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Establishing an Efficient DevOps Team Structure


Jul 6, 2022 - 4 minute read

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Małgorzata Caban Senior Content Marketing Specialist

She specialises in translation, writing and knowledge management. In her work, she combines her passion for languages with an interest in technology. Privately, she was part of a team of volunteers responsible for the Polish translation of “Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear” video game.

See all Małgorzata's posts

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As customer centricity is taking over business strategies worldwide, the DevOps approach often becomes the answer to the need for meeting evolving customer expectations in an increasingly competitive market. Gartner defines DevOps as a highly collaborative, cross-discipline approach that focuses on the optimisation of value delivery, cost, and risk on behalf of the customer across the entire software product value stream. Essentially, by bringing together software development and operations, DevOps offers organisations the ability to deliver better quality and shorten release cycles to gain a competitive edge.

The 15th Annual State of Agile report finds that broad organisational recognition and acceptance of DevOps continues to grow. In the survey, 75% of respondents stated that DevOps is important or very important to their organisation. Furthermore, in the “Impact on I&O of Business Value Streams Survey” conducted by Gartner in 2021, 70% of respondents indicated their organisation currently uses DevOps in their Infrastructure and Operations portfolio. The survey also revealed that 83% of participants anticipated an increase in the proportion of their portfolio that uses DevOps.

Businesses acknowledge the potential of the approach, however, generating the most value from it requires building collaborative and efficient DevOps teams. In this article, we’ll discuss what it takes to create a highly-functional DevOps team structure.

What Does a DevOps Team Do?

Cross-functional DevOps teams comprise various specialists who are involved in the entire software development lifecycle and cover all of its aspects the development, quality assurance, operations, and maintenance. Such a setup is integrally connected with a culture of collaboration, transparency, and taking on the responsibility for the entire process, not just its specific parts. A DevOps team is agile and self-organising. It strives for continuous improvement and utilises a collection of tools that enable the organisation to improve, streamline, and automate its processes.

The responsibilities of a DevOps team include:

  • Planning, developing, and testing the team as a whole feels accountable for all development and release activities, which improves the entire service.
  • Environment provisioning, which involves setting up an environment (infrastructure, configuration, and dependencies) for the applications built and deployed by the team.
  • Building and maintaining Continuous Improvement and Continuous Development (CI/CD) pipelines to automate and optimise the software delivery process.
  • Implementing security measures as early as in the planning stage of development to ensure compliance throughout the process.
  • Continuous monitoring of applications and their performance to increase transparency and improve deployment efficiency.
  • Incident management in a DevOps setup, the team collectively detects and resolves issues. The knowledge team members gain this way allows them to prepare better and avoid similar incidents in the future.

Common DevOps Team Roles

DevOps is built around people, and creating the right team structure will allow you to leverage the benefits of DevOps to the fullest. Putting the specificity of every company aside, there are several roles that are commonly included in a DevOps team.

  1. DevOps Engineer

    A DevOps engineer is well versed in both, development and operations and has a knack for employing new technologies. The person in this role identifies project requirements and optimises the set of tools used by the team. DevOps engineers are responsible for environment provisioning, setting up pipelines, and automation. Additionally, they help to set up the right team composition, define processes, and integrate all functions required throughout the release lifecycle.
  2. Release Manager

    In the DevOps team structure, the person in this role manages the entire release lifecycle, from development to delivery. They make sure that every phase of the process progresses smoothly and monitor feedback and key metrics.
  3. Automation Architect

    The responsibility of an automation architect is to analyse the existing processes and identify opportunities to shorten lead time, increase deployment frequency, and minimise time to recovery. They introduce best practices to streamline and automate processes and reduce the number of manual tasks. The goal is to increase the efficiency of the delivery process. In many cases, however, this responsibility can be shared by the entire team or fall on the DevOps engineer.
  4. Software Developer/Tester

    Just as with other DevOps roles, a developer/tester in this setting is involved throughout the product lifecycle. They write code for new products and features, perform tests and deployments, and monitor product performance.
  5. Security and Compliance Engineer

    This role oversees the security of the DevOps environment. The security specialist collaborates closely with the development team to integrate security measures into the CI/CD pipeline and ensure data and product safety as well as compliance with all required regulations. The role can be part of a Technical Architect responsibility as well.
  6. UX Engineer

    This role is related to Quality Assurance, but it also puts a strong emphasis on user experience. The UX professionals verify if the product features comply with the established standards and, additionally, make sure they’re easy to use and offer an excellent customer experience.

Maximising the Efficiency of DevOps Teams

Establishing a DevOps culture, with trust and collaboration at its core, is key for your organisation to take full advantage of the approach. Once you determine and assign all the roles needed in your DevOps team, it’s important to empower people by setting universally shared goals and supporting them with servant leadership.

Gartner recommends promoting employee engagement by ensuring role clarity, providing opportunities to develop and leverage their skills, valuing their opinions, and building strong co-worker relations. Setting objectives that are understood and shared by everybody as well as metrics that reinforce collaboration is vital to achieving business value with DevOps.

Moreover, adopting a leadership style that facilitates open communication, inspires independent decision-making, and rewards innovation will help you boost employee trust and strengthen the DevOps culture and its principles across the organisation. Ultimately, well-structured DevOps teams empowered to act and take responsibility for processes and products will help you accelerate value delivery to your customers.


Quick Answer: How Should Software Engineering Leaders Define DevOps for Their Organization?, Gartner, 2022

How to Build a Collaborative DevOps Culture, Gartner, 2020

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Małgorzata Caban Senior Content Marketing Specialist

She specialises in translation, writing and knowledge management. In her work, she combines her passion for languages with an interest in technology. Privately, she was part of a team of volunteers responsible for the Polish translation of “Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear” video game.

See all Małgorzata's posts

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