Feeling frustrated? Read this and never give up!

Key takeaway:

  1. Changing company culture is not easy.
  2. You are not on your own.
  3. You can facilitate the transition.

Network automation will only work well, if both management and engineers truly believe in it and are willing to take the necessary steps to adjust processes, design aspects and operating models.

You should feel proud. You’re ahead of most people. This experience will help you grow as an engineer and as a person. Thank you for not giving up!

If you are like me, you came up with a solution in the past and you were very proud of it… Then you hit blockers, that you may haven’t anticipated.
Other people, processes or lack of interest.

Human nature

People will chose the path of least resistance. You decided to invest time and energy to adopt a new way of thinking. It took you tremendous effort. After a good couple months of hard work, research and practice you embraced it. Now it’s part of you and no-one can take it away from you.

There are great videos on coursera about how the brain works when it comes to learning new things.

If you are an engineer, who likes innovative solutions, you’ve probably have been in a similar situation:

You came across a problem, then came up with a new idea and implemented a script or a tool to solve it. You’re certain: using this will be much better than doing things the old way. You’ll present this to your colleagues and bosses and everybody is amazed. You get the deserved compliments and feel proud. You all agree this is great. Time goes by and you realize, nothing had really changed. People still do things the old way. They may have found an issue, a corner case and have declared that the solution is not that great after all. Or they simply feel too busy and overwhelmed to learn the new tool.

It’s important to note here, that this phenomenon is not limited to network automation, it is still present in devops world, even today and the adaptation to the culture varies from company to company.

You may get upset. You spent so much time and energy, but no-one really appreciated it.
Fortunately there are quite a few things you can do about it. In the end of the day, this is a problem and a real Automation Engineer will try to look at any problem differently.

Reflect

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”
– Albert Einstein

It took great courage to step back and look at how you’ve done things in the past and admit: whatever you were doing was not the best. Admitting this is probably the hardest step towards a new solution.

Empathise

You can’t expect everyone else follow a philosophy that took months even for you to deeply understand and live by. Neither you can expect everyone pick up the scripting, code management, linux and tooling knowledge overnight. Even if you make your script/solution very easy to use, it will take time for people to adapt.

Others have different priorities. They may feel already maxed out and they simply don’t have the energy applying something new. You may say: But this would actually help them! Long term, yes. Short term, this is just extra work, out of their comfort zone.

Improvements

No solution will be perfect from day one. Ask for feedback from other people. Be open to actually implement suggestions. The tools are for the whole team, they should be involved and encouraged to contribute. I was told by one of the Facebook Network Engineers: “If you create a tool, you need to check on the end users if they’re using it. If they don’t, find out why and make it work for them.

Find allies

Some people will be more open to new things than others. This depends on their personality and their personal situation. Find those people who are interested and have the capacity to work with you. Find who’s ready to be involved and coach them, give them pointers how to start the journey. Look outside of your team, you may be surprise where you can find new friends. Speak to developers, server and devops guys or girls.

Do demos and small training sessions, this eventually will make them more open to changes that are coming. Keep it positive!

Tweet: Network Automation only works if everyone is on board. Please click to share and help to create a Movement!

Check out How to find Network Automation jobs? if you feel you cannot grow in your current position. They’ll welcome you if you demonstrate your skills and attitude.

I’ll include more ideas in: “How to create Network Automation jobs?” covering communication aspects and business benefits.


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Till next time…

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