Recommended Reading for DevOps – It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

So what would a book on management on a Navy ship have to do with DevOps?

Well it’s really a book on how Captain Michael Abrashoff created a collaborating organization on his ship while in the US Navy. As a result, he brought his ship from the bottom 3rd in the Pacific fleet to the best ship in the Navy. He increased his crew re-enlistment rate from 8% to close to 100% during his time on the USS Benfold.

The Military is know for it’s highly rigid command structure and for that matter its traditionally restrictive culture that discourages contribution and change. On top of that, you don’t get to choose your crew or your boss. Does that sound like a place you might be working for?

He created a collaborative culture by doing the following:

1 – See the ship through the eyes of the crew
2 – Communicating often
3 – Create discipline by focusing on purpose
4 – Listen aggressively

He also outlined how he did this in a restrictive military culture.
He would find ways to:

1 -Use dumb rules to his organizations advantage.
2 – Shelter his crew from the higher ups bad policies.
3 – Make his superiors look good and get latitude to run his ship.

Although this book has been out for a while (2002), these ideas presented in this book can give you some ideas on what you can do to implement the collaborative culture of DevOps in your organization.

Soft skills like communications and management are often overlooked by people in Software Development and Technical Operations. Take the time to improve these skills as it will not only enrich your workplace, but enrich your life.

If you have any suggestions or ideas, feel free to let me know.

Until then, have a good day.


Here is a link to the book:

It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by D Michael Abrashoff


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