As we have mentioned in our previous blogs, DevOps is a set of practices used by both development and operations teams – or maybe all teams – in an organization, for the sake of attending to customers’ needs and deliver softwares or applications much faster and in better quality.
Many big enterprises have successfully learned with their respective roadblocks, and implemented DevOps by aggregating tools that worked well with their teams.
However, finding the right toolchain is not enough for DevOps to be implemented successfully. A company might understand what the concept of DevOps is and select the most useful tools to put it into practice – but having a dedicated and competent team plays another important role in completing a DevOps implementation.
In terms of structure, some specific roles are crucial to build an efficient DevOps team. For example:
The DevOps Evangelist
Showcases the benefits of DevOps through the value that a business can gain from IT. The DevOps Evangelist’s responsibility is to promote the benefits of DevOps itself, ensure these benefits are understood, and that professionals are qualified and trained for the tasks.
The Release Manager
Whenever an organization is in the works with a project, the Release Manager has the function to coordinate said project, from development to production, to make sure continuous delivery is maintained – as well as the toolchain. The Release Manager is someone who is familiar with Agile, and who can measure all the different project metrics to give DevOps the visibility it needs from others.
The Automation Architect
This role is responsible for designing strategies of Continuous Deployment. Not only that, but the Automation Architect also implements and analyzes those strategies, to find the necessary tools to make sure the DevOps process is properly automated. This way, it is possible to deliver codes faster and in higher quality throughout different phases of the project.
The Software Developer
Writes and tests codes in accordance with business’ requirements, deploys and monitors throughout the project. The role also works towards automation, as it is necessary to deliver quality codes efficiently – for this reason, Software Developers work well along with Automation Architects.
The Experience Assurance Professional
This professional prioritizes the part of the project that focuses on the customer. They keep a close watch on user experience, as well as in new features deployed – as they will be evaluated by the public. They ensure the final product has all the necessary features and is delivered for a positive user experience.
The Security Engineer
Security has to always come first in matters where technology is involved. Therefore, a Security Engineer ensures any and all regulations regarding the product are met – for the sake of building and maintaining trust, and keeping an organization safe. They also work closely with developers to make sure the product is safe from any form of attack, as well as the users.
The Utility Technology Player
This role can be consisted of a team of people who can take up different responsibilities throughout the development of a project with ease – they can be involved in management, development, or security. This role exists because, in DevOps, it is very important to have a team with a variety of skillsets.
The DevOps Engineer
This role is relatively new and mainly responsible for the infrastructure of the Cloud. Looking to see if the infrastructure is in order, developing high-quality code scales to be delivered, and keeping the Cloud secured against viruses or hackers are the main responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer.
The Silicon IT Hub did a great job explaining such important roles in here for us all to check it in full.
Having the roles pointed and figured out is one thing – but the people to perform such roles are, of course, needed. And so, how can a company introduce a team? Defining the tools and the roles are not enough, as people need to understand DevOps at its core, and work as a true team.
MuleSoft is known for a great use of DevOps and understanding of it's positions. In this article, they made a list to help us grasp what is necessary for a DevOps team to be made. So, here is a step-by-step guide on how a company can structure a DevOps team for itself:
Step 1: Assemble roles that align with business objectives
The previously provided list showcases important roles that are fit for a DevOps team. This first step is made of new or existing experts, with intertwined skillsets, that are capable of assuming the responsibilities of their tasks and, most important of all, can build communication and collaboration among themselves.
Step 2: Avoid jumping to DevOps practices right away
However, the amount and the functions or titles of such roles can vary from one organization to another – it all depends on the business objectives of a company. Therefore, the second step is not to dive into practices as soon as the roles are defined, but align them with business objectives, as each team is going to vary depending on the company and its values and culture.
Step 3: Select the right toolchain
The DevOps tools are what will make each part of the process come to fruition. Team members will know what is expected of them and how to perform – but they will need an efficient toolchain that will allow them to go through each step of a project’s process.
Step 4: Implement the practices
Finally – after defining roles that are in accordance with the company, and selecting the best candidates for them –, a company can start to make proper use of DevOps. With the right toolchain, team members will then be able to perform continuous integration and delivery, testing, automation, deployment, etc.
Step 5: Measure the team’s performance
A company can have everything – the DevOps strategy set up and aligned with the business’ goals, and the team ready with its toolchain. But DevOps must not be implemented just “once” – the team has to constantly keep an eye on how they are doing their tasks and measure their effectiveness. This can be done with performance indicators – revenue growth, client satisfaction, employee satisfaction, profit margin are just examples of key performance indicators a DevOps team can guide itself with.
Step 6: Give extra attention to the team’s communication and collaboration
The DevOps steps throughout the lifecycle of a project cannot proceed properly and efficiently if team members do not get along well. Companies must make sure their collaboration is efficient and their communication is clear and consistent – so development and deployment and all in between can work smoothly.
There are different ways to structure a DevOps team, and one team varies from the other. In this article, we have given examples of roles usually played at most DevOps teams and the various steps companies can take to make sure their team works out well – however, each organization is going to have the team it needs. And that is why there are various structures to a DevOps team.
A DevOps team, in its most simple resolution, puts development and operations working together to build, test and deploy faster software. On the other hand, these two groups can also work in collaboration with each other instead – as it is the case in companies like Facebook or Netflix, individuals both develop and operate applications.
Google, unlike the other two mentioned, uses the DevOps/SRE structure, where the product is sent by the development team to the Site Reliability Engineering team to run the software. This way, both these teams are composed of the operations team, working in all the operational criteria of a project.
DevOps can also be external – meaning a company uses another company for its DevOps activities, usually making use of a team for a limited amount of time. Either way, in any of these models, existing silos must be broken, and improvement must be constant.
Regardless of the structure, a DevOps team should practice regularly and share knowledge, as well as be high-functional. This can all be achieved through good communication among team members, and a solid understanding of the practices and tools in use. With these factors in mind, a DevOps team can thrive – and so can the company.