25 Questions To Ask Before Building Your DevOps Team
As part of building a DevOps team in an organization, some best practices need to be implemented, and questions need to be asked.
These are questions crucial to the success of the DevOps team in your organization. If answered correctly, the organization can achieve the business benefits it seeks from adopting the DevOps culture.
Having the Dev and Ops teams work together is a proven way to improve the software's quality and tighten the release into production. Each team has different requirements and ethics that guide their workflow. Coming to a confluence on these ethics can be tricky and, if done wrong, can be fatal to the organization’s growth. This is why leaders and facilitators of the DevOps practices need to pipe down and assess the crucial requirement for a successful DevOps team to thrive in the organization.
This article explores some thought-provoking questions that need to be asked and answered by organization leaders before and during the process of building their DevOps team.
Why are we adopting DevOps?
This question sounds relatively simple, but a wrong answer can be fatal to the organization. Before setting out to build a DevOps team, you should understand the values and requirements of the organization and why DevOps is the solution. This will guide other decisions in making a DevOps team that genuinely serves the business values of an organization.
Is your DevOps team autonomous?
A typical setting in many organizations is integrating the DevOps team into the CTO's primary software engineering or operations team. This setting, however, is not healthy for DevOps to thrive in your organization. Tucking DevOps into the immediate development or operations team will influence how other teams in the organization perceive the operations of DevOps. The DevOps team in an organization must be autonomous for both tech and non-tech teams to feel included in its operations and also for the DevOps professional to understand the gravity of responsibility it is allotted.
Did you set priorities for security, testing, and software release?
Even though a CI/CD pipeline can test, secure software delivery, and quickly release, it cannot provide each of them with the same magnitude. To get the most out of your CI/CD pipeline, you should prioritize which security, testing, or quick release will be more beneficial for your workflow, then focus on tools that will help you achieve the benefit. It would be best if you considered creating a separate automated pipeline inside your CI/CD pipeline that will further improve the speed and quality of your preferred priority.
Have you defined specific goals for your CI/CD pipeline?
What exactly do you plan to achieve by implementing your CI/CD pipeline? This is an important question to ask, and an honest answer will give you and your team members a common goal and a clear roadmap to achieve the goal. Your goal might be to release software into production faster, increased automation testing, or more secure software. A common goal will keep everyone focused on curating tools and creating a workflow that will drive the accomplishment of that goal.
Do you have tools that support your priorities?
A product of a DevOps workflow is as good as the tools adopted in their development pipeline. You have a wide range of tools to choose from, starting from automated build systems such as Chef, Ansible, and Terraform, Containerization tools such as Docker, and Continuous integration, testing, and deployment tools Jenkins, CircleCI, Bamboo, and GitLab CI.
You must choose tools that align with the expertise of your DevOps professionals and support the goals of your CI/CD pipeline.
Is the entire team included in the CI/CD pipeline implementation?
Getting as many members of the organization who interact with the CI/CD pipeline to contribute to the process will reduce the centralization of tasks among the team members. Small jobs and issues or feature requests may arise at any point in the CI/CD pipeline. If the CI/CD pipeline is inclusive and many team members are familiar with the pipeline, they can take it on and fix the issue rather than delay the process till those who can handle it arrive.
Is your CI/CD pipeline efficient?
The efficiency of a CI/CD pipeline can be determined by several metrics, including the build and test frequency. For a CI/CD pipeline to be more efficient, it is advised to build the artifacts of a project once and use it continuously for subsequent testing and deployment. In addition to time-saving, this will ensure that your project dependencies remain the same and you do not encounter any issues related to the dependencies throughout the development process.
How quick is it to detect significant defects in your pipeline?
Your pipeline should be designed in such a way that you can easily detect failures and major defects in the earlier stage of the pipeline. Failing fast and detecting the failures early will help your team achieve a more stable pipeline through continuous testing and experimentation.
Does it demand speed and velocity from IT?
Especially in organizations where all teams are not agile, this is an important question to ask. The DevOps team needs to understand the agility and velocity required by the business and whether or not other departments such as IT can keep up with this velocity. If not, the DevOps team needs to work hand in hand with the operations team to increase their operational speed with time gradually.
Is management desperate to go faster?
The speed expectation of the organization management will be the tracking meter for the efficiency of the DevOps team in the organization. If the administration is desperate about the speed of operation, DevOps carries the most responsibility in implementing the rate through automation, efficient collaboration, and tight implementation of feedback.
Are they open to change?
