The Roles And Responsibilities of a DevOps Team

Roles and Responsibilities of a DevOps Team

Nearly every Software Development organization wants to embrace DevOps. It was shown in a 2013 survey - The State of DevOps Report by Puppet - that organizations implementing DevOps were quite agile and high-functioning. On average, they deployed code up to 30 times more frequently than their competitors and 50% fewer of their overall deployments failed. These companies tend to have stronger business performance, greater productivity, larger market share and higher profitability than their counterparts that haven't embraced DevOps.

A successful journey of adopting DevOps starts with identifying key roles and responsibilities required for your organization's success and putting the right-skilled team members in these roles. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the structure of a DevOps team. Each team's roles and responsibilities will vary according to the organization and scope of the project, so you need to have these two things in mind when assembling your team. We have put together a list of common DevOps roles, with their accompanying responsibilities below. Some organizations work well with all these roles in place, executed by different members, while others incorporate some of them under a single person. For your particular situation, your mileage may vary and you may end up putting together a team with completely different roles and responsibilities as the ones listed.

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DevOps Evangelist

The Evangelist is the DevOps leader that implements and orchestrates DevOps across the organization. They promote the benefits of DevOps by identifying and quantifying the business benefits accrued from sound DevOps practices.

For DevOps to be successful in an organization, you need buy-in from different teams - executives, development and operations. Without this, it is nearly impossible to move forward. The DevOps Evangelist is the leader responsible for the success of DevOps processes and people. The Evangelist identifies key roles required for optimal DevOps delivery and ensures that all players are trained and prepared for their part in the whole process.

Release Manager

Sometimes known as the Release Engineer or Product Stability Manager, the Release Manager is essentially the project manager responsible for the management and coordination of the project from development through production. They oversee the integration and coordination of development, testing, and deployment to support continuous delivery.

Unlike traditional project managers that don't necessarily work on the technical details of a project, Release Managers require technical know-how, skills and knowledge of running and maintaining an end-to-end application delivery toolchain. They are usually well versed in agile methodology. The Release Manager is responsible for overall progress. They provide visibility into the whole DevOps process by measuring and interpreting metrics on all tasks.

Experience Assurance (XA) Professional

In Software Development, Quality Assurance (QA) plays an integral role in the successful delivery of the final product. With the adoption of DevOps, there arises a need for a new type of control that not only tests the product's functionality, but also includes user experience testing. This is where the Experience Assurance (XA) Professional comes in.

The Experience Assurance Professional is responsible for the overall user experience of the product. They not only ensure that the final product has all the features defined in the original specification, but they also ensure that they are done in a way that provides a good user experience.

Automation Architect

Sometimes known as the Automation Engineer/Expert or the Integration Specialist, this person is tasked with finding the right tools and processes required to build an efficient and effective automated environment for DevOps.

Since DevOps relies heavily on automation, the Automation Architect plays a critical role. They design, analyze and implement strategies for continuous deployment while ensuring high availability on production and pre-production systems. This person works to provide a reliable environment for DevOps to operate in. As more automation is put in place, it becomes easier and faster to deliver higher-quality code with each new development sprint.

Security and Compliance Engineers

To keep your corporation safe, you need Compliance Engineers that will ensure that your product meets established standards and regulations. Not only will this keep you safe from possible lawsuits, but it will also increase users trust in your product.

Security Engineers work to make the product under development secure against potential attacks. They work in conjunction with developers with the goal of delivering a product that is resistant not only to technical attacks, but also one that offers some protection to the user against social engineering attacks.

Software Developer

This is the builder of the code that works to make sure that the final product meets the original business requirements. In a DevOps environment, the responsibilities of the Software Developer increase in scope. Not only is the developer responsible for writing code, but they also perform unit testing, deployment and ongoing monitoring. For improved quality and efficiency, they should automate as much of the testing process as possible.

QA Tester

Even though some of the previously mentioned roles perform some form of testing that can be considered QA, it is still useful to have a dedicated team for this. QA Testers test, verify and document bug reports. They work to ensure that the developed product is not only as bug-free as possible, but that it has the features and functions documented in the design specs and that its performance is optimal.

Utility Player

Traditionally, developers were heads-down coders that had no involvement in post-production systems. The same could be said for other roles involved in software development - everyone performed the task specific to their role and passed on the product to the next person/team.

The fast-paced DevOps environment requires more than traditional IT, operations, development or system admin team members who complete their defined task on a project and throw it over the wall for the next team. DevOps requires utility team members who can effectively be involved in different aspects of the development process - from development to resource management to security to database management to support. When building a DevOps team, you should have people on board that have a wide span of skill set, for example, developers who can perform QA and deploy their code and system administrators who can dive into code.

We've covered some common roles found in a DevOps team. As mentioned, the roles mentioned and their underlying responsibilities are not set in stone. The structure of a DevOps team varies from organization to organization and usually depends on the organization and project. To build an effective DevOps team, you will have to go through some trial and error to ensure the right people with the right skills are placed in the right roles. More important than hiring someone who is skilled, is hiring someone who is constantly learning and is ready and willing to evolve when needed. Since DevOps relies heavily on collaboration, this person should also be a good team player who fits well with your organization's culture.

Other than having the right people on board, a DevOps team is also made more effective by using the right type of tools. For a deployment tool that will integrate well with the other tools you use in your DevOps workflow.

DeployBot is one such tool. It makes the deployment process seamless and works with almost every tech you wish - like Laravel, Digital Ocean, Ruby on Rails, Docker, Craft CMS, Ghost CMS, Google Web Starter Kit, Grunt or Gulp, Slack, Python or Heroku  for which we have an ever growing collection of beginners’ guides. 

Learn how to get started with DeployBot here.