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How to build high-performing DevOps engineering teams

DevOps has become a hot topic this year. And a major point of discussion is the question of where and how companies can source DevOps engineers.

On a day-to-day basis, our teams at La Fosse Associates work closely with senior executives from many different types of companies—the large ones that are included on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 index, tech startups, and leading consultancy partners—who are trying to deliver against their technical roadmaps. 

These stakeholders, who want to invest capital into their digital transformations, usually face a series of challenges. Here's a look at our key hurdles and the strategies we use to overcome them. 

World Quality Report 2017-18: The state of QA and testing

Attract top DevOps talent

As with any strategic change, emerging methodology, or industry trend, attracting the best talent can be the difference between success and failure. Most of the companies we work with are struggling to brand themselves as businesses where DevOps engineers are going to want to work. They're also struggling with finding that talent because they don't have the best technical stacks in place and they don't have effective recruitment processes.

Added to these challenges is the fact there aren't enough DevOps consultants in the market at the moment. The hardest part is getting the DevOps engineers engaged so they will want to work with the business.

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This is complicated when DevOps engineers have the increasingly difficult task of evolving their technical knowledge within a production environment and have to adapt to business environments where there is a lot of technical debt. (In software development circles, technical debt refers to the additional cost of the extra development work that's needed because a company selected what was an easier solution rather than using a better solution that would take longer or cost more.)

Add an ever-increasing list of tools and technologies, and you suddenly have a skills gap that makes the job of securing the best talent difficult.

We recommend three steps that will enable you to beat the competition by attracting and hiring top talent. These involve strategy (building a hiring roadmap that's aligned to the business' deliverables), structure (creating efficient process management and eradicating time constraints), and delivery (executing the hiring strategy and onboarding engineers).

Have the right technology and strategy

To build the right hiring roadmap, companies have to take into consideration industry trends and conduct market and technology analyses.

That means you must determine the technology that engineers want to work with, which projects will attract the best engineers, how much engineers are getting paid, and how to keep up with the competition when it comes to salaries and day rates—and then create the best environment to attract the best talent.

You also need to plan a strategy around brand identity, including getting out to meetup events and positioning yourself in a good light by speaking at technical presentations.

A lot of people who come to the monthly meetups I run and talk about their digital transformations. That helps them shed a light on their interesting technical stories to attract DevOps engineers.

3. Move quickly or miss out

This is the nuts and bolts of streamlining the whole recruitment process.

When it comes to DevOps engineers, you need to move quickly because they are in such high demand. If they come on the market on a Monday, they'll probably have five offers by Friday.

Efficient process management includes streamlined interviewing and an onboarding process that prevents disruptions to the recruitment process and project teams. 

All in on complementing the business

Delivery focuses on how to help your teams understand and complement business objectives.

Delivery helps the teams and the stakeholders in the business understand how digital hiring and DevOps can produce a return on investment, and improve and contribute to your company’s business objectives.

Keep your eyes on the prize

To successfully build a high-performing DevOps engineering team, you need to understand where you are when it comes to DevOps, then examine how your recruitment model is working.

Also look at how the model you have in place is affecting your business objectives, and how it's helping your team deliver when it comes to digital transformation and the projects going on within the business.

Today, no matter the industry, every company is under pressure to develop and deliver the best software possible. The way to do that is to ensure that you hire top-notch talent for your DevOps team. Following the steps outlined above will help you do just that.

World Quality Report 2017-18: The state of QA and testing

For more in-depth discussion of how you can build high-performing DevOps engineering teams, attend my presentation during the All Day DevOps 2017 online conference. Admission is free, and you can also watch my talk after the event.

Topics: DevOps