Finding talent for your AWS DevOps: Role Blueprinting & Knowledge Needs Analysis

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In the last few years, there has been an increasing relevance around DevOps and how it has been transforming AWS SaaS and other software vendors globally. Pushing agile product updates is nowadays the norm in the world of SaaS and when the pace of development increases, AWS SaaS vendors are scrambling to reduce their products’ time to market. This means to meet the change in product agility, the product leaders have to reskill the cloud engineers suitably. This can only be done when they are able to bring together talent that typically are spread across separate organizational silos – the development and the operations team- to become the ‘SaaS DevOps’ team. This is where despite the need to scale up an effective DevOps, many AWS software partners are struggling to find and retain the right talent for their products’ growth.

It is observed among AWS software vendors that this surge in accelerated product agility, is outpacing the right available talent. As per the Upskilling IT 2022 report, 40% of leaders are stating resource shortage as one of the top 3 challenges faced by them, aligning well with what VeUP has seen in the AWS SaaS firms. With this context in mind, the technical leaders are beginning to realize the value of maintaining its talent base by continuous upskilling. But this is an uphill task for these leaders, as VeUP research found almost 50% of AWS software vendors don’t even have visibility into the AWS certifications let alone have the capability to feasibly manage skill gaps in the DevOps team.

This is where the leaders should embed an DevOps upskilling process that consists of these 3 activities:

1. Blueprint the ideal role(s) for AWS DevOps

Blueprinting is not just about making a role description like you would do for a job listing but rather it is about breaking down the role into its important tasks and relevant subtasks. It is important the blueprint must be as granular as possible so you can know and track the gaps in AWS DevOps talent.

Also, to paraphrase the famous quote from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, not all tasks are equal but some are more equal than others. Therefore, as a functional leader you need to know that despite all tasks and activities are equally important in your eyes, some tasks are more important than the others. For e.g., writing content pieces for your website will have a higher priority in the sales & marketing functions relative to its priority in the customer success function. Therefore you got to assign qualitative weights to different tasks for the role blueprints you are developing. This best practice will ensure your hiring or upskilling processes are able to always ensure resourcing is done right.

2. Identify the DevOps Capability needs

You are ready to now use the validated blueprint to suitably find the gaps and other areas of improvement in different talent profiles. Whenever you are interviewing a new talent, internal or external, use the blueprint to craft the assessment questions. You can also use the same blueprint to ascertain the current skills of existing resources you have in the team.

Whatever the scenario maybe, do always keep in mind that, like how hard it is to find the ideal customers most of the time, it is going to be hard to find a talent who meets all the criteria defined in your ideal role blueprint. Therefore the purpose of any good blueprint is to find the gaps in the best performing profiles. This is what is called as the Knowledge Needs analysis and this is done by scoring each profile against the tasks categories and corresponding tasks in the blueprint. By doing this step, you will ensure you are objectively assessing all the profile and are able to find the exact talent gaps in AWS DevOps.

3. Align gaps against training needs of DevOps talent

The next important step is to identify high priority gaps by considering those gaps with higher frequency of occurrence and weighted value. To plug these higher priority gaps, develop a suitable training plan incorporating different training activities,such as reading materials or online courses, for each gap. At VeUP we have worked closely with AWS SaaS vendors to scale up their DevOps capability in a sustainable manner. We have advised functional leaders, especially the product and engineering leaders, to incorporate the 3 steps, described above, to ensure their DevOps team are always having a balanced talent base.

Vincen is a Senior Consultant at VeUP where he works closely with AWS partners, driving strategic growth and process optimization within their business functions, from Product to Go-to-Market. He worked on many consulting projects in Sydney, Mumbai, Melbourne and London, providing solutions to executives and directors at technology and digital businesses. Using structured problem-solving and data-driven analytical skills to identify business drivers is what he does best.

Vincen Arivannoor

VeUP has crafted the role blueprinting and knowledge needs analysis processes and has provided recommendations to SAAS functional teams, including devops, on how to embed these upskilling activities in their business processes. For our AWS partners, VeUP has provided such advisory consulting services that includes setting up the upskilling processes and if you would like to know more about how we can enable you to resolve this challenge with devops resourcing and upskill, do contact us.

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