DevOps – How Do I Explain This to the Business?

As we’re growing our development team in InvoiceFair I’ve gone through a process of budget approval for hiring people. The process is pretty lightweight, but in an effort to be as thorough as possible, I put together an org chart, some lightweight role descriptions and so on.

To be honest it was all going well, until we got to the DevOps role…

What is this thing? What’s it going to do for us and most importantly, do we need it right now?

Hmmm. Good questions.

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Team Identity (and why you want to build one)

When I find myself putting a new team or department together, one of the first areas I pay attention to is identity as, in my experience, it can be one of the most powerful motivators for any group of people.

As we start to build our our technical team here in InvoiceFair, team identity has come to the forefront of my mind.

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Delegating Responsibility is not Abdicating Accountability

Organisational behaviour trends are rapidly moving towards structures that favour autonomy over hierarchical or command and control. The value of this approach for scaling teams and departments, particularly when combined with agile and lean processes, has led to widespread acceptance. As the ‘rubber hits the road’ with these approaches, we are starting to see some cracks appear. One of the most common areas where challenges are regularly encountered is in the area of delegation.

Traditional organisational structures have always encouraged delegation of authority as an approach to empowering and growing leaders. When overlaid with agile approaches, delegation is necessarily taken to an extreme level. The result? Leaders of all experience levels can struggle to balance appropriate responsibility and accountability between themselves and those they manage.

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Why ‘Why’?

I’m a fan of Simon Sinek. Mostly this stems from the degree to which the ideas he champions resonate with me on so many levels. I’m cautious not to say that we’re aligned; we’ve never met, but regardless of this minor inconvenience, I like to think we are generally pointing in the same direction.

One of his most popular books is ‘Start with Why’. I like the approach he discusses in its pages as it implicitly advocates individual respect particularly in relation to leading people. Blind obedience should not be expected from anybody; at a minimum leaders should feel an obligation to articulate why they are pointing people in a particular direction and by extension why those people should follow them.

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