Using the DevOps Methodology for Team Development

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DevOps isn’t a specific role or process, it’s a methodology for creating efficient, collaborative teams that build reliable services quickly. So, the development of the people on your team is essential to DevOps success. The people shape how DevOps looks on your team, but the DevOps methodology also helps shape the people. Through DevOps continuous improvement, people become better–leading to improved workflows and technology across the entire organization.

Team development in DevOps is equally important to the actual process for software development and incident management. By helping teammates continuously improve, cultivating an environment of collaboration and transparency, and promoting innovation, you’re influencing a blameless culture dedicated to building reliable services.

DevOps is normally thought of as a technical process for delivering software quickly, but the DevOps methodology can, and should, also be applied to building a great team. The people at an organization should build upon the core philosophies of DevOps and also use DevOps ideals to help scale the future team.

So, first and foremost, you need to understand what the core philosophies of DevOps actually are in order to feed those ideals into your team members.

The Core DevOps Philosophies

Exposure:

DevOps requires a team exposed to systems running in both staging and production. With deeper exposure to systems in production, developers will better understand the inner workings of their system and help them build faster. DevOps gives developers and operations professionals deeper exposure to both sides of the software development lifecycle, speeding up everything from incident resolution to new feature releases.

Collaboration:

DevOps is highly reliant on a culture of deep collaboration and communication. Highly collaborative development and operations teams are not afraid to ask questions, learn from each other, and get their hands dirty with systems in staging and production. Open channels of communication need to be established from the get-go, allowing everyone across the company to easily collaborate cross-functionally.

Continuous Improvement:

Potentially the most important element of the DevOps methodology, continuous improvement applies to everything people do. The people in a DevOps-centric organization need to dedicate themselves to continuously improving processes, tooling, and people operations. When people strive to improve, the systems and technology behind them also get better.

Accountability:

DevOps is reliant on people taking accountability for the services they build. Developers need to own the code they write and maintain the services they’re creating in production. This accountability fosters a deeper connection and understanding with the systems your team builds–shortening incident resolution and helping developers build more reliable services. When developers are put on-call for fixing any issues in the systems they create, you can be sure they’ll take a second look before sending the service to production.

Transparency:

In DevOps, transparency is essential to operational success. In order to build faster and remediate incidents quickly, people need access to the information they need when they need it. A transparent culture also creates more open conversations, leads to new ideas, and helps teams think outside the box. Restricting data and communication to fewer teammates only restricts the ideas and innovation that may come from a transparent culture.

Automation:

Automate anything that can be automated. DevOps is all about using the technology available to us to improve human workflows and speed up everything from software delivery to incident management. Automation can be used to make people’s lives easier and help bolster some of the other DevOps values.

DevOps Applied to Team Development

At its core, the DevOps methodology is an open, collaborative system for the continuous improvement of human workflows, operational efficiency, and the speedy delivery of reliable software. So, when developing a team, the core philosophies of DevOps should also be core values of the people on the team. Team development requires transparency and collaboration from everyone involved.

So, let’s break down each individual philosophy of DevOps and apply it to team development:

Exposure:

A culture of DevOps exposes people to more areas of software development and incident management. This exposure helps people gain more experience with new technologies or processes, helping them grow in their careers. As your people learn more and become more experienced, that value feeds into the services you build. So, DevOps exposure not only helps your business and your product but it helps DevOps team managers learn from their team and offers valuable knowledge to employees.

Collaboration:

The more that teammates communicate with others, hear diverse opinions, and share experiences, the more everyone learns. Deeper collaboration gives people the opportunity to learn new programming languages, try new techniques, and exchange ideas. Open communication helps people not only learn more about the services they’re currently building, but it also helps teammates learn new skills they can take with them throughout their careers.

Continuous Improvement:

Whether you’re building a new team or developing a current team’s skills, continuous improvement is a must. In DevOps, you’re always looking to improve people operations, processes, and technology in relation to software development and incident management. So, this clearly applies to the continuous improvement of your teams and team members. By helping your teammates continuously improve, their personal improvement funnels into the services you build.

Accountability:

DevOps teaches people about taking accountability for their actions. By building a team accountable for the services they build and hiring people who take this responsibility seriously, you get the best out of your team. A culture of accountability forces people to be the best they can be, making your team better and leading to more reliable systems.

Transparency:

Transparency and openness about workflows and communication is a great habit for people to pick up. DevOps drives teams to centralize information and build workflows that make everyone more efficient. When everyone across the organization is more transparent about their efforts, it helps improve the efficiency of your own efforts. Visibility into systems and operations allows a team to maximize efficiency and develop better products faster.

Automation:

Automation doesn’t apply as much to people as it does to technology. But automation can play a role in making people’s lives easier. And, this helps your team develop in the areas where it’s truly important. With automation, instead of focusing on menial day-to-day tasks, people can focus on learning new things and innovating.

The values of DevOps offer teammates a lot of flexibility for bettering themselves and ultimately bettering the team. When the team is better, the service the team creates also becomes better. Hire for people who hold personal values similar to those necessary in the DevOps methodology. This way, people will naturally fit into your company’s culture, learn quickly, and drive operational success.

Team development shouldn’t be overlooked as a core trait of DevOps, and DevOps shouldn’t be overlooked as a useful tool for team development. Leverage the inherent values of DevOps to improve the people on your team and build reliable systems faster.

Developing a collaborative DevOps team is a requirement for building reliable software quickly. Learn from our own story of building a DevOps-focused culture in our free guide, Build the Resilient Future Faster: Creating a Culture of Reliability.”

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