27 Nov

What CIOs Need to Know about Leading DevOps Teams

Posted by John Brandwagt

DevOps may seem like something of a fad these days. It has proven benefits for any IT department or company adopting it, however, so it’s likely DevOps is here to stay.

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The reorganization of teams into DevOps teams and the move to the DevOps paradigms can present problems for CIOs who aren’t familiar with it. If you’re leading a DevOps team, you need to know these facts.

You Must Be Flexible

DevOps is a more agile paradigm designed to allow businesses to switch gears quickly and easily. If you’re working on one project but a new market opportunity comes up, you’ll be expected to switch gears and get another product to market sooner.

This requires flexibility on the part of all team members, including yourself. The flexible mindset must extend beyond projects. You must hire highly skilled team members. They may have different areas of expertise, but they should be able to step into different roles as you need them to as well.

A flexible mindset helps you lead and manage your DevOps team more effectively.

A Harmonious Merger

DevOps teams merge what used to be two distinct teams: development and operations. In the past, the development team would develop the product. They’d then turn it over to the operations team. Operations’ job was to keep everything running smoothly after deployment. They would patch apps and rebuild code as necessary. The development team moved on to the next project.

This mindset sees development and operations as two distinct tasks. There’s one major problem with this kind of thinking. The development team always knew more about the code and how to manage it. Hand-off could cause all kinds of issues.

Merging the two in DevOps creates a continuous flow of information and continuity. Members of the development team continue working on the project after it moves into operation. Their expert knowledge of the code makes for better fixes and faster patching. It also means information gleaned through operations gets back to the development team so they can deploy this knowledge in future projects.

A Never-Ending Cycle

Just as development and operations were once distinct tasks, the cycle of project development had a clear beginning and end point. DevOps does away with that. The development team’s continued involvement in a project after deployment means there’s no “end” to the project. Once a project is deployed, the team is already preparing for the next development cycle.

This creates a continuous cycle of product development and improvement. This is important for CIOs to note. Never-ending projects are great for your timelines, but they can take a toll on your team members’ mental state. Be sure to give them breaks and assign different roles and tasks to keep things fresh.

Capitalizing on Talents

Since development and operations are merged in the DevOps model, it makes sense most of your team members possess skills in both areas. No longer is a team member solely a developer. They’re also part of the operations team.

As the team leader, you need to capitalize on each team member’s talents. Some people will be stronger developers. Others may be much better at a particular aspect of operations. Throughout it all, be sure to give individual team members a chance to develop and hone additional skills and talents.

Have a Vision

As the CIO, you’re responsible for leading the DevOps team. You’re the person the team members will turn to when they need guidance.

You should have a clear idea of what you want the team to achieve and how you believe they can achieve it. Create a strategy for your DevOps team and implement it. Articulate your vision to your team members and get them on board.

Leading your DevOps team doesn’t need to be difficult when you have a clear vision in mind.

Topics: IT Skills

John Brandwagt

John is a Practice Leader at Inteqna. He’s been working in IT Search in Calgary since 1997. He works best with selective job seekers—those who excel at what they do and enjoy their current jobs. Since they don’t have time to look for themselves, he helps them find their dream jobs. From a client perspective, he helps organizations find the talent that will propel their business. John is involved in several of Calgary’s technical user groups and has held board roles in non-profit groups. He is a single dad of four boys who try to beat him at every physical activity from hiking to rugby.

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