Working on a DevOps team is not something most team members choose; the engineers who choose to work for longer periods become frustrated by the constant feedback exchanges. It takes a specific category of people to excel at being part of a DevOps team. The following attributes will help you find your place on the team.
- Self-paced learning
The field of DevOps is constantly evolving, and it becomes more and more difficult to adapt your skills and keep the motivation alive. It becomes difficult to learn something that is evolving quickly. Self-paced learners are the best individuals for pursuing and embracing DevOps adoption. This requires a process of rolling-up-your-sleeves, do-it-yourself and trial-and-error, continuous learning approach.
DevOps, by nature, sees all the various technical staff in the enterprise as part of a unified whole. Experts say that DevOps represents the collaboration between operations and development, and thus “it’s crucial that all individuals in a team have the ability to adopt a team-focused mindset.”
DevOps, if there is such a thing, isn’t about CI/CD and it isn’t about how Developers work with Operations. It is about collaboration, involving all vested interests, across every point in the delivery chain.
The aim should be to create a “System of Value” that can connect ideas and strategies all the way through the delivery and to the point of customer feedback. That isn’t just Dev and Ops. Or Dev and Sec and Ops. or Dev and Data and Sec and Ops. It’s everyone.
Nic Whittaker – Head of Platform Engineering & DevOps @ Virgin Atlantic
Members of a DevOps team should be able to work with the entire engineering department, often with a host of departments. The DevOps team should make sure there are no misunderstandings or conflicts.
Constant improvement is another core attribute of DevOps. Working on a DevOps team requires trial-and-error and a lot of effort to make sure that everyone is on the same wavelength. In short, if you’re on a DevOps team, you should have a very specific skill set, as well as critical thinking, something that’s not ingrained in the everyday tasks of business professionals.
- Big-picture mindset
We’ve already mentioned that in order to succeed in a DevOps team, you need to be familiar with many skills and knowledge sets instead of focusing on just one element.
“We shouldn’t care if a developer or a tester or a T Shaped person or an SRE has used Tool X for deployment. I care that the individual is prepared to figure it out and have the ability to resolve the problem.
Capacity to solve a problem by applying your previous experiences is the key.
In any case, we’re building “Capabilities” that are self-sustaining. Just avoid people as “single point of failure”. “
Nic Whittaker – Head of Platform Engineering & DevOps @ Virgin Atlantic”
- Prioritise your time and attention
Your attention needs to be divided when you are on a DevOps team, which means you can easily get distracted. To make sure that doesn’t happen, it is crucial to finish tasks with a higher priority first. Experts say that the ability to prioritize is very important in DevOps.
Prioritisation of work in a DevOps orientated organisation is imperative. Investing early and consistently in automation, continuous integration, continuous delivery and a relentless focus on the software delivery value stream are crucial for developing and maintaining an efficient and frictionless engineering function.
Building truly cross-functional engineering teams is extremely challenging, expensive and is predicated on being able to source, retain and pay for top percentile engineering talent.
A more pragmatic approach for most organisations is to find well-rounding engineering talent and abstract away unnecessary complexity with automation and tooling where possible.
Paul Whyte – Engineering Manager – DevOps (UK & Europe) @ Funding Circle UK”
Last but not least, working closely with other people seems to be inevitable, errors will occur, work will be delayed and things will not work as you initially planned. As long as you understand that a lot of things can go wrong and you embrace failure as part of the journey, you will help your team steer clear from finger-pointing