure it stays that way, we will focus on these aspects and will emphasize them even more, even if it might imply some pains. Because, it is worth it. We are worth it.

The long text:

At Cloudibility, we strive to be special. We try to live a different kind of mentality compared to more traditional corporations. We try to work in cross-functional, self-organized teams and with an “If it’s not there, then let’s build it”-attitude. Approaches like “we always did it that way” or “I am the boss and tell you what to do” are not part of our mindset.

But, what is our mindset instead?

Well, our mindset is the mindset of a Startup. We’re active minds. We want to create, shape and solve, instead of griping and moaning. We understand not everything might be in place or working out to our satisfaction – but we don’t see this as an issue, instead we try to set up and create the missing parts on our own, we try to iterate and deliver.

We value the freedom of every individual to learn, to understand and to improve – but we understand this freedom not as something which ends in itself, but something which can only be lived when we also work hard to ensure our stability as a company.

We love our customers, since they allow us to earn our well-deserved money – but we don’t fear them or simply do what they want us to do, instead we’re striving to support them the best we can and with the best outcome possible for them. Supporting our customers is way more than simply accepting tasks – it is about understanding our customer’s needs, seeing issues and solving them, even proactively and perhaps even without ever getting honored for doing so. It is not about sitting in meetings and simply being present, it is about ownership, acting and delivering results.

We love our colleagues and we love working with them, not against them. We’re not trying to “lead” them by expressing negative narratives or by imposing any kind of male dominance, instead we try find solutions and try to convince our fellow team members with arguments. Collaboration, not dominance, is the key for us – even if the better argument might not be our own argument.

It is also about the way we express ourselves – not aggressively or loud, instead being open and respectful to and with each other.

There are many more things that make up for the Cloudibility mentality, have a look at our Leadership Principles and understand them the way they are meant: As principles, to be weighted and prioritized against each other ever and ever again, in each and every situation we are confronted with – not every principle will be applicable to every situation, but it should give you something to think about and to act upon. And try to understand their implications when being lived.

And realize: We insist of living them.

What does this imply?

Cloudibility is very much about mindset, reflection and culture. It is about the way we want to interact, about the way we want to execute our daily business and about the way we want to see ourselves. Since we are growing, it becomes very important to stick to our convictions, to act instead of trying to react, to save ourselves from becoming a more traditional, hierarchically organized and executing company. Because, that’s not what we are and that’s not what we want to be in the future.

We believe in a more modern, agile and active approach to things. We believe in the power of teams instead of embracing those egoistic problem-solvers to be found quite often. We believe in a more substantial, more social, more ecological and more human approach of work and interacting, without being weak or exploitable or allowing others to weaken or exploit us.

And we will grow even more in the next months to come.

And that’s why we emphasize on culture and mindset. That’s why we feel like living and understanding our Leadership Priniciples is that substantial. And that’s why we favour mindset and culture over technical skills and existing expertise.

We are Cloudibility, and we will continue to be it!

Promised.

Life at Cloudibility (XII): Es begann vor einem Jahr – und Sie sollten unser Geburtstagsevent keinesfalls verpassen!

Cloudibility-Logo-Square

Unser erstes Logo

Vor einem Jahr gründeten Michael Dombek und ich, Karsten Samaschke, die Cloudibility. Wir hatten einige Ideen und Erwartungen in Bezug darauf, wie sich unsere Firma entwickeln soll und was wir unseren Kunden anbieten wollten.

Die schlichte Wahrheit jedoch ist: Wir lagen sowas von falsch damit!

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Life at Cloudibility (XII): It started a year ago – and why you should join our birthday celebration! (English edition)

Cloudibility-Logo-Square

Our initial logo

A year ago, Cloudibility was founded by Michael Dombek and me, Karsten Samaschke. We had some expectations in regards to how we wanted to grow the company and what we wanted to offer to our customers. Truth is: We were plain wrong!

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Life at Cloudibility (X): DevOps? They should do it, not us!

logo_cloudibility_rgb_transparent_square_smallThis is, what you have to take care of when trying to establish a DevOps-culture: Many, if not most, people being affected by a DevOps-approach, will agree with it. At least as long as it does not force them to change anything and as long as they can sell it to their customers or supervisors since DevOps is very popular these days and is to be implemented by them, not by themselves.

