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InfoQ Homepage News Do You and Your Company Have the Skills Needed for DevOps?

Do You and Your Company Have the Skills Needed for DevOps?


In order to implement DevOps, individuals and organizations must prepare for the culture shift, new tools, and automation. This consensus has evolved during years of debate concerning what exactly DevOps means and how to use it. There are many voices in the discussion, and even with some areas of consensus, many points are far from agreement.

DevOps is not a “quick win” or “quick fix”.  Pivotal Industry analyst Michael Coté suggests making sure you tell your bosses about what DevOps is before they decide on their own. He suggests that DevOps is not a quick win and leaders and execs should know what they are getting into. It is also noted that DevOps is not only automation. Just adding tools like Puppet, Chef, Ansible or Salt and people that know these tools will not cause your teams to be “DevOps”.

Accenture’s Asia-Pacific DevOps lead Mirco Hering points to some key areas leaders and executives should prepare for with the move to DevOps.  

An organization with good DevOps practices should have HR practices that “have been transformed to recognize the team-based nature of work and that outcomes of the organization matter the most”. The organization’s financial governance will find a way to “decouple funding cycles so that agile teams can continue working as long as certain organizational results (financial and otherwise) are achieved by teams”.

Project-based teams are a thing of the past, according to Hering:

Teams should exist as persistent entities with stable members that transcend traditional role definitions and even organizational boundaries where vendors and system integrators are involved. Stakeholders across the organization have access to real-time information from both business and IT systems to steer the organization.

In the discussion of what DevOps looks like in an organization, there are several perspectives on whether to create a separate DevOps team. Coté notes that:

The notion that a separate team, or person, handles all the DevOps related concerns belies a misunderstanding of what DevOps is at its core: sweeping changes to how the organization operates, end-to-end.

In another perspective, UpGuard, a security tools vendor, is of the opinion that in some cases it makes sense to create a dedicated DevOps team:

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to many of the questions that arise when starting out, and this is one of those. For some, it may be beneficial to pull a few people to the side and see if DevOps works on a small scale there before rolling it out wide. For others, a gradual mass change may be the way to go. It's dependent on your needs, team, and capabilities.

In many discussions of DevOps there is no mention of soft skills, collaboration or cultural fit. It is not enough to just learn about tools and programming methods to declare yourself DevOps. When considering individual’s skills, UpGuard suggests:

As for cultural and soft skills, excellent written and verbal communication with others is necessary, and humility is crucial. You must never be too proud to admit fault in a process or project -- it's how a team grows in both capability and trust.

UpGuard has a series of eBooks on DevOps. Many of their latest eBooks are focused on clearing up confusion around DevOps.

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