Five ways to effectively manage team DevOps workflows

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If you’ve adopted DevOps, you’re already using tools to optimize and streamline your DevOps workflows and software delivery processes — like code integration, testing and deployment — as much as possible.

But optimization opportunities are not limited to software delivery. You should strive to streamline all dimensions of your organization — including the way you manage your DevOps team.

DevOps personnel management pitfalls

Compared to software, people are fickle and unpredictable. Giving them the same input doesn’t always yield the same output in return. They don’t necessarily accept commands without question. They may mishear or misinterpret what you ask them to do.

These are just some of the reasons why managing the people involved in your software delivery processes can be much more challenging than managing the processes themselves.

However, the human aspect of DevOps also provides an opportunity for innovation. You may already be operating at peak efficiency when it comes to software delivery processes. If you are not also streamlining the way you structure and manage your DevOps team, you’re missing out on important efficiencies.

Effective DevOps team management

Optimizing your DevOps workflows and the management of DevOps engineers is not as simple as automating software delivery. Still, DevOps strategies and apps can help you simplify the way your human resources are deployed. Examples include:

  • ChatOps. You may already be using Slack or HipChat for communications. If you’re not automating alerts and responses through these platforms using ChatOps yet, consider adding it to your tool arsenal. Using ChatOps not only streamlines the way you interact with your software, but also helps you deploy DevOps engineers more efficiently by adding visibility to your workflows.
  • Automated scheduling and on-call tools. Maximizing uptime means having engineers available 24/7 to respond to problems. Orchestrating scheduling manually is a tedious and error-prone process. Instead, take advantage of automated schedule-management tools, which are built into some DevOps monitoring platforms.
  • Keep tasks small and modular. Managing engineers is difficult when they are all assigned to a monolithic task. It’s hard to ensure that each engineer’s time is being used efficiently and that key responsibilities are not overlooked. A better approach is to make your processes as modular as possible. Assign individuals to specific roles, rather than maintaining a big group of engineers who are supposed to do it all.
  • Eliminate handoffs. Handoffs are what happen when a task or process overseen by one group of people is assigned to a different group. Handoffs are inefficient from a personnel management standpoint because they often require manual communication, as well as tedious coordination handling the exchange. Mitigate this inefficiency by using software automation to minimize the number of handoffs you have in the first place, as well as to provide automated visibility into your processes so that when handoffs do occur, the manual communication required is minimal.
  • Results-based assessment. Measuring personnel effectiveness based on results, rather than time commitment, helps to keep your engineers happier and more productive, while also providing stronger metrics for assessing the effectiveness of your team. When it comes to software delivery speed and system uptime, what matters are the results, not the number of hours each team member works each week. If you worry about hours, you risk demoralizing your engineers, who may feel like they are being punished when they work efficiently and achieve more in less time. You also waste your own time and energy micromanaging hourly commitments instead of focusing on results.

Adopting these practices will help to make your DevOps personnel management processes as efficient as your software delivery processes. You need a holistic, across-the-board approach to optimize your DevOps workflows and DevOps strategies fully.

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