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Parsing management roles on a DevOps team

Project management expert Yvette Francino explains the leadership roles of project managers and QA managers on a DevOps team.

What is the role of the project manager in DevOps? Is there an overall PM who coordinates Development and Ops collaboration? Also, where does the QA manager fit into DevOps?

Every organization has its own structures and setups, so there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer on the roles, responsibilities or titles used, particularly in Agile environments. Agile promotes the "whole-team" approach, and there is often a blurring of roles and responsibilities. In fact, having a DevOps organization itself is the blending of development and operations, where we see such a blur in responsibilities.

Part of the reason for this blending is to foster collaboration and communication, and the facilitation of this strong collaboration and communication often falls to the "project manager," though, of course, strong communication and collaboration is expected from all team members.

The "project manager" in a DevOps environment would also typically keep track of the tasks that are being performed and make sure there is strong alignment between any touch points or dependencies between groups.

Depending on the organization, it is most likely that there isn't a different project manager in DevOps, but that the project manager is managing the entire project, including DevOps. The person in this role would need to understand the workflow, processes and tools that are being used throughout the entire development cycle and ensure appropriate people are getting notified of changes or defects in the code.

Where does the QA manager fit in DevOps? Well, the QA manager is a part of the "whole team" and needs to be collaborating and communicating along with the rest of the group. Part of DevOps normally would be to include automated tests as part of the deployment process. The QA manager is typically responsible for ensuring the right tests are run and that any issues that the tests find are appropriately addressed before deploying to customers.

Again, there are no specific answers for roles and responsibilities. Each organization will be slightly different. However, team members, project managers and resource managers work together to provide timely and efficient workflows so that code can be built, tested, and deployed with minimal effort and high quality. It's the entire team's responsibility to help one another to meet the goals, but the project manager typically has the task of reporting the status back to executive management and ensuring that the right stakeholders are kept informed.

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