There seems to be a growing problem with DevOps and Marketing not aligning.
So what about DevMOps = Dev + Marketing + Ops
Forget DevOps – focus on DevMOps.
Ok – so we may want to rename it but recently I cannot believe how many conversations I’ve had or heard that were about how continuous delivery DevOps teams and marketing teams are struggling to find a synergy between their objectives, goals and work.
In the Open Spaces at the Pipeline Conference this topic was hotly debated. There were some interesting challenges and ideas put forward, but it did feel like those of us in DevOps obviously had the right solution 🙂 …I’m not convinced.
So what sorts of problems exist between DevOps and Marketing?
Here’s some examples:
- A team releases frequently but their marketing team are not used to this frequency and pace and therefore struggle to keep up. The marketing team don’t know how to effectively message before and after a release as there isn’t much time, or it’s not always clear what is being built. I.e What’s coming up for customers? What’s now available? What can we now sell? What value are we adding to the service/platform/product?
- A team releases frequently but some of their customers are unable to use the new changes/features immediately. Who do they market to? How do they differentiate the message? What if marketing don’t want some customers to see the new changes/features? At what point does it go General Availability (GA).
- A team releases frequently but the marketing team don’t know how to piece the work together to pitch it as value to their customers. (i.e. The release all contain incremental changes but not big value features).
- A team’s marketing and advertising department need to secure the big bang marketing plan, conference spaces and other materials. Hence they need a deadline and commitment to scope. For example, a big video game launch or securing advertising slots well in advance of the feature being available. Some companies have social media campaigns, marketing material, trade shows and other shizzle that they need to do to drive sales to the stuff DevOps are creating. Do they do this after the release, before it (but when is it due) or during the software development?
At the pipeline conference there were some good discussions about this topic. That’s where I created the idea of DevMOps. Dev + Marketing + Ops.
At Pipeline the general feeling was that DevOps needed to CHANGE marketing.
That’s not my view. Why should DevOps change marketing – is there nothing that DevOps needs to change, or do DevOps teams always have everything right?
I know there are marketing conferences happening all over the world where marketers are sat discussing frequent releases and how they can work better with DevOps.
It’s just a shame there are very few conferences where both industries are together talking about this. If you know of any please leave a comment. Sounds like a potential new conference?
At these marketing events you may find marketers talking about frequent releases and how to keep up, infrequent releases or missed deadlines, why DevOps can never give a solid estimate :), and a whole host of other topics associated with Software Development and Delivery.
The only way to solve the problem (if in fact there even is one) is to get all parties talking to each other. The first suggestion would be to avoid assuming that as a DevOps team (we) have the answers. Maybe we do, but at the Pipeline Conference (great conference by the way) it felt like the DevOps guys in the open space discussion knew how to solve the marketing problems, sometimes by simply changing where and how marketing is done. For example, why not just use Twitter to announce when the feature goes live? That’s a great suggestion but what if your customers aren’t on social media, or the person who signs the cheque wants a more formal marketing approach and sales call? Mostly it felt like the problem was the marketing team slowing down DevOps. And that might be true but…
I believe that to address any potential problems between DevOps and Marketing we must start with trust, followed by a conversation.
Trust that the marketing team know what they are doing and that they are indeed good at marketing (I’ve not worked with many that aren’t BTW), trust that the DevOps team know what they are doing, trust that the senior execs and management have hired the right people to grow the business.
If we trust that each department will do the right thing (and that their intentions are good) then getting people together to solve a business problem should be a positive experience. If you don’t have that respect and trust……well….that’s a deeper underlying issue right there…and not one for this post.
By talking with each other the DevMOps team will find out what the real problems are and whether a combined effort would be better than attempting to solve the problems alone (hint – I suspect it will).
One thing we should be careful of though is assuming that we know how to do someone else’s job. I see this often in IT folk and it’s often the root cause of many issues between departments.
If marketing are good at marketing and DevOps are good at providing a continuous service then by talking through the problems you’ll arrive at a synergy. The result…DevMOps.
So, are you having problems with DevOps and Marketing?
How have you solved your problems? Do your DevOps teams do marketing themselves or include marketing in platform/service roll-out decisions? Do you have a DevMOps team? What constraints do you have around your marketing and deployment?