The Archetypes of a DevOps Team
By Alex Grote
Each DevOps team or organization is unique – unique in structure, mission, or goals. They each have requirements that are special to them. It’s an ever-evolving field that is always changing.
The best teams work as one. It’s critical that they function as DevOps, not Dev vs. Ops. The best teams work as one, holistic operation. However, reality is often different. Well integrated teams are hard to create. Then, ensuring that goals are aligned to company needs and not team needs add an extra layer of complexity. Accountability must be built into the team’s foundation, which is easier said than done when dealing with different teams.
There are some constants, however, that are consistent with functional, efficient, and cooperative teams. Most modern DevOps teams have certain archetypes that fill specific functions, be they pragmatic or emotional. These archetypes won’t account for every member of a team, but in our experience, these are found in most teams.
Archetype One: The Builder
The builder is the engineer of the team. This can be DevOps, site reliability, quality, or others. They have a wide range of knowledge that may even quality them as an IT generalist. They understand development and operations and how to administer infrastructure and systems.
Practically, they’re the pipeline builders. They develop foundations that extend throughout a product’s lifecycle and set the DevOps team up for long-term success. They’re typically pragmatic in their approach and rely on realistic status assessments. They love automation and strongly believe in the value it brings.
Archetype Two: The Coder
The Coder expands the work done by The Builder to create backends, test and QA deployments, and ensure that all code is secure, if a team is not following DevSecOps standards. They like to push forward more than others on the team and embrace trying new methods or tools.
This manifests itself in new or updated frameworks and APIs, which may include combining or adapting existing pieces for new uses.
Archetype Three: The Facilitator
The Facilitator fulfills the operations side of Dev Ops. They ensure quality workflows and keep everything moving smoothly. They place Builders and Coders in the best position to succeed and deliver what they need, when they need it.
They are managers of fragility. How resilient is a team to changes, be they expected or unexpected? Are they able to change to shifting needs quickly? Are they able to effectively respond to crisis? A quality Facilitator manages people and processes to be prepared for new requirements.
Archetype Four: Resource Manager
The Resource Manager, well, manages resources. More specifically, they route resources to ensure they’re supporting the right teams and place cost controls in place to ensure that budgets are adhered to.
NetApp is a strong believer in the importance of a robust FinOps strategy, which is a key belief of the Resource Manager. Getting the most for the right amount is key for long-term team success. Establishing boundaries, while still delivering what is needed to deliver quality deployments, is key.
Each archetype has their own motivations that are unique to them, although they may have a similar overarching goal. Coders want to deliver better and more consistent deployments, while Resource Managers want to do that as well, but within reason. Merging different approaches to a single goal and understanding motivations creates and maintains happy and effective DevOps teams.
Alex Grote is a DevOps Architect with NetApp IT and is passionate about building efficient and optimized DevOps teams.