This idea came to my mind the other day: project management is security engineering. I’ve done both, one way or the other, and I started to see the similarities.
The best way to approach a situation, that I’ve learned, is making sure you ask the right questions. That’s it. As a manager, you don’t have to have the answers, some answers sure, but not all. That’s why you are a manager, you are the router on a network of really smart people.
You do quality of service, you filter out what content reaches the network from the outside, and you make sure packets (ideas, comments, etc) get properly from one node to the other, or if they are going to the wrong node, you make sure they are redirected. That’s it.
It’s not an easy job though, and you as a manager should be guarded by a wall of good questions to distill the right answer out of the right minds. Sometimes the right mind is yours, but the process is the same.
There are many ways to run a DevOps team. Is there a recipe in this post to run the best ops team ever? Certainly not. This is just the starting point: the basic things you need to look for when everything is on fire and you can’t just double or triple the size of the team.
How the ops team at a startup might start
I wish I was able to start this section by saying “of the 74 ops teams I helped build over the last 20 years…”, I can’t. But I’ve seen a lot of examples of people starting products, some successful, most of them not at all.