DevOps transforms a retail giant

Monday kicked off the second edition of the DevOps Enterprise Summit in San Francisco. Over the course of the three day event, over 100 speakers will share their experiences on lean principles and continuous delivery to over 1000 attendees from around the world. The first keynote of the day featured Heather Mickman and Ross Clanton from Target, who provided an update from their presentation at the inaugural event last year on the ongoing transformation of IT engineers at the retail giant. What had once become a pattern of offshoring work resulting in lower quality results or leveraging contractors, Target had made the commitment over the past four years to reinvent and build a core group of engineers from within; All to the tune of over billion. Their efforts during this time evolved over the course of four primary initiatives:

  1. Enable change agents
  2. Cultivating and growing grass roots movements
  3. Getting top down alignment
  4. Figuring out how to scale across the enterprise

Their journey started by targeting key members in strategic roles within the organization. By working with these “champions”  and bringing in well known players in the DevOps industry such as Gene Kim, author on DevOps principles and co-organizer of the DevOps Enterprise Summit, they were able to reinvent the way work was being managed. The creation of a transformation emergence center called the Dojo in the Minneapolis based headquarters and holding regular DevOps days provided engineering teams a way to become immersed in the DevOps movement. This passion extended into the Twin Cities community as meetups with the local developer community became a frequent occurrence. The financial commitment Target has made to this entire initiative shows the type of buy in that has been made from upper management. Heather and Ross did pose one final question to the audience in closing asking how others have effectively scaled DevOps across an enterprise. It will be interesting to hear how their journey has progressed next year if they are once again given the opportunity to share their story. 


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