Suppose you have recently received a promotion to DevOps manager; congratulations! Moving up the career ladder is always something worth celebrating and is a testament to all of your hard work so far. While moving into a role that allows you more seniority and responsibility can be exciting, it will also be more challenging. This might be ideal for you, particularly if you applied to become a DevOps manager to help you develop your professional skillset and push yourself in this role. However, it can also be daunting to step into a new role, particularly one that puts you in charge of a team of smart, talented individuals.
If you are starting to feel nervous about your new responsibilities as a DevOps manager or you’re worried about your leadership skills moving forward, below are some quick tips to help you feel more confident in your role and showcase your talent as a great team leader.
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Communicate Regularly with Your Team
As a manager, you do need to lead by example and make sure that you are communicating effectively with your team. DevOps relies heavily on this to make sure that each project is handled efficiently and to minimize delays. You must make sure that your team can communicate easily with you and with each other. This will require regular meetings throughout the week to discuss the projects you are working on, keeping everyone updated, and making sure each part of the project’s process remains on track. If members of your team are working remotely, schedule video conferences throughout the week so that everyone has an opportunity to attend these team meetings, whether they are working from home or in the office.
While making sure everyone can communicate with each other regularly is key, you should also let your teams know that you are available should they need to discuss their work with you one-on-one. It’s important not to micro-manage your team, but letting them know you are available for discussion and support can help to create better morale and increase productivity.
Invest in the Right Software for Your Projects
If you want to see the best results when it comes to your various projects, you need to make sure that your teams are using the best quality software. Programs for UX and UI design can help your teams work on projects as efficiently as possible. Consider software that also allows for team collaboration, so they can see live updates and offer feedback quickly. Finding programs that can offer this for all aspects of your project is key, and keeping this software updated is also important for efficiency. This also applies to any software you use for communicating with one another, whether that is video-calling software or using programs to allow you to share various files and other information regarding the work.
If you are a DevOps manager working for a company, then you may need to discuss investment in better software with senior members of that business. If you are a business owner working in this field, consider looking at different options to move ahead with this investment yourself.
Recognize and Reward Talent
If you want to be a great manager, you need to make sure you are recognizing and rewarding talent within your teams. All members of your DevOps team should be appreciated for the hard work that they do, but for those particularly talented individuals who go above and beyond, it’s important to make sure they know that they are seen. While you can hire other people to join the team throughout your time as manager, if there is someone truly great at their job, you want to make sure that you are retaining them. This could lead to stronger teams for future projects that will ultimately benefit productivity and the organization you work for.
If you want to make sure you are taking the right steps to retain talented employees, consider how you can encourage more collaboration between team members so that they can support and learn from one another. Creating these bonds can help boost morale and encourage a sense of team spirit, but it also allows individuals to work on their skill set and identify strengths and weaknesses that they might have. It can also help them to better understand their roles within the team.
When it comes to rewarding your team members for their efforts, verbalizing this can be a great start. You can also look at implementing other rewards such as gift vouchers, a team member of the month title, or perhaps even organizing team days out if this is possible.
Do You Need New Team Members?
While retaining and rewarding established members of your team is important, it’s also wise to assess whether or not some gaps need to be filled. If you want to deliver the best results when it comes to your projects, you need to make sure you have enough staff to do this as well as the right team members to achieve these goals. When you start your new role as a DevOps manager, consider whether or not some new team members could benefit production and if there are any gaps in skills, or even as a way to alleviate some pressure and create a more positive, efficient working environment.
Assessing your teams at least once a year to look at individuals’ progress and whether or not hiring new staff could be beneficial is key as a manager. While you may need to adhere to hiring freezes and other processes set by your organization, this is still something to watch out for to ensure your teams are structured in the best way and achieve their goals.
Can You Implement Mentorship Schemes?
You may already have these in place at your organization, but if this is something that isn’t currently available, think about how you might be able to implement this. Mentoring can be a great way to help individual team members develop their skills, but it can also be an attractive incentive to stay at an organization. While a good salary and interesting work might draw employees to join your DevOps teams, a lot of people want more from their careers. Mentoring can help to challenge individuals and help them achieve a better understanding of where they need to develop their skills, as well as recognize their existing talents. Working closely with other established team members can be inspiring, and it might also help to retain talent and boost team spirit.
Could Smaller Teams Work Better?
Of course, it is important to think about the size of the project your teams have been assigned, as this will directly impact how many people you need to work on it at any given time. However, you might find that smaller teams can work better, as this can help make communication between individuals easier to follow, and it also leaves room for more responsibility for each team member. This could also be a good way to assign people with specific skills in your wider team to projects that their talents would be perfect for or find suitable learning opportunities for others.
You could also explore the option of allowing your staff to select their teams for a project sometimes as well. This might not always be suitable, but if a team gets along personally as well as professionally, this can help to boost morale in the workspace and could even improve productivity amongst these smaller teams as well. It is something worth trialing if you haven’t done this at your organization yet, and see if this could be a new way to give your staff more control over the way their projects are managed.
Managing Time Well
Your teams need to make sure that they are taking responsibility for how they manage their time on each project, but this is something you need to keep in mind as a manager as well. Giving your staff enough room to carry out every process from design to testing to completion is vital, as if you restrict them too much with their deadlines, this could result in burned-out employees and a toxic working environment. There needs to be enough time to allow for mistakes and complications so that they can be resolved without delaying the project in question. Do consider how much time you are giving your teams for each project, and perhaps even ask for their feedback at the end of each one to see how future ones can be improved in terms of how they are approached.
Other Opportunities for Professional Development
Mentorship schemes and giving staff more freedom over project management can be a great way to increase confidence and skills in the workplace. However, while this can all be beneficial, think about other opportunities that your team members could have for professional development. Look out for training courses or even industry conferences that could be great learning experiences for yourself and the rest of your team. By letting your staff know that these opportunities are available, you could encourage them to get involved so that they can improve their skills and become stronger assets to your department and organization. This could also help to increase job satisfaction for your team members who are interested in pursuing higher career goals and want to learn more about their roles.
Work on Your Interpersonal Skills
All of the above can help you shape a stronger DevOps team for your organization and the projects you work on, but you should also be taking the time to look at your skills and how you can be a better manager. Your communication, both written and verbal, needs to be excellent at all times, and you will also need to take a diplomatic approach when dealing with staff and clients to keep things civil- especially if there are any tensions during a project. If you feel as though there are gaps in your skillset, look at how you can resolve this in your spare time or seek out other professional training for yourself. Remember that you did get promoted to DevOps manager for a reason, but improvements can still be made to make you an even better leader.
Managing a team of staff isn’t easy, but it can be the perfect challenge for the right person. If you are excited to take on your new role as DevOps manager for your organization, but you are feeling a little bit overwhelmed before you start, think about the tips listed above and see if they can help you feel more confident as a manager, as well as move forward to create a stronger team in your department. Some suggestions might take a little bit longer to implement than others, but it could be a good way to make some positive changes that the rest of your team will appreciate.