DevOps is increasingly gaining traction, helping companies and managers take their business to a new level and speed up the product release cycle. When deciding whether or not to adopt DevOps, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is, “Should I outsource DevOps or hire people to handle it in-house?”.
So, let’s dive in and gain insight into each option and what managers need to be prepared for.
Sourcing top talent
The success of your project depends directly on the professionalism of the people handling it. However, because this vocation is relatively new, finding top-tier DevOps specialists takes much more effort than, say, a professional driver. Besides, the toolkits these professionals use may vastly differ, as well as their specialization. Therefore, when hiring talent, managers usually take into account many factors, such as:
- Project time frame,
- Available finances,
- Skill sets required for the project in question.
Moreover, a host of other factors can come into play, e.g., if the employer is okay with remote work, whether they need DevOps for a one-off project or intend to integrate it into all business processes for permanent adoption, if they are ready to change their long-standing work approaches, and so forth.
In theory, you can get DevOps specialists in three ways:
- Hire one or multiple in-house specialists. In this case, it’s up to you to decide what kind of talent you need for the project. Also, you get to define the number of vacancies, working conditions, and salaries, plus you can pick the toolkit.
- Outsource DevOps to an invited team. With this method, the leadership orders the services of a tight-knit team that usually works with the toolkit, software, and services they feel the most comfortable with. The outsourced team can be involved in a one-off project or become your long-term partner.
- Train your own team. The advantage of this approach is that you don’t have to look for new talent, as you entrust the project to your own specialists. However, there are many downsides to this, too. Training is costly in terms of both time and money, and your employee may eventually leave you for another company. On top of it all, there is no guarantee that your specialist will succeed in the new role.
In practice, the third approach is too expensive, unpredictable, and unreliable. Therefore, it only makes sense to take an in-depth look at the advantages of the first two.
Hiring. The project manager can look for the talent themselves or delegate this task to an HR specialist.
|The manager hires each professional themselves, determining how many people are needed, which skill set is required for the project, and when to involve each of them.
|Hiring candidates individually, holding interviews, organizing a probation period, and employee onboarding will take much time. Moreover, if a candidate doesn’t satisfy the manager’s requirements, the entire process must be repeated.
Workflow. With a dedicated in-house team, the manager is more involved in shaping the workflow and communication channels.
|You set the rules, e.g., choosing the technology stack and software for the development and team communication.
|The team will consist of strangers who will have to develop working relationships from the ground up. Therefore, it will take time for the team to get used to working smoothly as one unit.
Money. The employer offers their terms and salary to the in-house employee.
|The manager can gradually integrate DevOps while increasing the related costs. For instance, you can initially hire only one or two DevOps specialists, track dynamics, find bottlenecks, and only then decide whether to keep hiring.
|Ongoing DevOps support is more expensive overall for the company than paying an outsourced team to handle one or two projects. Besides, the employer will need to set up a workplace for the new hires, pay taxes on their salary, and provide them with all necessary hardware and software.
Efficiency. A dedicated team can become more familiar with the product and finer project details.
|The most important advantage of a dedicated team is stability and the capacity to eventually rebuild all business processes to improve efficiency and speed up the release cycle.
|The manager will have to handle the adaptation of the new hires, organize business processes and ensure efficient communication within the entire team.
DevOps as a service is an ideal solution for small projects and startups. Depending on the task in hand and your business capabilities, you can hire an outsourced team for a one-off project or long-term partnership.
Hiring. The manager hires the entire team as one package instead of looking for employees one by one. A team like that would have all the required specialists, so you won’t have to comb the market for a professional with some rare skill set.
|No need to find specialists one by one, conduct numerous interviews, and assign probation periods. It saves the time and money you would otherwise need to sink into your HR department.
|If the manager doesn’t like somebody from the team, they will be unable to replace that individual with another.
Money. With DevOps as a service approach, the manager hires the entire team as one package for at least one project. Therefore, all DevOps-related expenses should be considered beforehand, including the salaries of all the specialists involved over the contract time frame. Also, one would need to take stock of everything the team would require for their work—hardware, software, storage, and any other resources.
|The outsourced team will be the most cost-effective solution if DevOps is required for a one-off project. Also, it’s much more affordable than hiring a dedicated in-house team.
|One can’t involve the specialists individually as needed and smoothly increase costs associated with them. Instead, payment is made for the work done by the entire team.
|Team members can work remotely. It eliminates the need to allocate and equip workspaces for them, officially employ them, and pay taxes for additional employees. All that money can thus be redirected elsewhere.
|Usually, the outsourced teams already have a price list for their services, and they set the financial conditions.
Workflow. In the outsourced team, all internal relationships and communication channels have already been established.
|Communication inside the outsourced team is already smooth.
|Integration of the team into the collective at large, organization of business processes, and establishing communication channels between all employees is a responsibility of the manager.
Efficiency. Most outsourced teams have lots of diverse experience in handling projects requiring all kinds of solutions, approaches, methods, software, and technologies. Specialists like these usually have more knowledge, a variety of tools, and superior skills in solving unusual problems.
|Usually, the outsourced team is interested in completing the project as fast as possible so they can move on to the next. This helps the hiring party to release their product more quickly.
|When bringing in an outsourced team for a one-off project, the manager gets results only for that project. Once the outsourced team has done their job, your business processes will return to normal.
|If needed, the manager can minimize their involvement in the project, handing the initiative to the team to get more time for overseeing other business processes.
|The outsourced team is less likely to share its experience with your in-house employees. Moreover, DevOps specialists working remotely are more difficult to organize.
Hiring in-house DevOps specialists makes sense for large companies if the manager deems it necessary to fully reorganize business processes and bring their quality to an entirely new level. However, bear in mind that integrating DevOps will entail ongoing additional expenses. Therefore, DevOps outsourcing is appropriate only for one-off projects, start-ups, and small businesses, while an outsourced team is ideal for handling projects on a tight schedule.