The five key traits your burgeoning DevOps team needs to have
It’s the buzzword of the moment. It’s growing so fast in popularity according to Gartner that a quarter of Global 2000 organisations will deploy it by the end of this year. So what exactly is DevOps?
At the heart of DevOps are four crucial elements: speed, quality, control and cost. Speed is fundamental to competitive execution and market positioning. Quality is vital to successful implementation and long-term viability. Control, the command of data use, security, access and process is crucial to safe operations. And cost as we all know is a key element of nearly all business decisions.
As Tony Bradley, editor in chief of TechSpective, explains, “DevOps really is more about the culture than the tools and technology. A group of traditional developers and IT engineers who understand and embrace DevOps culture can be successful, whereas a team of DevOps experts experienced with Chef, Puppet, Docker, and other DevOps tools that doesn’t accept and adapt to the cooperative, collaborative nature of DevOps culture is more or less doomed to failure.”
While it is a common assumption that implementing DevOps is a primarily technical process, we see here that the cultural aspects and adjustments are equally as important. Every DevOps team need to possess certain traits in order to successfully tackle this cultural shift.
Communication is key
Up until fairly recently, IT professionals had strictly defined roles and responsibilities that allowed them to work more independently than collaboratively. As a result, communication skills weren’t a priority for when putting together an IT team.
However, as rapid deployment and newer, streamlined processes have emerged, communication has become key to making smooth transitions from one phase of the project to the next. Enforcing good communication can lead to better results in a shorter amount of time and ultimately help organisations save money.
There’s no ‘i’ in team
Flexibility is key in effectively implementing a DevOps methodology in an organisation. For those jumping on the DevOps bandwagon, the phrase “it’s not my job” shouldn’t be spoken. While it’s common for organisations to experience a clash between development and operations teams when first implementing a DevOps strategy, successful interdepartmental integration requires collaboration in order for the team to reach their end goal–satisfying the needs of the business.
Think of implementing DevOps as working with a team of teams. While each team brings different skills to the table, it is important for all teams to provide support to deliver the most powerful results as effectively and quickly possible.
We’ve all heard the saying that the only constant in life is change, whether it involves something as small as adjusting our daily commute or as big as a new career. And like everything else, the implementation of DevOps brings about a large cultural shift for an organisation.
Gartner analyst George Spafford recommends implementing a cultural change programme to make team members aware of the end goals. To begin, he encourages developing a small pilot plan to test the waters initially by deploying tests and taking careful note of what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to know your team what works best to motivate the group to keep them positive and interested. Laying out such a road map and embracing the cultural change will result in a more focused team that will optimise the outcome.
Don’t be afraid of failure
If you’ve been doing your DevOps research, you’ll know that there are just about as many articles on DevOps failures as there are successes. To be on a DevOps team you need to accept that failures can happen, but you can’t fear it.
According to a Gartner study, 75% of enterprise IT departments will have tried to create a bimodal capacity by 2018. However, less than 50% of them will reap the benefits that new methodologies like DevOps promise. Willing to fail and being patient is crucial for a team to get the most out of their DevOps efforts.
Sustain the enthusiasm
DevOps is here and it’s the next big thing. You’re probably getting tired of hearing that by now. A successful DevOps team needs people that want to make a difference with the excitement to drive a significant business transformation. This involves the willingness to listen to customer feedback and adjust accordingly. Since consumers are the main driver on continual software updates and releases, it is crucial to be interested in what they have to say and be more than willing to be accommodating. There will be many highs and lows, and despite processes breaking and things not going according to plan, people involved in DevOps need to maintain continuous enthusiasm for the journey ahead of them.
With these five traits, your team will be able to successfully implement a DevOps strategy and navigate the minefield of cultural change that comes along with it.