DevOps Institute

How to Study for the DevOps Leader (DOL) Certification Exam


July 20, 2020

By: Najib Radzuan

This article was written because I received several requests through my personal LinkedIn account in response to a post about gaining my DevOps Leader (DOL)® certification. My peers were asking for me to share tips, study material, useful courses, and whether I attended training. Rather than sending an individual message to each of them, I created this article. Before we jump into study suggestions and tips, here’s some information about DevOps Institute’s DevOps Leader (DOL)® certification course, modules, and how they evaluate your marks or grade. The following information is gathered from DevOps Institute and other resources related to DOL certification.

Course Overview

DevOps describes a culture and a set of tasks that bring together Development and Operations teams for the development of software. It enables companies to develop and improve products more quickly than they otherwise could through traditional approaches. Moreover, it has rapidly gained in popularity. The DevOps approach regenerates the teams with greater performance, concentration, and productivity through teamwork, connectivity, automation, and a set of established best practices. However, for a company, it is necessary to use the methodology fully from an experienced and qualified DevOps practitioner. The DOL course is perfect for educating DevOps executives and senior DevOps engineers. This course is special. This will allow DevOps professionals to free up valuable resources for employment and networking.

Course Objectives

The learning objectives for DOL include a practical understanding of:

  • DevOps and time to value
  • Mindset and mental models
  • Key differences between DevOps IT and traditional IT
  • Target operating models and organizational design
  • Performance management, rewards, and motivation
  • Preparing investment cases
  • Focusing on value outcomes
  • Ideas for organizing workflows
  • Empowerment and participation
  • Defining meaningful metrics
  • Value Stream Mapping

Course Contents

There are 8 main modules and objectives in the DOL course;

  1. DevOps and Transformational Leadership (DOL — 1) — Define DevOps, List the benefit of DevOps, and describe ‘Transformational Leadership’ as a concept
  2. Unlearning Behaviours (DOL — 2) — Describe how psychology and neurosciences influence DevOps
  3. Becoming a DevOps Organization (DOL — 3) — Describe shared goals, and explain how to help people participate in DevOps culture
  4. Measure to Learn (DOL — 4) — Create Value Stream Map and Value Stream Management (VSM); Describe how to measure important metrics in the DevOps methodology
  5. Measure to Improve (DOL — 5) — The improvement Kata and experiments
  6. Target Operating Models (TOM) and Organization Design (DOL — 6) — Differentiate between TOM and Organization Design; Describe how to integrate Agile and Ops; Identify elements of Agile at scale; Describe Spotify’s organizational model
  7. Articulating and Socializing Vision (DOL — 7) — Describe organizational change, and explain how to broadcast outside of your organization
  8. Maintaining Energy and Momentum (DOL — 8) — Describe blended innovation, culture, climate and a high-trust culture

Topics Covered & Question Weighting

The DevOps Leader (DOL) exam requires knowledge of the specific topic areas below:

  • Total questions: 40
  • Exam Type: Multiple choice questions
  • The time is given: 60 Minutes ( 1 Hour )
  • Passing score: 65%

Why Should You Do This Certification?

  1. DevOps is one of the world’s most common methodologies of IT management and can significantly boost your employability
  2. There are many good e-Learning and online training providers and Registered Education Partners to help you prepare
  3. The course provides short quizzes throughout to assess your understanding as students prepare for the official review of the DevOps Leader certification exam
  4. There are no formal prerequisites for the DevOps Leader exam
  5. The course includes interactive slides, tutor-led videos, and other training assets created with help from leading subject matter experts
  6. The course is fully accredited by DevOps Institute
  7. You will have the opportunity to be part of the global community of DevOps professionals

How Do I Study for the DOL Exam?

I have not taken the DOL course or formal training and have only studied based on the course and modules I’ve listed above. Here are tips on how I studied recently for my DOL certification exam – you can follow the guidelines here or refer to other resources as well for more knowledge.

  1. DevOps and Transformational Leadership

You need to know the definition of DevOps and its benefit to organizations. You also need to know how leadership style can lead to DevOps transformation and DevOps journeys in an organization. Here are some URLs that you can read for this module;

  1. Unlearning Behaviours

There are several materials you can find on the internet related to unlearning behavior, including a video from Helen Beal that I like the most. By watching her video you will know how psychology and neuroscience influence your DevOps journey.

You also need to know why we need Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) in DevOps or DevSecOps. Why GRC should be seen as a key DevOps enabler:

SCARF Model for Social Behavior; SCARF Model

  1. Becoming a DevOps Organization

You need to know how DevOps differs from traditional IT, DevOps Kaizen and explain how to help people participate in DevOps cultures;

  1. Measure to Learn

You need to know how Value Stream Maps are used in DevOps. You also need to know how to use Value Stream Mapping;

  1. Measure to Improve

You should know how to improve your work based on Value Stream Maps and understand how they can be used to identify improvement opportunities;

  1. Target Operating Models (TOM) and Organization Design

What is the Target Operating Model (TOM) for DevOps and the desired outcomes of DevOps by TOM?. The difference between TOM and Organization Design (OD)? There are also laws or terminology you should know, such as Conway’s Law and Little’s Law and how the teach us about DevOps;

Organization Characteristics:

The DevOps Target Operating Model;

Spotify Organization Model is also in this module and you can learn about it via this medium post;

  1. Articulating and Socializing Vision

Describe organizational change and how it impacts large Enterprises. You should be able to explain how to broadcast outside of your organization. 

Empowering people;

  1. Maintaining Energy and Momentum

Explain how high-trust culture works in DevOps organizations and the business cases for DevOps. Kolb’s Learning style is also a famous question in this module;

Additional pieces of information

You may refer to DevOps Institute’s brief on their DOL V2.0 Course, which includes some new topics that you should familiarize yourself with. You also need to know several terms and principles such as;

  1. Bateson Stakeholder Map
  2. Kolb’s Learning Style(above)
  3. Karpman Drama Triangle ( Rescuer, Persecutor, & Victim)
  4. Wilber’s Quadrants
  5. Training from the Back of the Room — the 4 Cs (Connection, Concept, Concrete, & Conclusion)


Good luck on your DevOps Leader (DOL) exam — and trust me — the more you read about DevOps, the more prepared you will be for your DOL exam. Because if we’re not doing the reading part, then how can we answer or prepare for the exam, right?. Here is my DOL Certificate from DevOps Institute, I hope I can at least help you to prepare for your DOL Certification Exam. Let’s #ContinuouslyLearn and #StayHuman.

Disclaimer: This post is not directly from the #DevOpsInstitute and is solely from my experience. This is also not the ultimate guideline or material for the DOL certificate. You may also refer to other resources and material to get more knowledge and prepare for your DOL exam.


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