Just last week, we had such a situation: We are in a short-term project with an enterprise customer. We have been hired by the vendor doing operations for that customer in a somewhat-CloudNative-environment (they run OpenShift on BareMetal-machines).

The end-customer sees a lot of – let’s call it that way – potential in the collaboration with the ops-vendor. Or to put it in clear words: There is no transparency, no knowledge-sharing, no automation, no versioning and no proper mindset in place at the ops-vendors teams. As a result, a lot of the infrastructure is somewhat running, but not even close to the standards, the end-customers expects. Rightfully expects, in my opinion.

This was the situation when Cloudibility experts were hired to analyze and fix errors in the environment, the software, and the collaboration. We proposed an agile DevOps-based interaction- and operations-model to our customer (the ops-vendor) and discussed chances for such a model with the end-customer as well. Both parties appeared to be very in close in their expressed opinions – yes, they all want to switch to a DevOps-approach.

One week later…

One week later, one of the two companies still sticks to that opinion, the other one does not.

The ops-vendor changed his mind since we perhaps were too successful and identified as well as fixed a lot of improvement-opportunities. He simply does not see the need to change his processes (which lead to the situation we came in) and his way of executing anymore, since the fixes are actually working and the customer appears to be satisfied.

DevOps now is to be executed by his customer, he will be participating in this “a little bit” (quote), but only “as long as it fits into our processes and does not imply ourselves to change our approach” (another quote). Plus: “We want to keep our internal approaches a secret, the customer does not need to know about them or can even expect us to adjust to his way of interacting – he is the customer, we are <Company-Name ommitted>” (quote). And: “Don’t forget, we are not even required to have a logging and a monitoring in place, by the terms of the contract that customer signed” (quote).

What could possibly go wrong with such a mindset?

Frankly, we expected this behavior from this customer, but it is frustrating nonetheless since they offer a CloudNative and Enterprise-ready environment and operations-model to their customers – and simply can not deliver due to having the wrong mindset and approaches, which gets only visible once a customer signed the contract (we have seen this several times with this customer). They execute IT the old-fashioned ways, having SDM (Service Delivery Managers), steep hierarchies and ITIL-processes in place, instead of DevOps-managers, experts, and an agile operations approach.

So, be careful when someone tells you about executing DevOps. Chances are, all they want is to get their backs covered and they will refuse DevOps as soon as it would imply to change something in their own processes and approaches.

Are we stopping to help such customers and to propose modern, lightweight, cost-efficient and adoptable processes and approaches?

Never ever!

And we will – of course! – successfully end our mission in that specific project as well. But it is kind of sad to see a chance for establishing better approaches and better processes pass by just because one of the involved parties does not want to change anything on their side.

Sad from a mindset’s perspective. From a commercial perspective, it is not: We are happily there to help with the next failing project. Again.

DevOps: Just get it started!

DevOps. Just do it!

I hear this quite often:

Yeah, we want to do DevOps. We understand this is a critical thing, it is important for succeeding in our Dev- and Ops-projects. We can’t do without.

But…

…we need to get the whole picture first. We need to have a fully featured DevOps-concept. We need some infrastructure. We need top clarify with our Stakeholders.

You know what?

These are only excuses for not doing DevOps.

The best approach to DevOps is by simply starting it. Forget about that fully featured DevOps-concept to be discussed throughout all hierarchy levels of your organization. Forget about providing the perfect infrastructure. Forget about everything – just start it!

DevOps is a process and a mindset. It is an approach to collaboration, to transparency and to knowledge sharing. Yes, it always can be done better, more aligned, deeper integrated, etc.

But nonetheless: The best way to start doing DevOps is to simply start doing it.

Today.

Life at Cloudibility (IX): I will never ever hire that person!

logo_cloudibility_rgb_transparent_square_smallI said this quite often during several projects over the last years – and often directed to persons being “difficult” with regards to discussing hard, having different opinions, contradicting a Product Owner or an Architect with thoughtful arguments. This is something you will have to accept, even if it is hard to do so. And it is exhausting, it is stressful working with such people on a day-by-day basis.

But, I changed my mind.

