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DevOps Liason Team

We’ve covered the controversy of a DevOps Team on this blog before. DevOps Teams are dangerous in that many organizations realize that their Dev and Ops groups are so far apart, that they need a neutral, expert group that can bring them together. At the same time, there are increasing reports of DevOps teams becoming yet another silo – and one that is often arrogant and disliked. More silos being exactly the opposite of what we are going for, this is a frightening result.

The dangers in a DevOps Team seem to be that they will:

  1. End up owning a lot of things, and be a silo onto themselves
  2. Be over aggressive in dictating how teams should work

A little over a week ago at the IBM Innovate conference in Orlando an attendee shared her successful experience creating a DevOps Liaison Team. I am very intrigued by the naming here. When the team is formed with the name and charter to bring the other groups together, it is hard for them to either own systems or dictate.

The other pattern that I liked was what WebMD did in their project to select and implement a deployment automation tool. They went to manages in various traditional silos (Dev, QA, Ops, etc) and asked for a techie who:

  1. Did real work
  2. Had the respect of their peers
  3. The manager would delegate authority to compromise to

They ended with a team full of skilled engineers who would work together, but then go back to their own teams once the project was done. However, they had formed solid working relationships cross-silo and could become a liaison between their group and others.

Both of these approaches seem to form a DevOps Team of sorts, without creating something evil. They also take chisel to walls between groups rather than trying to reorganize radically all at once. I’m encouraged that our industry is beginning to find some healthy patterns for enterprise DevOps adoption.

For more on non-evil DevOps teams, check out our recorded webinar: Building a DevOps Team that Isn’t Evil.

What about you? Have you had success forming a dedicated team that helps the rest of the organization grok DevOps? Have you failed? Leave your tips in the comments area below.

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