Case Study: Consulting Judo

A colleague was working with a big retailer trying to convince the enterprise architects and operations group to embrace more modern DevOps practices, such as automated machine provisioning, better monitoring, and so on. Yet her pleas fell on deaf ears because of two common refrains: “We don’t have time” and “Our setup is so complex, those things will never work here.”

She applied an excellent technique called consulting judo. Judo as a martial art has numerous techniques that use the opponent’s weight against them. Consulting judo entails finding a particular pain point and fixing it as an exemplar. The pain point at the retailer was QA environments: There were never enough of them. Consequently, teams would attempt to share environments, but that caused major headaches. Having found her case study, she received approval to creating QA environments using modern DevOps tools and techniques.

When she was complete, she demonstrated the falseness of both previous assumptions. Now, any team that needs a QA environment can provision one trivially. Her effort in turn convinced operations to invest more fully into modern techniques because of demonstrable value. Demonstration defeats discussion.

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