The process of hiring IT professionals hasn't changed too much over the past few years. Despite the cloud, big data and mobile devices shaking up enterprise IT, human resources departments haven't drastically reinvented their jobs or workflows. That said, social media has impacted hiring in a few ways, but for all intents and purposes, processes themselves have remained the same.
We're due for a revolution in IT onboarding. And in that regard, the solution could be right under our noses: DevOps.
Your IT department is likely practicing and you've probably heard about DevOps, an agile approach to software development and enterprise IT in general, but it's much more than just the trending tech term of the month. DevOps is a movement, predicated on the belief that agile and lean processes should be paired with cross-departmental collaboration to fundamentally improve IT operations in an era when every end user is treated like a consumer.
DevOps is "a cross-disciplinary community of practice dedicated to the study of building, evolving and operating rapidly-changing resilient systems at scale," according to Jez Humble, co-author of Continuous Delivery and Enterprise, as reported by The Agile Admin. Under that definition, it's easy to see how the concept of DevOps can work for you as a hiring manager. The "cross-disciplinary community" is your employer and its departments, and "resilient systems" are the processes at that organization – it's the bread and butter of what your company does.
"Inject innovation into hiring by applying the key principles of DevOps."
You have the opportunity to inject some innovation into your hiring processes by taking the key principles of DevOps and applying them to your role as a hiring manager, your HR department and your organization as a whole. In that regard, you must consider "The Three Ways" of harnessing the power of DevOps – a set of rules for embracing agile and lean approaches that was first outlined in The Phoenix Project, a book that follows an IT manager who has 90 days to improve IT operations.
'The Three Ways'
Writing for InfoQ, Derek Weeks explained "The Three Ways" succinctly. He said that the first way is essentially about systems thinking, stating that you must uncover and examine workflows from beginning to end: How does the product get to the consumer? Second, you need to create a continuous stream of feedback in the opposite direction, from customer to development. And third, you need to inspire "a culture" that takes risks and gleans insight from those leaps of faith, Weeks said. That culture thing is important, so remember it.
For the first way of DevOps, as a hiring manager, you are probably very familiar with roles at your organization, but do you understand how they interact and how work moves from team to team until it reaches consumers? With insight into how exactly your company functions, you'll be able to better identify key talents that could significantly improve operations. And with an idea of how your IT department works, you'll have a better understanding of how each IT employee fits into the larger picture, and you can hire smarter to plug gaps if they're discovered.
When it comes to the second way to inject DevOps into IT hiring, you need to collect feedback from your tech teams to learn how to hire more intelligently, but you also must consult each stage in the path from your customers to your developers. Are consumers missing something that a new employee can provide? Would your customers approve of your hires based on past feedback? More importantly, what's the impact of freshly onboarded individuals? How is the IT department responding and do they have any suggestions for you next time an employee is required?
Once you've made it that far, you can tackle the third way of adopting a DevOps mindset. Your HR department must not be afraid of experimentation and trying new things that could improve the organization as a whole as well as your onboarding team. DevOps is a great start, but this isn't too risky. The ideal is to create a culture that isn't scared to fail, as each stumble is a lesson learned.
"In DevOps, everyone must contribute."
Beyond the ways
DevOps can teach you a lot as a hiring manager, as the influence of this new approach to onboarding extends beyond the three ways. For example, InformatonWeek's Curtis Franklin Jr. provided some other benefits that DevOps has on operations outside of the IT department's scope. Franklin wrote that a DevOps mindset pushes the concept that everyone must contribute – all of HR is one giant team, and nothing should be deemed "not your job."
Second, Franklin said that tools are a major part of DevOps. You need software and solutions to get your job done efficiently, and if you don't have that, then you're at a disadvantage. Better yet, everyone should be on the same page with that tool. This means that your whole department agrees to software and sticks with it – no personal Dropbox accounts in the workplace.
DevOps has significantly altered the enterprise IT world – are you ready to introduce that kind of change in the hiring space?