Users expectations for reliable IT services are on the rise. Many applications are however not delivering acceptable response times, and potential customers abandon using those underperforming services. In this post, I will shine a light on successful steps to creating a performance-first culture.
1. Be a researcher and communicator
New technologies are popping up within no time. Virtualization, cloud computing or service based architecture are well known, but artificial intelligence and machine learning are in their footsteps. You as an IT professional understand the former but are you aware of the latter? In your role as a leader, you have to update yourself about new developments and communicate this to your team.
2. Convince executives and get them to lead by example
Full management support for your performance engineering initiative is utterly required. Involve your manager in one of your problem spots, share insights concerning this and demonstrate how your company could save time and money if performance engineering is conducted for all applications.
3. Train people where they need training
Everything starts in a small first step. When more projects are requesting your support, it’s time to hire new specialists. Based on my knowledge it could take some time to find employees with the required skills. Don’t seek for the perfect candidate. Be prepared to share your knowledge and develop new professionals in this growing performance engineering discipline.
4. Be present when IT teams gather, get a talking slot, convince and preach
Performance is still a neglected cousin of functionality. I understand this completely because clients are mainly interested in their new features and this is what developers implement first. The problem is that a slow new feature could shine a bad light on your IT team. Try to get talking slots in your IT architecture or developer team meetings and give them insights how and why they should consider performance first in their development chain.
5. Help your colleagues to understand how performance enables the business
Speed is one of the most crucial business factors. It’s not only about how much time a customer will need to complete the intended steps such as search and check out. The attention span is about 6 to 8 seconds and each step which cause longer increases the chance that your customer stops using your service and abandons. Communicate this clearly to your teams because performance has an impact on commercial revenue.
6. Communicate success stories
Engineers are often not the best sales man. They find the needle in the haystack which is responsible for a slowdown, but they fail to sell the impact of this significant improvement appropriate. Support your team and communicate their improvements clearly along the reporting chain in your company. Success stories will help you to gain popularity.
7. Build evangelists for performance
Build your inner circle of passioned performance specialists. They have full knowledge about tools, methods, and processes in your company and their mission is the elimination of performance hotspots. This core team acts as a multiplicator of knowledge. They guide developers, architects and operational teams in all questions about performance engineering.
8. Know that knowledge is only power when you share it with others
To cut a long story short, information hiding will kill your performance engineering initiative. Even if you have more than ten years experience, there is no shortcut or best practice you should hide. Full transparency about what works and what ends on a one-way road will push your team forward. Use collaboration platform to document step-by-step instructions for successful problem resolutions in your field of business is probably the best chance to get this to fly.
Start your engines and follow those simple steps to eliminate slowdowns completely in your Dev & Ops environments. Performance is nothing you can buy from a software provider or tool vendor. Transform your culture and build the performance first mindset step-by-step. Keep doing the good things.