DevOps Institute

2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report | E-Shaped IT Professional & Top 3 Team Topologies – Part 1

Culture and Human Skills, Upskilling

June 22, 2020

By: Romnick Acabado

E-Shaped IT Professional & Top Team Topologies

DevOps Institute has released the “2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report” earlier this year. For part one of my two part blog series, let’s look at the differences between the 2019 and 2020 studies and the team topologies.

Here are the interesting statistics about upskilling IT professionals and employees who are working in an organization with planned or ongoing DevOps adoption:

  • According to 58% of the 2020 Upskilling Report respondents, it is still a big challenge to find skilled #HumansOfDevOps
  • Over 38% of 2020 Upskilling Report respondents’ organizations have no upskilling program
  • The 2020 #DevOpsHuman must be hybrid and equipped with many skills
  • Finding and attracting skilled #DevOps humans continues to be the biggest challenge for organizations according to the 2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report
  • According to the 2020 Upskilling Report, the future of #tech is all about humans and #upskilling needs business leaders’ attention now

These are all eye-openers and insightful for our leaders and DevOps enthusiasts. Now, let’s go through the notable differences between the 2019 and 2020 study. We found that:

  • The category of process skills and knowledge moved into first place ahead of automation skills in 2019
  • Recent survey shows that top 4 categories of human skills are:
    • Process skills and knowledge
    • Automation
    • Soft Skills
    • Functional knowledge
  • DevOps adoption, Agile and SRE have all gained in their percentage for must-have skills
  • External recruiting is still the predominant hiring model
  • The DevOps Engineer role title has almost doubled in popularity
  • Governance, risk and compliance/audit has increased its must-have skill vote by 4%
  • CI/CD toolchain knowledge are a must-have skill
  • Interpersonal skills have risen from last year’s 3rd spot in must-have to this year’s second spot
  • Collaboration and cooperation is still the top must-have human skill

This is enough for us to recognize the value of the humans of DevOps and their skills which are important to make a successful DevOps adoption. Last year, we learned about I-Shaped, T-Shaped (coined by IDEO chief executive Tim Brown) and now E-Shaped professionals:

  • I-shaped professionals who are called “specialists” are:
    • Expert in one area
    • Limited skills and experience in other areas
    • Can create bottlenecks
    • Insensitive to downstream waste and impact
    • Not fan of planning flexibility
    • They normally say “Not my job. Out of my scope.”
  • Then, we have T-shaped professionals who are generalized specialists:
    • Expert in one area
    • Broad skills in several areas
    • Can help remove bottlenecks
    • Sensitive downstream waste and impact
    • Improves planning flexibility
    • Empathetic
  • Now, we have E-shaped professionals who are the Next-Gen specialists:
    • The vertical stroke focuses on the Process and Framework Skills which are important to understand the value stream, be lean and agile.
    • The horizontal strokes are about the human skills, automation, functional and technical skills
    • Expert in few areas
    • Proven execution skills and have the passion to explore new technologies and innovate
    • Limitless potential
    • 4-Es which are the expertise as the vertical stroke and the experience, execution and exploration as the horizontal stroke.

The goals of the leaders is to guide and upskill their people from being simple specialists to being the Next-Gen specialists that can give them limitless possibilities.

Also, based on my experience, humans’ flexibility and resilience are important in order to adapt to more complex demand of business which is not an easy task for leaders.

It is important that in hiring or introducing new personalities to a team, we immediately set the expectations and the norms about collaboration, interpersonal skills, problem solving, sharing and knowledge transfer and flexibility. Otherwise, it can be complicated when you’ve got the people who do not fit your team’s vision and values.

DevOps topologies primarily used today are a huge challenge.

As described by experts in topology, there are different team structures which inhibit or accelerate the success of a DevOps team. We found three different models which are currently used.  The one which is leveraged the most is the DevOps team silo or DevOps Advocacy model where there is a separate DevOps team between Dev and Ops.  The second most used is the DevOps collaboration model where DevOps is everyone’s job, and the third most deployed team structure is that of the DevOps tool team where the DevOps team is responsible for tooling required.

This is very insightful and helpful to validate our experiences. From my side, my experience is mostly related to DevOps Team silo or DevOps Advocacy model and so far it is working. Through it, you are able to ensure that you have people who can bridge the expertise, experience, execution and exploration between Development and Operations. At the same time, you are able to keep the quality of service. Of course, there is no “one-size fits all approach” for DevOps and I believe that the customer’s goals, project’s complexity and the maturity of DevOps adoption have significant influence for the design and structure.

Download the 2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report here:

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