How to Change an Enterprise’s Software and Culture with Zhamak Dehghani

On this show, we spend a lot of time talking about CI/CD, data engineering, and microservices. These technologies have only been widely talked about for the last 5-10 years. That means that they are easy to adopt for startups that get founded in the last 5-10 years, but not necessarily for older enterprises.

Within a large enterprise, it can be challenging to make significant changes to how technology is used. Many of the listeners might even take it for granted that your source code is in git–but if you work at an enterprise that started building software in 1981, you might be moving source code around on FTP servers or floppy disks.

The difficulty of changing the technology within an enterprise gets compounded by culture. Culture develops around specific technologies. That is one interpretation of “Conway’s Law”–that the way an organization uses software informs an organization’s communication structure. This is no surprise–if your organization manages code using FTP servers and floppy disks, it will slow down your innovation.

Zhamak Dehghani is an engineer at ThoughtWorks, where she consults with enterprises to modernize their software and culture. She works off of a blueprint that describes specific steps that an enterprise can take towards modernizing: continuous integration; building a data pipeline; building a system of experimentation. In some ways, this conversation fits nicely with our shows about DevOps a few years ago. Full disclosure: ThoughtWorks is a sponsor of Software Engineering Daily.

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