It’s been gratifying to see the DevOps community take up the challenge of making empathy the essence of what we do. We should be proud of ourselves as an example to other organizational transformation approaches. We still, though, have room to grow. Whether it’s NoOps, or cloud-native chauvinism, or labeling people on the autism spectrum as lacking the capacity for empathy, we create subtle separations and exclusions through language and practice.
I would like to use my experience as a person with autism to reflect on the true meaning of empathy as the essence of DevOps. People on the spectrum are typically viewed as lacking something. In the process, our strengths and value get ignored. Real empathy means looking for wisdom and capability across differences. How do we do that in a comprehensive way? What are the obstacles to doing so in our current approaches to DevOps? How can overcoming those obstacles provide a model for digital transformation, and for healthy organizations, that transcends dev and ops?