6 Qualities Required to manage a DevOps Team

DevOps is complex because it requires people from different facets of the organization to come together and effectively form a team that can work towards achieving a common goal.

Conventionally, Development and Operations are supposed to be two different teams as people working in them have entirely different skillsets and ways of looking at different processes.

But as DevOps shows us the advantages of combining these two together, it’s crucial that leaders and managers learn how to ensure supreme collaboration and teamwork when these two get synthesized and become one, integral whole.

If you are currently looking for a person who can pull this off, you will need to judge them on these 6 qualities required to manage a DevOps team: 

1 - Top Level Technical Skills:

Nothing can frustrate team members more than a manager who they can’t look up to for solving the issues they face. Running a DevOps team is complex and filled with day to day technical challenges that the manager has to solve at all costs. If he/she fails at this, not only will it affect team morale but it will inadvertently put the whole DevOps project in jeopardy.

That’s exactly why managers who intend to lead DevOps teams need to constantly develop their skills, stay abreast of industry changes and learn to tackle issues unique to their own workflows.

But even if someone acquires these technical skills through DevOps certifications and trainings, it’s imperative that they consistently share these skills with their team members in order to make them come at par with existing industry patterns and flows.

2 - Not Being Partial and Acting Only on Sound Reasoning:

A successful DevOps implementation cycle relies solely on resoundingly correct metrics and honest feedback. There is no place for emotional arguments here as the stakes are so high that you just cannot risk things on your hunch.

A successful manager will make sure that he/she communicates this to his/her team that if they want his/her approval on anything, they will need to have a solid arsenal of data to support their arguments.

Yes, theory arguments are there, but the manager needs to make it clear to the team that there is a fine line between a theory argument and an impulsive hunch.

If the team members are confident about something working better than an existing process but can’t pull up data because of the process being radically new, they should augment it with an experiment that has an accompanying framework and the list of expected results.

The manager can then allow them to test their new idea out and see to it whether it works or not.

This way, the manager will never be accused of being partial while still retaining the capability to promote innovation through proper channels.

3 - Find People Who Are Willing To Grow & Assume More Responsibilities:

Ideally, every team member in your DevOps team should have the qualities of becoming a leader or at the very least, stepping up when circumstances require them to do so. DevOps does make project delivery easier but its implementation is not as simple as it sounds.

Concatenating different elements of the product lifecycle ranging from code to delivery is a different experience for every team and environment. And when doing this, the team will definitely come across unique challenges and problems that they have to solve if they are to move forward with the process.

The best way to ensure that the team is capable enough of doing this is for the manager to know that he/she has to find people who can take ownership and be leaders in their own right. And identifying them is not that hard at all as you just need to take a look at people who have the capability to think outside the box and are very good at forging collaborations.

4 - Able To Make Team Members See the End Goal and Resonate with It:

No successful DevOps can be built in a day. Automating outdated product delivery cycles requires months and sometimes even years of meticulous planning, staying true to the path and being mindful of every single detail in order to get things on the right track. In such an environment, team members can get frustrated due to not being able to see any visible improvement from their work right away.

This is where a manager has to step in and take everyone into confidence that if the process they follow is right, the end goal will also be as they expect it to be. He/she has to keep team members updated about the fact that their work won’t go unappreciated and that DevOps implementation is definitely going to prove to be meaningful in the long run.

5 - Create Tools and Windows To Facilitate Collaboration & Transparency:

DevOps involve team members that come from entirely different facets of the firm and everyone knows that to achieve the goal, they have to communicate properly.

But often, that’s not the case, because no matter how much we talk about the importance of communication, it won’t be useful unless the manager makes an explicit effort to create an effective mechanism that fosters consistent, meaningful collaboration.

The manager needs to possess the skill to not just build, but maintain and run these channels as well. A manager can do this very easily by having weekly team meetings where everyone has to tell about their work, share project results and assessment reports generated from different endpoints, deploy members into other teams at least once a month among other practices.

6 - Be Vigilant of Toxic Behavior That Can Affect the Team’s Culture:

Team members with a toxic attitude can instill negativity into the whole environment and create a chain of events that results in discord springing up in every other part of the team. When this happens too much and things go out of control, it’s very difficult for the manager to do anything apart from damage control.

DevOps needs continuous, positive, full effort involvement of individuals to see success and if someone is screwing this up, the manager needs to identify him/her and reprimand them for their activities.

The skill to do this can be developed by seeing to it that there is a complete assessment of any discord and the people involved in it.

If there is a toxic person hiding in there, a pattern will soon emerge with the toxic person as the central character in every such ensuring event. A manager who zeroes down on this in time will save the team from falling into further disarray and in turn, save the DevOps project from going down as well.

Wrapping Things Up:

These 6 qualities are the barometer through which you can easily gauge a person’s capabilities towards running a successful DevOps team. Finding such a person can be hard because most of these required skills do not come naturally to most individuals.

In such a case, it is better to have DevOps trainings that focus on working to improve these weak points among potential candidates.

This way, you will be sure that the person who you are entrusting with the task of running your whole DevOps operation is fully equipped to deal with all kinds of challenges that comes his/her way and take your project to successful completion.