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You’ll need non-tech DevOps skills to crack continuous delivery

Software delivery doesn’t begin and end with the tech folks. Departments from HR to legal and marketing need to put their DevOps skills to use to build the most efficient products.

Which groups need to coordinate to enable continuous delivery (CD)? Developers and IT Ops are the obvious answer. But have you thought about the non-technical members of your organization – like H.R. and legal – who also play important roles in facilitating continuous delivery and DevOps?

Traditionally, the DevOps conversation has centered on technical folks and the importance of breaking down the “silos” that sometimes separate different teams. The DevOps philosophy tells us that if you want to deliver software effectively, you need to make sure devs, ops and others responsible for coding, testing, or administering software are able to work together efficiently.

But software delivery doesn’t just start and stop with technical folks – by which I mean those with specific technical skills to create or manage software. At a certain point, other parts of the organization have to get involved too.

Consider the following examples and the ways in which non-technical DevOps skills might influence or contribute to software delivery.

Legal

Regulatory laws and company policies are subject to constant change. Your software developers, testers, and admins probably don’t pay much attention to them. They should, though, because legal considerations can have an important impact on software design and delivery.

For example, if a disclosure statement in a banking app needs to be updated, your legal department is probably going to be the first group to know about it. For that reason, legal should not be siloed off from the technical folks who must implement important changes in a CD environment.

H.R.

In a perfect world, each organization would have a dedicated team of DevOps experts who would work around the clock on software delivery. They’d never argue with each other, retire, or take jobs elsewhere.

But in the real world, employees – including those who help run your continuous delivery chain – come and go all the time.

Including H.R. in discussions about software delivery can help to ensure that issues like employee transitions, the redefinition of roles or personnel conflicts can be handled with minimal impact on software delivery.

Sales and marketing

If your software delivery involves applications consumed by end-users – especially end-users who pay for the software – you’ll want the sales and marketing teams’ input in designing, testing, and measuring the effectiveness of application updates.

Otherwise, you’ll be leaving it up to developers and IT ops folks to decide how best to sell software, which will probably not work out well for anyone.

The C-Suite

Stereotypically, executives are fuddy, narrow-minded people who don’t understand technology and only care about the bottom line.

That may or may not be the case at your company.

But either way, the suits should be plugged into the continuous delivery chain to some degree if you want them to understand how your software is produced and have the opportunity to offer their input.

That doesn’t mean top-level executives have to review every integration test you run. But they should not be isolated from software delivery.

Everyone has a role in continuous delivery

If you want to make the most of DevOps and continuous delivery, don’t restrict your focus to the technical parts of your organization. Instead, think holistically and recognize the role that everyone plays in software delivery – including people who couldn’t parse a line of Python to save their lives.

This was last published in June 2017

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