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Top IT job skills for DevOps managers

What are the most important IT job skills for DevOps managers?

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DevOps managers find themselves with new responsibilities, reporting lines, scrutiny, performance measurement and staff members. As they settle in, they are defining exactly what IT job skills this relatively new role requires.

The newest challenge is all the attention DevOps gets from the business. What was once an arcane, elaborate coordination and project management task is now part diplomacy, part guardian -- and a whole lot of innovator. So what job skills does this new generation of DevOps trailblazers need to be effective?

The newest challenge is all the attention DevOps gets from the business.

DevOps managers must constantly balance the value of change against the risk of change. That means they have to be attuned to the ever-diverse and often subtle nuances of each software "turn." That level of vigilance requires high visibility and a close connection to the team that executes the changes.

Successful DevOps managers must have clear, open and blameless lines of communication, so that exceptions and errors can be reported and remediated quickly. And once issues are resolved, the DevOps managers need analytical skills to get to the root cause of the problem and repair the processes that caused the problems in the first place.

DevOps managers must also be sensitive to the time-to-market pressure that is increasingly commonplace these days. Indeed, DevOps Managers have to be proactive and deliver news about delays and concerns. They also must seek out the application owners in the business unit and in IT so that they can be informed about current thinking around application roadmaps and architectures. It is critical that the DevOps infrastructure is always ready for the changes coming, so that those changes can slide through effortlessly and in a repeatable fashion.
 
While DevOps managers need a range of IT job skills, they don't need to be Superman. But they should understand that, in this role, they are the most critical regulators of how fast an organization can evolve its business infrastructure. Successful DevOps managers understand this responsibility and openly balance the competing priorities in an informed and collaborative manner, built on data and consensus.
Could there be a better job in IT today? It would be hard to name one.

Are you hiring DevOps managers? What skills are you looking for? Let us know

This was first published in January 2013

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