Building Great Teams - Hiring in a post-DevOps world

How to hire (or get hired!) into a collaborative engineering team.

Rich Paret - @richparet Fork me on GitHub

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DevOps is primarily about culture change

If you're only talking about changing processes, and not the culture behind them, you're doing a cargo cult adoption.

The Big Idea

Organizing your engineering department by functional area(Dev, Test, Ops) is almost certainly a bad way to build and operate a product or service.

Coming to terms with what this means for your organization right now is key to making correct hiring decisions.

Hire for the culture you have, and the culture you want to have.

Eng/Ops Maturity Model

0 - Functional Organization
1 - Mini-Matrix
2 - Feature Teams
3 - Ops ∈ Engineering

The types are differentiated by the amount of collaboration present between team members.


Attitude is about the right behaviors.

What do you do with what you know?

Six behaviors

  • People who can collaborate
  • People who can ask for help
  • People who are willing to take small steps and get feedback
  • People who will do something that is good enough for now
  • Adaptable people
  • People willing to work outside their expertise

    From Johanna Rothman's "Six Behaviors to Consider for an Agile Team"

  • Aptitude

    What do you know, what can you learn?


    "T"-shaped people

    Your Hiring Machine

    You don't need to be an expert to hire well!

    You do have to build a process for hiring, and continually inspect it to make sure you're getting the results you want.

    Read these books

  • Joel Spolsky - Smart and Gets Things Done
  • Johanna Rothman - Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds
  • Brad Smart - Who - The A Method for Hiring

    Focus on outcomes. Are you seeing the changes you want?

  • A Real-world example of a hiring machine

    Job Identification ↦
    Sourcing ↦ Phone Screen ↦ Audition ↦
    In-Person Technical ↦ In-Person Topgrading ↦ In-Person Founder Fit ↦
    Offer ↦ Onboarding

    The hiring team spends twice as much time on culture fit, on average, than on technical fit.

    I have all this 'Ops' stuff I need to do...

    Configuration Management

    "Boundary Objects" - This is the vertical part of your "T"!

    Build Boundary Objects so that they can be absorbed completely by Engineering!

    Where to find people

  • Traditional recruiting sources: Recruiters, LinkedIn, Job boards, etc.
  • Your personal network
  • Networks that provide some evidence of good interests / behaviors: Github, Meetups (Hi!)

    Don't be afraid to ramp up people who have right right culture fit!

  • One last (culture) thing...

    Stackoverflow Careers did a great blog post on what makes a job ad attractive to candidates

    The 3 factors they found resulted in the most applications for jobs were these (in order):
  • Culture description in the job posting.
  • Is the work described cool?
  • Few bullets in post description.

    Culture, culture, culture. :)

  • Thanks!

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