Or, to put it differently, I am now in a position where I want to have such characters around me. Here at Cloudibility, we want persons having their own ideas and their own minds, we want them to contradict us and to proove us to be wrong.

We want to have such minds around us. Of course, they will have to stick to our rules of respect and culture, they will need to be compatible with customers and the team. But besides this: Have your own mind, contradict, improve, overtake us!

So, we are looking for the Crazy Ones:

Are you one of them?

Welcome!

Life at Cloudibility (VII): Can’t we negotiate a special price?

I do often get this question when providing our specialist’s profiles to possible customers.

Well. No. We can’t. And we won’t.

Let me explain that bold statement a little bit. There are plenty of reasons for saying so. The most important one: We have some of the best specialists here at Cloudibility.

We love our experts.

We provide our bright minds with an environment which allows them to shine – a good work-life-balance, paid educational hours, etc. We do this, since we would have liked such an environment ourselves when being employed. But it was not possible due to calculation issues. Which forced us to quit our jobs.

Therefore, we want to pay our experts reasonable salaries and want them to gain even more knowledge. We want them to stay motivated and hunt for solutions instead of billed hours. We are investing a lot into our experts, and we are very happy and proud to do so. We know, that you deserve the best expert and the best approach for your project.

But it’s still expensive, though.

Do you know how much it costs, to do without good experts? Or to simply opt for the cheaper alternative since it is … cheaper? Can you really afford the second best or a somehow okayish solution? Just for the sake of saving some bucks forehand?

Our experts are worth their money.

They are experts and bright minds, they are able to solve problems, they are able to think outside the box. They save you time and money and nerves, they bring knowledge and experience into your projects.

So, no. We won’t do special prices.

We already have the best prices in the market since we have the best experts and the brightest minds here at Cloudibility.

Period.

What is… DevOps?

Devops-toolchain

By Kharnagy – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51215412

Ok, I get it. You do DevOps.

  • Because you shut down your VMs at night. Automatically.
  • Because you have a Jenkins-installation.
  • Because you are moving to a cloud environment.
  • Because you have set up a “DevOps”-team.
  • Because you have a lot of meetings with stakeholders.
  • Because you want a Development team to run a software since the approach is often described as “You build it, you run it”.
  • Because you know about this nifty image on top.

Turns out: No.

You don’t do DevOps.

You just shut down your VMs at night, you just happen to have a Jenkins-installation, you’re just moving to a cloud environment, etc.

But this is not DevOps. At least not in the sense we at Cloudibility understand it and explain it to our customers and set it up with them. To us, DevOps is not about any specific technology or setting up a team.

DevOps is a mindset.

It is an approach to thinking about, developing and running software collaboratively. It is about the way you interact from the start to the end of a project with each other. It involves getting rid of this “throwing over the fence” mentality. It involves a process for collecting and maintaining knowledge in an ever-changing team and agile approaches to development and operations. It is about the way a team is set up and how it evolves, it is about the way we set up and execute operational processes. DevOps even is a way to organize collaboration in a whole company.

And, DevOps is a culture.

business-team-meeting-boardroom_4460x4460

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

So, DevOps is way more than putting Dev and Ops on the same table. Or than moving into cloud environments. Or than being agile. Way more.

In the following months and weeks, I will give you insights into our approach to DevOps. I will give you some tips and hints. I will help you to see the whole picture. I will do this on a per-issue and per-aspect base, and it will be a loose series of articles.

Stay tuned!

Life at Cloudibility (II): We need an organizational diagram

Cloudibility-Logo-SquareCloudibility is not even a year of age, but we already need an organizational diagram, since we are already close to 20 persons (17 beginning of September) working with and for us – and this is only the number of employees which have already signed their contracts, not to be spoken of the ones we are currently having conversations with!

We take this very seriously since Michael and I have experiences in enterprise environments as well as a startup history. For us, one very deciding aspect for the success of a company is the organizational structure – if you don’t have it, you are very likely to fail. And having a structure and an internal organization frees the “creatives” from having to care about everything, ultimately allowing them to focus on their work and the excellence in their doing.

One final note: The importance of a working organization and a working back-office cannot be overemphasized. That’s why I am so happy with our COO Claudia, Linda, the whole team and their invaluable work.

Thank you, team!