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DevOps Team Structure | Roles & Responsibilities

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Noor-ul-Anam Ruqayya
Noor-ul-Anam Ruqayya
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We explain how a DevOps team is structured, the roles and responsibilities within the team, and the balance between an individual contributor and the needs of the team.

How is a DevOps Team Structured?

DevOps teams are made up of people who are skilled in both development and operations. There are different structures for teams based on the needs of the organization, but most teams in larger organizations or teams consist of 5-10 individuals.

Why Would You Use Different Types of DevOps Team Structures?

When it comes to DevOps team structure, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. Determining how to structure your DevOps team depends on several factors such as the number of products, technical leadership, and how your development and operations teams align their processes. Not every team shares the same goals, practices, or tools, so DevOps teams will always be unique in the specifics of how they operate. 

What are the Different Types of DevOps Teams?

According to a survey report by Atlassian, about two-thirds of the respondents said that they have an individual or team that carries the title "DevOps" in some capacity. DevOps team structures in various organizations vary depending on their size and maturity. The best approach is often a combination of more than one DevOps team structure or transforming one structure into another. Following are the different types of DevOps team structures for your organization: 

Development and Operations Teams in Collaboration 

DevOps is generally seen as a combination of development and operations where both teams work cohesively and collaborate with each other. This is the foundation of DevOps and leads to clear benefits including the ability of software development teams to build, test, and ship the code faster and more reliably.

In this structure, the key to success is understanding. The development team needs to understand the pressure on the ops team to optimize the code and minimize downtime while the ops team must understand that the development teams are inclined towards faster time to market and improving deployment frequency. Only by understanding how and why the other team works can both teams work better in collaboration. The teams should meet throughout the design process for the project and after the project is launched to ensure it remains running smoothly.

Development and Operations Teams Together — NoOps

This is a DevOps team structure where development and operations teams are merged into a single team with shared goals is another way to structure your DevOps team. Often referred to as NoOps, this team structure is utilized mainly in technology companies that have a single primary digital product such as Facebook, Twitter, or Netflix. It uses a “you build it, you run it” format with the same individuals developing and operating the applications. 

DevOps/SRE Team

DevOps/SRE is a team structure that was popularized by Google. In this approach, the development team hands over the product to the SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) team. The SRE team works similarly to what the operations team does, but the way SRE does it is quite different. The development team usually provides the SRE team with logs and other artifacts to show that their software meets the standard. The two teams collaborate on operational criteria and the SREs can ask developers to improve their code before it goes into production.

DevOps as an External Party

In this team structure, the organization hires a DevOps consultant or team for a limited time. Their task is to assist the development and operations teams in their transition towards one of the above team structures. 

Common DevOps Team Roles 

DevOps Evangelist 

DevOps requires a complete cultural shift. The DevOps evangelist is someone who is passionate about the role and works towards educating, inspiring, and motivating teams along their DevOps journey. It doesn't have to be someone with a management title but someone willing and ready to bridge the gap between their own and an outside team. 

Bringing about change is a leader’s job and the most important task of the DevOps evangelist is to lead the change. 

The role of the DevOps evangelist is to remove silos between the development and operations teams. They determine the role and responsibilities of various team members and ensure that they’re well-trained to get the job done. The evangelist also ensures that the product is released frequently and is highly available to the end-user by ensuring that DevOps procedures, such as CI/CD, are being followed. 

Release Manager 

The release manager is focused on product management. They’re responsible for the entire software release cycle from planning to development and delivery. Their job is to supervise the team members and ensure that every stage of the software development lifecycle runs smoothly. 

CloudOps or DevOps Architect

CloudOps or DevOps architects are responsible for leading the development and operations teams, analyzing the system, and automating the DevOps and cloud solutions. They implement best practices and use the right tools and technologies to automate various processes, such as using container orchestration to automate deployments on the cloud. The DevOps/CloudOps architects are also referred to as integration specialists as they analyze and implement deployment strategies throughout the project. Ultimately, their goal is to speed up software development and deliver the product (and features) faster.

Software Developer/Tester

A regular software developer and DevOps software developer/testers are completely different. While a regular developer writes and optimizes code then pushes it to operations teams, the DevOps software developer/tester remains involved throughout the product lifecycle. DevOps developers produce code, then work alongside other teams to integrate it, test it, and deploy it.

Quality Assurance (QA) or Experience Assurance (XA) Specialist

The QA specialists, also known as the XA specialists, are responsible for analyzing the product to ensure that it meets the initial requirements and provides an excellent user experience. They start by finding and reporting any bugs. Then, when the code is in production,  they ensure that the final product is up to the standards and fits the customer specifications. 

Security Specialist

In a DevOps environment, a security specialist is responsible for the overall security and compliance of the project. It’s an important role which stays in collaboration with the development team from the very beginning of the project. They work with the development team to integrate security into the CI/CD pipeline, ensure data integrity, and security throughout the software lifecycle, and work to improve areas of weakness in the product. Overall, they ensure that the product stays secure every step of the way. 

DevOps Engineer 

A DevOps engineer is an innovative position that is still evolving. The DevOps engineer is usually a “jack of all trades” who has knowledge and experience with both development and operations. The role requires an individual who can adapt to new technologies and is willing to embrace new challenges in development, such as cloud infrastructure. 

The responsibility of a DevOps engineer is to write scalable code in order to fit the growing requirements of the project. They stay involved through every step of the software lifecycle from understanding requirements to writing code and testing it for bugs. It’s also important to keep security in mind and ensure that the code is well-protected against viruses and hackers. 

How Can Blameless Help?

As DevOps is gaining popularity, organizations are opting for a DevOps team instead of a regular tech team. However, in every organization, DevOps teams are different. In some organizations, merging the dev and ops teams can do wonders. Whereas some organizations can benefit from an SRE/DevOps team. Blameless provides an excellent platform for DevOps and SRE teams to align their interests and work together towards making decisions and bringing change! To learn more, request a demo or sign up for our newsletter below. 

Noor-ul-Anam Ruqayya

About Noor-ul-Anam Ruqayya

Noor is a software engineer who contributes educational articles on SRE and DevOps fundamentals to our blog.

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