Adopting practices like continuous delivery and continuous integration is the key to implementing DevOps in the organization. It goes without a saying that these practices aren’t possible without building a good team structure. General articles on DevOps only talk about general advice like “Build a great team” or “Establish good communication and sharing culture in teams”.
The DevOps market reports are different in that they tell what it takes to attract the right talent, retain it, and how to push developers towards maximum effectiveness. Here are some tips for a better team structure of DevOps teams.
The first step in building a successful DevOps team is to ensure it has a multidisciplinary skillset. Assembling such a team ensures it has the organization’s best resources. Many organizations fail to understand that people are a critical component of the equation. According to leading DevOps market experts, the team needs to have the following roles.
- DevOps Evangelist – determines the key values DevOps (IT) can provide to business
- Release Manager – Manages the company’s projects and addresses coordination
- Automation Architect – designs, apply and analyzes deployment strategies
- Software developer/tester- monitors and tests code and ensures software meets business requirements.
- Experience Assurance Professional – Overlooks release of new features and sets precedence to user experience
- Security Engineer- Coordinates with DevOps team members and ensure security is a priority
The above roles are the foundation of the DevOps team. While not every DevOps team will have each of the roles mentioned earlier, the most essential component is collaboration and communication between DevOps team members.
Measure the effectiveness of the team structure
After building a DevOps and adopting best practices, companies cannot sit back and observe their functioning and wait for results. They need to study the effectiveness of the team structure, their roles, and the environment. This can be done by studying KPIs that are useful to assess the success of the DevOps teams. Besides analyzing the KPIs, you need to also focus on key elements – collaboration and communication.
- Are the teams communicating effectively?
- Are they able to collaborate easily?
- Are there any bottlenecks at any stage of the software development cycle?
- Are there any gaps in information sharing?
You must find an answer to these questions and address the issues to build a better DevOps team. There are several team structures possible in the DevOps team; you need to find the one that works for your organization.
Team Structures That Work
According to the DevOps market report, a generative culture can succeed in enforcing DevOps best practices. A generative culture refers to a work culture where leaders emphasize accomplishing organizational goals rather than personal rules.
Some of the necessary traits are breaking down silos to help bridge, setting up cross-functional teams to encourage high cooperation, and shared responsibilities. By co-locating members of the team, leaders can inspire the team to work towards common goals.
Building small teams based on portfolios
Small teams are often found effective and efficient in DevOps. Many organizations implementing DevOps are known to break the IT department into smaller groups to coordinate and cooperate better. Having smaller teams that are loosely coupled adhere well to the microservices style of delivery.
A portfolio based team could have people with different roles like an evangelist, developers, testers, production support, traditional project managers, and others. The teams could share leadership and could be role-aligned
Having a Centre of Enablement
Most DevOps teams are known to struggle with communication and collaboration. Hence, organizations need to look for new ways to build better teams and organizing processes. The answer lies in the form of the Centre of Enablement.
A center for enablement treats the IT teams differently. They are considered as strategic business partners and not looked at by their traditional job functions. Centre for enablement focuses on building a cross-functional team that operates across different business spectrums like digital innovation teams, line of business, and central IT.
One of the innovative ways to build a strong DevOps team is by allowing team members to have more said in the selection process. A self-select team refers to a practice that allows employees to specify who they want to work with. It is hard for leaders and managers to know the dynamics of each person.
When you create a team organically through self-select, you bring people who mesh well professionally and interpersonally. It is a proven fact that a group of people who like to work with each other can successfully work on any project.
A better team structure will help your organization reap all benefits of implementing DevOps. The methods of building teams discussed above give you a DevOps team that has efficient communication and collaboration in its DNA.