DevOps is not just about the tools or setting up a pipeline. It is a culture that requires the collaboration and contribution of all stakeholders in the software development process in your organization. Suppose a part of your organization is unwilling to embrace DevOps and the change it will bring to their workflow. In that case, it won't be easy to implement and may affect the effectiveness of the DevOps culture in your organization. It would help if you made other departments understand the operational functions of the DevOps team. This will
Does your DevOps team understand the release velocity and release agility
The DevOps team is at the center of the operation of all other technical teams in an organization. As such, they are more responsible for the success and failure of the technical department. The DevOps team needs to understand the release velocity required by the organization and put necessary measures in place to meet it.
How should you structure your DevOps team?
The structure will determine the success of DevOps adoption in your organization. It is advised that you structure your team in a cross-functional way. It should consist of at least one person from every department in the organization and the development and operations personnel. This will foster collaboration, diffuse agility into all departments, and generally improve the impact of DevOps in building faster software.
Do you consider data in making decisions?
As with many other technologies and business aspects, data should be considered in every decision made by the DevOps team. Data and metrics from the usage of applications will give both the developers an overview of the performance and possible improvements and the operation team an understanding of potential issues in infrastructure and where improvements can be made.
The various data sets can be used to analyze and provide recommendations on the following steps to be taken in the software development cycle to yield business benefits.
How do your development and operations teams communicate and adopt the DevOps culture?
The Development and Operations teams are two different teams trying to stitch together to produce more quality applications faster through DevOps. An efficient communication culture should be established between the two groups to reach a consensus when making decisions about the tools, velocity of release, and other operational models to make the Dev-Ops collaboration successful.
Do you have effective DevOps leadership?
Leadership could make or break DevOps in any organization. A good DevOps leader in an organization must be passionate about the DevOps process and the company's success as a whole. They must have a good relationship with every DevOps team member and continuously support every person involved in the software development and IT operation team. They must collectively ensure that applications are highly available in pre-production and production environments.
How do you attract the right talent?
Finding people with the proper operation and development talent is no easy task. As such, the organization should make adequate provision and compensation available if they want to attract the best talents to take on the mission-critical tasks in DevOps. Are they good communicators? Do they understand our business targets? Will they utilize the data? These are some of the questions you should ask when hiring a DevOps professional.
Instead of employing specialized team members, you should focus on generalists who have experience in many DevOps processes. While this hiring approach is favorable for DevOps positions because of its dynamicity, it might not be ideal for other technical positions, including developer and operations.
How do you adopt automation in your workflow?
In the heart of DevOps is automation. How well you implement automation in your workflow will directly determine how fast and error-free your workflow will be. Ideally, you should automate every task that can be automated to achieve a tight, repeatable, and error-free DevOps pipeline.
Do you implement the two-pizza team structure?
The two-pizza team structure encourages you to divide your DevOps team into small logical units that will take up specific tasks in the DevOps process. This team should be small but highly effective in attending to various business needs by integrating developers, testers, DevOps engineers, operations engineers, and project managers. Such a team will be easy to manage and yield more business benefits.
How observable is your software?
Monitoring and observability are of high importance in DevOps environments. You should be able to observe and monitor the usage and performance of your software to give you insights on how to improve and provide a more appealing user experience.
How seriously do you take customer feedback?
Customer feedback is an excellent indicator of the performance and success of your DevOps teams. It exposes vulnerabilities you were not able to detect and gives you room to improve. To build a successful DevOps team, the team members need to take customer feedback seriously and improve the application and general user experience.
How well do you keep up with best practices?
Experts advise many best practices across organizations with a DevOps implementation. How well you adhere to these best practices and how you formulate best practices that are beneficial to your organization will determine the level of success of DevOps in your organization.
Do you practice iteration?
The efficiency of best practices and pipelines vary with projects and teams. When you complete the design and implement a pipeline that works well for your workflow, you should continue repeating that process repeatedly. This will save time that will otherwise be spent on building a new one and make the workflow and timeline more predictable.
Have we, as an organization, created a collaborative culture where a DevOps team can thrive?
Building a DevOps team means that the organization is ready to undergo the transformation that DevOps brings. Still, the traditional cultures in the organization will also play a role in how effective the DevOps transformation is. An organization looking to adopt DevOps must inherently promote cross-team collaboration among all organization members by continuously reminding them that they all are driving toward a common business goal.
Do you jump on every technology trend?
The technology space is crowded with new tools and methods coming out almost every day. Pre DevOps, if your organization stays in vogue with every latest technology trend, you might need to tone it down slightly. Even though DevOps advises that you stay up to date with technology trends, you should learn to segregate between one that will indeed be beneficial for your organization and one that might cause havoc in your already stable system.
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