Meet Neha, DevOps Manager at Class

April 8, 2024

Meet Neha, DevOps Manager at Class

Neha talks about how to master a DevSecOps (Development, Security and Operations) pipeline by having the right people and the right technology resources in place. Neha’s team is her priority. She aims to accelerate their growth and achieve positive outcomes for the business by encouraging them to have a growth mindset and think outside the box.

Neha’s tips on how to build the dream Platform Engineering team.

Platform Engineering is an extremely hot topic nowadays in the IT industry. Some people out there still think that it is just a buzz word. On the other hand, 80% of IT firms have already opted for established Platform Engineering teams: the reason behind that is simple, or is it? A platform needs to be created in a way that it has a constant ‘adhesiveness’ for the software updates from the root level to the top level where the code runs. A platform is a complex system – constantly evolving – and requires constant effort to make sure it performs as per expectations: is secure, scalable, available and robust.

So, where to start?

The first point should be understanding your current setup: how big it is, what components it has, which technology it runs on, the tech stack, CICD pipelines, cloud provisioning, cloud provider and services, understanding the dependencies and expectations from the technology teams.

Once that picture is clear, next thing to work upon is understanding the current state, including any outstanding issues, gathering feedback from the customers (i.e. developers and testers), creating a roadmap, and planning out the projects for the Platform team. However, here we see some challenges, the main one being your mindset. I have seen instances where the mindset is that Platform Engineering teams should provide services i.e. constantly making sure that releases are happening on time and that the production environment is stable. However, Platform projects could be for a range of purposes, including migrating from an on-premise system to cloud services; consolidating toolsets; automated solutions for environment; your CICD evolution…. I can go on and on, but I would say defining this is crucial.

The struggle is now getting real…

Now comes two vital parts. These parts do not necessarily need to go in order. You can go to part two and then part one if you already have a well-built team.

Part one

First is to get buy in from the stakeholders. A strategy that works well is getting the technology teams on board first. Therefore, get your project plans sorted, have the detailed project documentation ready and present to technology teams to help them understand what you are trying to resolve and how it will save their time plus make their lives easier. Keeping that as a primary objective will get you buy-in.

Once the technology teams are on board, expand your project documentation and incorporate the timelines, break down the tasks, create demand and create a planner. You will need to present that to your senior leadership team and delivery managers and then your projects are ready to be executed.

Part two

Within your team, see what skill sets you have, what level of experience and expertise. Now that you know which project you want to execute (from Part one) you should already have an idea whether that project can be executed by the existing team or not. If the project is critical and heavy on networking, it becomes a requirement to have the networking skill set within your Platforms team. If you do not have one in your team, it is time to create a business case for hiring a networking engineer.

Now, there can be a debate!

What resources should a Platforms engineering team have?

My suggestion here would be a diversified skill set in terms of experience and expertise. A platform engineering team needs to be well equipped to deliver the best and most stable Platform as a Product. As Platforms consist of multiple things – CICD, IaC, Monitoring, Databases, Networking, Security, Automation and so on – it is hard to find one person with all those skill sets, so have a mixed bag in the team. That way you will create an environment where everybody works cohesively and learns from one another. You will be nurturing your team to become more productive, so that you and your team can take on new challenges more easily at any time.


What insights do you have to encourage a growth mindset in your team and enabling them to be the best they can be?

As a manager, I take it upon myself to ensure that every member of my team feels comfortable, safe, and empowered to be their best selves. I actively encourage open communication, idea-sharing, and constructive feedback. Striving for harmony, balance, excellence and empowerment, I dedicate myself to fostering a positive and supportive environment within the team. Trust is foundational: by placing trust in my team members, I witness their natural ability to shine.

I believe in boosting morale through tailored career development paths and providing equal opportunities, thereby strengthening the foundation of trust within the team. Additionally, I recognise the value of cultivating friendships among team members. Creating opportunities for bonding – whether through shared activities like badminton or table tennis, laughter-filled moments, or simply enjoying meals together – contributes to a cohesive and enjoyable work environment.

In my team, we prioritise both professional growth and personal connections, enhancing productivity and overall satisfaction.

Thanks for your valuable insights, Neha.

Neha was recently a guest speaker at the DevSecOps Sydney 2024 conference, representing Class and women in technology. Well done!