Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Flint Brenton, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Building a Winning DevOps Team | @DevOpsSummit #API #Agile #DevOps

A DevOps team’s first mission is to build, maintain and support the company’s technology stack

Guest Post: Building a Winning DevOps Team
By Adi Glasman

DevOps, and Ops in general, is one of the most important components of a company’s production machine. Investing in building a winning DevOps team should be a priority for every company and will pay off quickly.

As organizations and operations grow (products, features, number of customers, etc.), the scale of traffic, data, OS types and so on, increase rapidly. More products to support, new features to release and a lot more in-house cycles (e.g., QA, CI\CD, SME, SRE) need to be managed.

A DevOps team’s first mission is to build, maintain and support the company’s technology stack. Whether it’s a PaaS, SaaS or IaaS environment, microservices or monolithic, Docker or K8S, it does not matter – DevOps engineers need to be able to support any environment the company chooses at any time and anywhere (On Premises, Data Centers, Cloud).

Here are the subject areas any organization and it’s DevOps engineers have to deal with:

The list goes on, and every item is its own area of knowledge. It’s “a small world” of expertise, and any DevOps engineer is expected to master it all (or at least a large subset of it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).

For example, let’s say your company is building the next edge, top of the line API serving tool. The tool is web based and expected to serve TB of daily transactions. TB of events pounding your chosen big data tools, logging everything for sanity, monitoring everything so you’ll be able to wake anyone up when necessary, profiling, ingesting, segmenting…It’s growing and doing so exponentially.

Recruiting and finding DevOps engineers to support this environment is challenging. Finding someone who understands all the aforementioned subjects is rare, and if you do find that person, they’ll cost you accordingly. (Let’s assume money is not an obstacle right now and focus on finding the right engineer to fulfill, create and maintain your environment.)

A Six Step Process
My strategy is divide and conquer. Let’s break down and define what we’re looking for.

Defining the interview process is crucial for successful hiring. A good process will result in your finding a quality candidate (technical, personal and cultural) and will help maximize the candidate’s compatibility with the company and role.

Throughout my years of experience, I’ve defined a 6 step process that helps me form and create winning engineering teams:

  • Step 1 – Define the role, and sync with the company recruiter.
  • Step 2 – Phone screen.
  • Step 3 – Break down the skills to interview modules.
  • Step 4 – Prepare questionnaire for each module.
  • Step 5 – Form your interviewer squad and begin interviewing.
  • Step 6 – Closer. All interviewers meet and decide.

Step 1. Define the role, and sync with the company recruiter.
The company recruiter will be your liaison to the candidate and will have the first interaction with them. It’s important to follow these steps:

  • The recruiting manager must have a conversation with the recruiter and make sure they understand the job description and the role’s technical requirements. Talk with them, explain yourself, explain the role and expectations. Don’t skip this stage. If you do, you’ll end up wasting everyone’s time in the long run.
  • The recruiter should have a phone conversation with the candidate. The purpose of this conversation is to understand if the candidate is a good fit for the company and how the position fits within the company culture, the candidate’s career development, and so on. This call also involves verifying the content of the candidate’s CV.

The recruiter should pass their feedback to the hiring manager and if both gives thumbs up then proceed to Step 2.

Step 2. Conduct a phone screen interview.
Phone screen interviews are very helpful and significant time savers. Since the process is time consuming and involves numerous engineers interviewing the candidate, it’s important your time is well spent. You should respect the candidate’s time as well.

After posting\advertising the job, people will start applying. Your time is precious so treat it accordingly! Even if the CV is appealing and it seems like the candidate is a perfect match, you still have to set up two phone calls, each being no more than 15-20 minutes:

  • Recruiting Manager Interview – The recruiting manager needs to talk with the candidate to understand if the person is qualified and is a good fit for the team and company culture. They should also use the time to find out whether the candidate thinks the role meets their career aspirations, as well as validate the candidate’s CV.
  • Technical Interviewer – This can be any existing DevOps engineer or software engineer who can ask a series of easy, medium or hard questions related to the posted position and candidate’s background.

The recruiting manager and the technical interviewer should meet following these interviews.  If both give thumbs up, proceed to step 3.

Step 3. Break down the skills to interview modules.
Interview modules represent a subject to discuss during the interview. For example:

  • System + Networking
  • Methodologies\Processes – Agile, CI\CD, etc.
  • Software Engineering, Architecture Design
  • Problem solving, debugging, monitoring
  • Culture fit
  • Practical\Code challenge

Step 4. Prepare a questionnaire for each module.
For each module, prepare a questionnaire that applies to different skill levels (junior, intermediate, senior and expert). This is best organized in a question and answer format as the answer section will be helpful in situations where the answer differs from what is expected.

System + Networking module example:

These questions will assess a candidate’s skills and knowledge in areas of your specific flavor of operating systems and scalable networking. It is very important that these areas are well understood to allow for effective troubleshooting and competency in a technical environment. Lacking this basic knowledge can result in a long learning curve.

  • How does traceroute command work?
  • What is ARP?
  • What is jitter/latency/packet-loss-ratio?
  • What is proxy ARP?
  • How do you set up a TCP connection?
  • Etc.,

System engineering module example:

The intent of this module is to determine whether the candidate has a reliable and repeatable process for solving complex problems. The interviewer will present a subset of the problems outlined below and progressively increase the complexity of the required solution through discussion with the candidate. If the problem field of knowledge is unknown to the candidate, only the process used to arrive at a solution should be judged and not the solution itself:

You are to architect a new email system capable of supporting an expanding user base with low delivery times. The incoming mail throughput is expected to be around a million emails per minute.

  • Describe in detail or draw the mail system you would implement.
  • What software choices would you make for each layer and why?
  • What are your kernel, networking, storage and monitoring considerations?

Step 5. Form your interviewer squad and begin interviewing.
Each interviewer should pick a module that fits with their skill set so that they’re able to ask and understand the candidate answers. Every interviewer takes notes and gathers feedback. Best of luck for a great interview!

Step 6. Closer. All interviewers meet and decide.
All interviewers meet and share thoughts and concerns. At the end of the meeting, ideally each person will be able to give a thumbs up or down. If, however, there’s a lack of clarity or unresolved concerns about the candidate, you can set up an additional interview before making a final decision.

I’ve been using this method for a couple of years and it’s proven to be very successful.

Good Luck!

Adi Glasman is a Senior Operations Manager at APAC – Zendesk. You can find more articles by Adi, as well as the original post here.

The post Guest Post: Building a Winning DevOps Team appeared first on XebiaLabs.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By XebiaLabs Blog

XebiaLabs is the technology leader for automation software for DevOps and Continuous Delivery. It focuses on helping companies accelerate the delivery of new software in the most efficient manner. Its products are simple to use, quick to implement, and provide robust enterprise technology.

@CloudExpo Stories
"We work around really protecting the confidentiality of information, and by doing so we've developed implementations of encryption through a patented process that is known as superencipherment," explained Richard Blech, CEO of Secure Channels Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, will present several current, end-user environments that are using object storage at scale for cloud deployments including private cloud and cloud providers. Details on the top considerations of features and functions for selecting object storage will be included. Brad will also touch on recent developments in tiering technologies that deliver single solution and an end-user view of data across files and objects...
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, discussed how AI can simplify cloud operations. He covered the following topics: why cloud mana...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, described how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launching o...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.