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4 Things to Keep in Mind When Engaging With the DevOps Team

10/21/2015 by: The SunView Team

The DevOps movement is changing the way IT operations are run and businesses that want to make the most of DevOps need to make sure they are adjusting their expectations, culture and practices to position themselves for optimal results.

Implementing DevOps strategies isn't simple. It involves combining cultural and procedural changes that encourage IT workers to collaborate and step outside of their traditional job roles to improve technology performance. All of this change can be intimidating for your technology workers - especially as developers are asked to take on operations competencies and vice versa. Your top workers can easily begin to feel alienated as they take on what they feel is more than their fair share of making DevOps work, and you need to make sure you are thinking holistically if you want to keep your entire team engaged.

Four vital issues you should consider when working to engage your DevOps team includes:

1. Ensure the Move to DevOps Makes Sense
Companies can become so interested in using technology to stay ahead of competitors that they drive ahead on the road to innovation only to realize that a technology plan doesn't really make sense for them. Even more common place, a business will put substantial resources into an IT strategy without really thinking about how it aligns with their business requirements or corporate culture. Either of these scenarios can serve as a poison pill for your DevOps plans.

2. Get a Handle on Resource Allocation
DevOps, ultimately, is about using the knowledge of both development and operations team members to streamline processes. In theory, the work should balance itself out to make life a little bit easier for everybody, letting your employees focus more on their core competencies to maximize business value. In reality, DevOps strategies often end up depending heavily on the few workers who really understand the broad implications of problems that come up, leaving them feeling burnt out while the rest of your staff struggles to keep up.

You need to give your technology workers the resources they need to adapt to DevOps. This can mean devoting time to training, creating dedicated work roles to resolve pain points or investing in IT service management technologies that simplify everyday processes and leave more room for strategic thinking. Don't let your DevOps plan stumble because your workers don't have the resources they need to succeed.

3. Create Clear Expectations
Complexity is a major challenge in any DevOps strategy. Workers will be handling new responsibilities and processes may involve a larger number of stakeholders and operational initiatives. Furthermore, there are more opportunities for users to make small mistakes, and everybody will be under a microscope. The stress created in this environment can be extreme. Setting clear expectations is critical in helping employees understand how they need to perform on an everyday basis. Furthermore, communicating that small, justifiable mistakes are understandable can alleviate some of the tension that comes with DevOps and help employees work with less stress, positioning them to get the job done more effectively in the long run.

4. Get Change Management on Board
Change is a major issue in DevOps. Continuous integration is likely an issue for your organization if you are implementing DevOps plans, meaning you have a nearly constant state of change happening within the IT department. If your DevOps team doesn't have good tools to manage change quickly and efficiently, they will be left struggling to keep up.

Modern change management solutions are moving away from monolithic models built around complex layers of permissions and managerial approval. In the past, any IT change usually required a decision from the change advisory board, a tight process schedule and managerial approvals along the way. This will slow a DevOps team to a screeching halt. Modern change management tools give users the resources they need to make changes intelligently without the time-consuming checks and balances that have been in place. At the same time, these solutions create a built-in audit trail so you can go back and undo any changes in the event of an unexpected problem. Shifting to a reactive change model can empower DevOps teams.

Getting your DevOps team engages is critical if you want to optimize efficiency and the right cultural and technological decisions can make that happen.