Why people are critical in delivering effective DevOps transitions

Delivering effective DevOps transitions

When it comes to transitioning to DevOps, there’s often an emphasis placed on technology and industry best practices. But the reality is that people and teams underpin digital transformation.

In its essence, DevOps is about eradicating the silos between software development and operations teams. And to do that, companies must foster a culture of shared responsibility, collaboration and continual learning. If teams aren’t motivated to accelerate change within their organisations, progress will be slow.

The rise of DevOps has also resulted in a jobs boost. According to the 2017 Open Source Jobs report conducted by The Linux Foundation and Dice, 60 per cent of recruiters are on the lookout for DevOps engineers. Meanwhile, research from jobs site Glassdoor puts the average DevOps salary at $104,000.

For many people and organisations, adopting DevOps as a software development approach in its own right will be new. We spoke to our human resources and recruitment team about the about the fundamental roles and skills needed for undertaking a successful DevOps journey.

Boosting collaboration

The aim of DevOps is essentially bringing together developers, operations and the rest of the company to work towards a shared goal. But for that to happen, organisations need to make changes around culture and the way people go about their daily roles.

Anthony Gallagher, People Success Lead (Recruitment) at DevOpsGroup, says: “Some IT professionals have been following certain approaches and practices for over fifteen years. Trying to get them to change their ways of working and collaborating with others is very difficult. It’s human nature to not like change. However, breaking down the barriers between different departments and encouraging them to work together towards a single end goal will ensure the organisation continues to innovate and stay ahead-of-the-curve.”

Although DevOps is still evolving, new opportunities are always emerging. Gallagher explains: “There’s definitely a recruitment opportunity in DevOps. Core roles include agile coaches, agile delivery managers, DevOps engineers and DevOps transformation consultants. They’re the type of roles in demand, and we often put them into clients. And, of course, technical needs are constantly changing.”

If there’s one area of technology that brings differing reactions, it’s automation. People often fear that computers are going to replace their jobs, but automation actually presents a unique opportunity. “We look at automation as something that can accelerate performance and free up time for more important tasks, while creating new roles. If we see that someone has the right attitude and embodies the DevOps principles, we’ll retrain and put them onsite with clients,” says Anthony.

Creating digital pioneers

From technology to consumer attitudes, the modern world is driven by constant change. However, organisations that embrace DevOps are better positioned to respond to this. “You need buy-in from everyone, whether it’s the CEO or an engineer. Otherwise, it’s much harder to enable change,” continues Gallagher. “People need to be open-minded and view change as a unique opportunity, rather than a detriment. Unfortunately, if companies and professionals ignore this, they’ll soon be left behind.”

As organisations scale DevOps, it’s crucial to enforce a culture of continual learning. Gallagher says: “Reading books like The Phoenix Project and The Goal will help further your understanding of DevOps and introduce you to new ways of working with your colleagues. During stand-up meetings, teams should be open to discussion and draw on their expertise, too.”

“In the DevOps space, training is also really important. Here at DevOpsGroup, people are applying for roles every day. While they may not be the right fit for the job, if they have the right cultural values and are willing to learn, that’s not to say we wouldn’t consider them. One of the reasons we set up the Academy is because we’re on a mission to create the technology workforce of the future. We actively bring people in and turn them into word-class technologists and innovators. Ultimately, you need to be determined to succeed.”

Lucy Young, People Success Associate at DevOpsGroup, agrees with Gallagher that people should be the main focus of DevOps. “It’s really important that, as a team, you work together to get things done. In this environment, organisations should develop trust within teams and give employees the autonomy to do their jobs effectively,” she explains.

“No matter what level in the company you’re at, you shouldn’t be in the mindset that you need to do things on your own. Everyone’s role is important, and you’ll learn a lot by bouncing ideas off others. When you embark on a DevOps journey, your mindset will switch because you’ll realise that it’s all about being a team player. And if you’re just beginning your journey, always be ready to respond to change.”

There’s no denying the importance technology plays in becoming a DevOps-first organisation, but it’s clear that teams and individuals are paramount too. Creating a workforce that embodies the principles of DevOps comes down to culture, opportunities, continual learning and training.

If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities on offer in the DevOps space, visit our careers page.

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