Building a DevOps Team

Find out what team structures are the best fit for your organisation and understand how they work together.

While a broad term, DevOps refers to the bringing together of two traditionally separate technology functions: Development and Operations. In the past, the responsibilities and activities of these teams have been separate:

  • Development - Creating new technology features in a product or environment.
  • Operations - Maintaining stable technology delivery.

This division often leads to competing priorities, with Development Teams seeking to create a rapid pace of change and Operational Teams aiming to limit disruption to stable services. By bringing these disciplines together into a single team, both stability and change can be delivered collaboratively.

DevOps as a term can therefore refer to:

  • The culture and working practises of unified Dev and Ops teams, and the removal of the traditional barriers between siloed teams.
  • The automated Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery competencies put in place by a DevOps team.
  • The Microsoft work management product, Azure DevOps.

There are several ways to bring Development and Operational capabilities together:

  • Unified DevOps Team

    The goal of a DevOps team is to bring together both development and operational capability in a single collaborative group, using a unified work management methodology. Guidance through this operating guide assumes that this is the target DevOps model.

  • SRE Team

    Google use the concept of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) teams to deliver DevOps. This involves a quality-gate approval from development teams in order to accept change into service, but can become an anti-pattern involving

  • Guild-based DevOps Team

    A “guild” describes a technology capability which cuts across members of multiple Developement and Operational Teams. Guilds could be organised around technologies such as BI, Databases, Containers, or Web APIs. If your organisation has a major investment in a specialist technology, you may want to create DevOps teams unifying Development and Operations for a given technology (see also Type 8 and Type 9 teams).

  • Transitional

    Finally, if there is considerable exploration and education required to adopt a Unified DevOps approach, a temporary team can be created to facilitate the transition. The role of this team is to:

    • Champion DevOps practises and translate ideas between traditional development and operational teams.
    • Form a stepping-stone to one of the models described above, by either:
      • Facilitating and nurturing the creation of new processes which unify the Development and Operational teams, or
      • By growing to become the new DevOps capability, having new team members transferred into the team from Development or Operations until only the new team remains. It’s a good idea to make it explicitly clear which transitional approach the team is taking.

A deeper analysis of DevOps models can be reviewed at


The Engineering Team work to deliver cloud management tooling via an Iterative Delivery Process. Team responsibilities include:

  • Carry out ceremony to develop and publish new cloud tooling in service of the organisation
  • Document tooling and processes for the benefit of the Service Desk Team
  • Respond to issue escalations from the Service Desk Team on behalf of customers

The team will require the following systems and software:

Service Desk

The Service Desk is an event-driven team who manage work items tracked in an ITSM tool according to target service levels, typically identified by service type and priority. The Service Desk requires a range of stable communication platforms to interact with service consumers (typically email, phone, web, IM). They are responsible for:

  • Investigating and triaging raised issues to identify the correct service response and priority
  • Performing remedial activities where these are appropriately documented
  • Regularly communicating the incident and request status to relevant parties (proactively and reactively)
  • Routing incidents and requests onward to specialist teams for fulfilment

The team will require the following systems and software:

  • ITSM tool for work item tracking (ideally specialist teams should also have access to the tool)
  • A Knowledge Base documenting incident handling procedures
  • Deployment Pipelines configured to access and update any managed cloud environments
Edit this page on GitHub

The content on this page is published under Open Source licenses via GitHub. To submit issues or provide feedback please visit the repository.