Putting People First

Make your cloud programme all about your people! Leave no one behind. Provide countless opportunities. In a no blame culture. Find out how!

This article is part of the limited preview of the “The Missing Cloud Programme Roadmap”, a generic roadmap for any enterprise cloud adoption programme.

  1. Executive Summary
  2. The Cloud and Enterprises
  3. The Missing Cloud Programme Roadmap
    1. The Cloud Programme Roadmap
    2. The First Iteration of The Cloud Programme Roadmap
    3. The Unavoidable Disclaimer
    4. The Roadmap for The Missing Cloud Programme Roadmap
    5. The Manual for the Missing Manual
    6. Building the Business Case
    7. Starting the Cloud Programme
      1. Key Achievements
      2. Setting up the Cloud Programme
      3. Attracting the Right Mind- and Skill Sets
      4. Putting People First
        1. Training for Everyone
        2. Experimentation and Up-Skilling for Everyone
        3. Culture and Metrics
      5. Determining the Build-Out Principles for Cloud
      6. Getting Into the Details
      7. Recording Outcomes: The Cloud Guidebook
    8. Iteratively Building the Delivery Pipeline
    9. Iteratively Executing the Delivery Pipeline
  4. A Cloudy Future

Putting People First

At this point in time, news about the existence of a cloud programme will most likely have reached the far corners of the organisation. Chances are, that there’s a real buzz around “this cloud thing” by now.

By making the cloud programme all about its employees, an organisation can ensure that everyone has access to the tools and skills required for the future ahead.

But it doesn’t have to stop there. Aligning organisational facilitators with personal incentives unlocks the potential to supercharge the cloud programme with unexpected results from parts of the organisation that simply felt empowered to do so. Remember,

A modern organisation without its people is an empty hull that has just lost its greatest asset. Let alone its heart and soul. Great people make great companies.

Adopting the cloud is as much a people business as any other programme.

Training for Everyone

For large parts of the organisation, adopting the cloud means changing existing processes or implementing new ones. Not everyone may necessarily already have the required skill set to perform those actions.

Rather than having to rely on personal external training, the organisation should provide it to all of their employees. For free. As part of their normal job function. And encourage everyone to take it.

The training should be such that people actually want to take it and that it teaches them skills that are relevant to their current or future job. Most importantly, the training should mainly be focussed on transferrable industry-standard skills rather than bespoke organisational solutions.

This not only allows employees to progress their careers but also advances the organisation as a whole by encouraging the re-use of readily available industry-standard solutions.

Oh, and if you’re concerned about offering too much training and people leaving afterwards, have a think around the following commonly cited bon mots

What if we train them and they leave? What if we don’t and they stay?!

However, training should only be part of a bigger organisation-wide people strategy that leaves no one behind and makes everyone feel welcome. In general,

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Richard Branson

The choice is all yours.

Experimentation and Up-Skilling for Everyone

With a sheer abundance of training on transferrable industry standard skills available to them, employees will at some point want to put their newly gained knowledge to the test.

However, this creates a dilemma. Up to this point, no corporate environment exists which can be leveraged for this task.

So, the time-tested standard option for employees is to open a personal CSP account. With all the potential negative implications on expenses and security (just ask your CSPs how many corporate email addresses are associated with personal accounts).

The absence of suitable CSP accounts creates an unnecessary barrier to entry when there actually is a much more attractive solution available.

Company sponsored CSP “lab accounts” provide a safe experimentation environment for everyone. No questions asked. No ties back to the organisation. No more than £100 costs. No trace of existence after 30 days.

Not only does this approach truly level the playing field for everyone in the organisation to become a real cloud expert with transferable skill sets.

It also allows to move early experimentation phases of new products into “lab accounts”. However, some management and governance is still necessary to avoid uncontrolled sprawl.

In general, lab accounts are also a well-controlled experiment with limited risks for the organisation to gain some early knowledge on providing a very light touch cloud platform.

The workforce’s initial experiences of an industry standard cloud environment also reinforce the cloud programme to eventually build and operate a cloud platform that provides industry standard technologies. As a result, this not only makes hiring off the street easier but also allows everyone willing to do so, to obtain the same skill set.

Culture and Metrics

The cloud programme should be measured and driven by metrics. But then metrics can be handled and applied in numerous ways. First, and foremost

Build a no blame culture. Acknowledge the fact that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

If there’s anything that’s certain in a cloud programme than that things can and will go wrong. At the worst possible times. A blameless post mortem allows to scrape up the broken remains, analyse the outcomes, identify the root causes, and put preventative measures in place.

The past can’t be changed. But the future can.

When using metrics, make them public and encourage people to read the metrics. But then don’t use metrics against people! Otherwise, they’ll just game the system and the desperately needed truth will become a very distant memory of the past. While the entire programme is heading straight for disaster.

Kill the honesty and you kill the programme.

Determining the Build-Out Principles for Cloud

Find out more about it in the next article.

So, How Do You Put People First?!

While the above Worx for Me!™ when it comes to a people strategy for the cloud programme that leaves no one behind and provides countless opportunities in a no blame culture, you may have an alternative or better way.

Think this is all rubbish, massively overrated, or generally heading into the absolutely wrong direction?! Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn and teach me something new!

As always, prove me wrong and I’ll buy you a pint!


Dominic Dumrauf

An Enterprise Solution Architect by profession, an avid outdoor enthusiast by heart, and a passionate barista by choice. Still hunting that elusive perfect espresso.

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