Building an Agile Team: Hiring Effective Agile Developers [VIDEO]

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How do you hire agile developers?

This is a question many organizations have begun asking themselves, as DevOps becomes more than just an industry buzzword.

And this is the question Jillian Haffner, Director of Cloud Solutions & Integrations at Turbine/Warner Brothers Games, and Jennifer Davis, Software Engineer at Chef, address in the second video of our Building an Agile Team video series.

In the first installment of the series, Jillian and Jennifer explained how DevOps has been a culture shift for both large and small organizations. In this video, they discuss the importance of finding people who believe in the culture that DevOps has created.

Watch the video and read the transcript below.

Jillian Haffner:

One of my peers at work says it best: “You don’t hire agile developers. You hire software engineers that do agile.”

You can’t hire ‘DevOps engineers’. There’s really no such thing.

You hire engineers that believe in a culture; believe in how DevOps is done, and believe in this movement that is here to make things more streamlined, more automated, more repeatable, more scalable, and all the great words that we can come up with and that pay the bills when you work for a larger organization.

But the question remains — how do you find DevOps engineers and what do you call them, because HR needs a name for these people. Are they operations or are they development? Or do we just call them engineers?

Jennifer Davis:

Let’s just call them engineers. Because then we can build out teams that they can shift.

In the coal mining talk that Kevin Behr gave at Pittsburgh DevOps Days, he actually talked about how they have a prime leader that would do a particular job, but say that person has been drinking or had a bad night, they elect a new leader for the day because even though the new leader for the day is less skilled than the primary guy, he’s more skilled than him at his worst.

You’re able to shift people around, so even if my QA guy may not be the best person to do production, we can shift him around.

Jillian Haffner:

That all goes to mentorship. When you look at a team, do you want a team where all eight people are senior engineers? You don’t.

You need a team of different skill levels because when you have a team of all senior engineers, you can’t promote at the right rate. You’re going to run out of money relatively quickly and then people are going to start leaving by attrition. What are you going to do? Are you going to backfill for another senior engineer? You need to fill that gap.

Has your organization hired agile developers? How were you able to recruit the right people? Share your story in the comments below.

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