What are the Three Ways? We take an overview of what it means to implement the Three Ways, what these steps mean in practice and how it works to create better working practises and principles.
What Are The Three Ways?
Let’s talk about the Three Ways. The objective of the Three Ways is to allow all departments, at all levels, to perform their work without having to correct earlier mistakes made by other departments. This is not done by apportioning blame or working with distrust and detachment from each other. This is done by truly working together and understanding each other’s roles. To achieve this, we must have one foot in all other departments. Simply put DevOps is born of the principles of the Three Ways. So, what are they?
The first way
To maximise flow of work we have to make all work visible to everyone. By being transparent in our work we prevent defects from being passed down the line. Imagine if you had a working system where everyone was involved and could see what everyone else was doing. If a mistake appeared it wouldn’t only be the responsibility of that department to recognise it, but the responsibility of all departments. This prevents problems from slowing down the next in line to work on the project. When we speed up the process up like this we reduce lead times. This creates a culture of continuous testing, build, and integration and limits the time work is waiting in process.
The second way
This is about the constant flow of feedback. Again, the main aim is to detect problems early and prevent them from happening again. The flow of feedback at all stages of the value stream means we embed knowledge in everyone and create the hunger for quality. This means we can recognise problems early instead and fix them of backtracking when they are discovered later, and sometimes have already caused major disruption. The result of finding problems early and fixing them shortens and amplifies our feedback loops. Aside from this allowing us to create safe systems of work, this also means our organisation can learn and constantly improve.
The third way
This is all about creating an atmosphere of trust. If we generate trust we all feel more comfortable taking risks and being creative. We learn from our successes and our failures and this means supporting a dynamic scientific approach to experimenting. With the first two ways in place we can now learn faster and implement the results of our discoveries. We can multiply the effects of the knowledge we gain at this stage and discoveries made can be implemented globally.
The Three Ways really sets out in easy to understand steps how we create an environment of trust and transparency. When workers feel they are listened to and everyone is involved, it means no matter which department they work in they know the experience of their work is shared by everyone. Each person is listened to and when mistakes and defects occur we seek to learn from them as a collective, rather than blaming. This makes everyone free to develop and explore. Our work is shared, our failures are learned from, and our successes are celebrated, all together.