The term DevOps means many different things to many different people. In my impression, DevOps is the first phase of maturity of how IT should operate. It’s not simply a process, nor a set of tools. It’s a methodology and a way of thinking meant to help an organization accelerate and scale. However, finding new talent eager to work with an organization that promotes a DevOps culture can be tricky. I’ve talked before about the specifics of how our hiring philosophy at Guestlogix, but I thought I’d go deeper into what I’ve discovered along the way that might be of help to organizations looking to build a high-functioning development team and who operate similarly to Guestlogix, where we use an agile and lean DevOps approach.
Buy in from the top on down
Before you develop your hiring strategy, it’s important that the organization leadership are on board with your philosophy and definition of DevOps. There’s no point in heading down that road unless you have a singular mindset and singular focus on culture. This means your senior leaders, your people and culture team, your development managers, everyone - everyone needs to see the benefits of building an organization rooted in agile thinking. So communication here is key.
Experience in an agile environment
It should come as no surprise that this type of experience is ideal. Since the definition of agility can be interpreted differently, it’s important to understand the nature of this candidate’s experience. In some organizations claiming to be agile, they’re really just masquerading as waterfall environments but with fancy new terminologies in place of the same old practices. If you are trying to be as faithful as possible to DevOps, then you need to make sure you’re on the same page as your potential hire.
An applicant looking to just blend in
In larger organizations, traditional waterfall dev environments can create a status quo mindset - a “head down and siloed approach.” Some developers enjoy disappearing into their corner and working on their small part, without connecting to the overall project - and that’s fine if that’s how the organization wants it to be. DevOps methodology needs developers to have open communication and an eagerness to learn about the overall project and even the needs of the business. We support the business first and foremost, but we can identify issues faster if we don’t simply keep our “head down.” When looking to hire the best fit, it’s good to find people that are eager and excited to solve technical problems and can communicate through those problems to work towards solutions.
The specialist candidate
When hiring at a startup rather than a large organization, it’s ideal to have poly-skilled team members rather masters or specialists in their field. Organizations operating within a DevOps environment benefit more deeply from techs who are most willing to learn, possibly re-train, definitely adapt, and reinvent themselves. For example, learning how to work with an automated CI/CD pipeline, or becoming proficient in a new language. You can’t be certain about the types of skills that will be most useful when working in a cross-team environment. This is why we don’t look for specialists at Guestlogix, but rather, those that are life-long learners.
Beware those who demand constant supervision
Outside of daily or weekly stand ups, your tech hire should have the ability to manage their tickets and bring attention to blockers and issues themselves. They should be proactive in developing solutions to problems that affect their team, and even the organization as a whole. That’s not to say that there isn’t daily interaction with managers and leadership, but since an agile environment doesn’t rely upon detailed and consistent reporting, you need to trust that team members are functioning independently and not staying quiet if things get bottlenecked.
From my experience here at Guestlogix, I’m completely confident in the DevOps methodology and the abilities of our team. That’s because we followed the above tips and are consistently promoting and portraying our company values. Accountability, candor, innovation, selflessness, impact, and communication. These are words literally written on our office wall. And while they’re the company values, they align perfectly with maintaining a DevOps culture for me and my team.
Check out our careers page if you’re interested in joining our team.