How to Build a Superior DevOps Team


DevOps is a methodology of collaboration and efficiency that results in faster product delivery, happier customers, and an improved bottom line for technology businesses. By bringing together Development and Operations teams, you can create a smooth process that allows your business to create and deploy products quickly. However, building a DevOps team is hard and expensive, especially when you're just starting out and don't know how to go about it. Nearly 85% of organizations experience hurdles when trying to implement DevOps. These challenges include a lack of skills in employees, resistance to adjusting corporate culture, and barriers created by legacy infrastructure.


(Image source: Atlassian & CITE Research)

Below, we discuss some tips on how to build a superior DevOps team.

What Makes a Good DevOps Team?

Right off the bat, it's important to understand what makes a good DevOps team. It is only by knowing your desired state that you can work towards it. DevOps teams are typically composed of small, autonomous units that work together to achieve common goals.

In most setups, each team member is cross-functional and deeply understands the product and infrastructure they're working on. DevOps teams also place emphasis on communication and collaboration. By sharing information early and often, team members avoid silos and make sure everyone is on the same page.

A DevOps team should also be able to work quickly and efficiently. This means having a streamlined process in place that allows for rapid iteration. DevOps teams typically use automation to achieve this goal. Automation not only speeds up the process but also eliminates errors that can occur when humans are involved.

A Few Tips to Create DevOps Teams

Now that you know what makes a good DevOps team, it's time to start creating one. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Aligning your DevOps team’s vision

This is a critical starting point.

  • You must align the team's vision. Everyone must be on the same page in order to avoid conflict and create a cohesive unit.
  • Another tip is to remove any obvious friction before rearranging your teams for DevOps. This can help to create a smoother transition and prevent any potential problems.
  • Finally, be flexible and willing to listen to the team's needs. Giving the team autonomy can help to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility, both of which are essential for successful DevOps.
  • Understand the key skills within the team and address any skills gaps there may be in the team, this can be done through training or bringing additional resource into the team.

Identify the business need that DevOps will address

It’s important to understand that DevOps is not a silver bullet that will fix all of your problems. Instead, it is a set of practices and tools that can help to address specific issues within your organisation. Before you build a DevOps team, take the time to identify the specific business need that it will address.

For example, organisations can use DevOps methodology and versioning to deploy infrastructure as code, using descriptive models to define and deploy VMs, networks, load balancers, topologies and other infrastructure elements.

Other specific business outcomes and needs that DevOps can address include:

  • Improved communication and collaboration between development and operations teams
  • Increased efficiency and speed of delivery
  • Improved quality of software releases
  • Reduced time to market for new products and features
  • Increased customer satisfaction

Assess your team's current skills and abilities

When building a DevOps team, it’s crucial to assess your team's current skills and abilities. Furthermore, you need to identify each team member's individual interests. With this information, you can piece together a well-rounded team with diverse skills and knowledge. For example, you may have a Python or Java Developer who also has good working knowledge or passion for network infrastructure and configuration. Such a person would be valuable to DevOps.

Put the team together

Once you have a good understanding of your team's skills, it's time to start putting together the actual DevOps team. There are three common approaches to creating a DevOps team:

  • Aligning existing functional teams is often the most straightforward option, as it doesn't require any major changes to your organisation's structure. If you have strong IT and development teams in place, simply align them with the DevOps objectives.
  • Dedicating a team to DevOps is another popular option, as it allows you to focus specifically on the goal of implementing DevOps practices. This approach can be especially effective if you don't have strong IT and development teams already in place.
  • The last approach is to create cross-functional teams. This is a good option if you want to promote collaboration between different departments within your company.

There is no ideal organisational structure for DevOps, so it's important to choose the approach that makes the most sense for your company's needs. Whichever approach you choose, make sure you build a strong team that is committed to the success of your DevOps initiative.

Streamline for rapid iteration

Finally, streamline your process to allow for rapid iteration. DevOps teams use automation to achieve this goal. Automation not only speeds up the process but it also eliminates errors that can occur when humans are involved.

Sign Up Now!

For expert advice and resources – blogs, interviews, webinars, guides and more.

How zsah can help you form DevOps Teams

Unfortunately, forming DevOps teams is easier said than done. The path to success is circuitous and often a case of trial and error. Your best bet is to engage the services of a professional DevOps consultant to help you avoid common pitfalls. After all, you can't afford a false start that may affect product delivery in an increasingly competitive environment.

As zsah, we help you to assess your company's DevOps needs and put together a DevOps strategy that is guaranteed to deliver results. Contact us today to get started.