Internal DevOps Team, Freelancer, or DevOps as a Service?
Posted on August 26, 2023
Navigating the challenges of growth and scalability, startups come to a pivotal realization about the necessity of robust, flexible infrastructure. Central to this mission is adopting the DevOps methodology. The moment startups realize the importance of scalable infrastructure, especially as they achieve product-market fit in response to escalating market demand, marks the crucial time to hire DevOps professionals. Confronted with this crucial decision point, they face a dilemma: Should they hire in-house, bring in freelancers, or collaborate with a certified DevOps professional service provider?
This choice significantly affects operational efficiency and sets the trajectory for future innovation and growth.
When building a DevOps team, one option is to hire internally. This method aligns with creating a team embedded within the company’s culture and goals. It offers the advantage of direct communication and long-term investment but has unique challenges. This section explores the various pros and cons of an in-house DevOps hiring strategy.
- Cultural Fit: Hiring DevOps internally ensures alignment with the company’s culture and objectives, a key factor for any successful startup.
- Long-term Investment: An in-house DevOps team can grow and evolve with the startup, meeting its scalable infrastructure needs. This long-term vision could be pivotal in the startup’s success.
- Direct Communication: A centralized team promotes collaboration and accelerates decision-making, fostering a more cohesive and agile workflow.
- Cost: DevOps salary packages, with benefits and overheads like HR recruitment, can be steep. The expenses may burden the budget of a fledgling company.
- Limited Experience: An in-house team may be confined to the challenges only their company faces, leading to a narrower scope of experience, in contrast with freelancers, who often juggle various projects simultaneously and bring insights from different industries, or a DevOps as a service company, where a shared pool of experience across multiple customer projects is encouraged. The broader perspective of freelancers or DevOps service companies can foster innovation, whereas the restricted view of an in-house team might hinder creative solutions.
- Availability Risks: The sudden absence of any team member can halt processes, creating interruptions that can be detrimental in a fast-paced startup environment.
Freelance Hiring from Platforms like Upwork
The ever-growing gig economy allows startups to hire freelancers for their DevOps needs. Platforms like Upwork connect companies with skilled freelancers who bring flexibility and cost-effective solutions. However, this approach comes with potential barriers and risks. In this section, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of freelance hiring through online platforms.
- Flexibility: Freelancers offer contract versatility, simplifying how to hire DevOps professionals based on specific requirements.
- Cost-Effective: Freelancers can be a more economical solution than a full-time in-house team, an appealing prospect for budget-conscious startups.
- Diverse Experience: Freelancers often come with diverse insights from various projects, bringing a wealth of knowledge.
- Communication Barriers: Geographical disparities and time zones can impede practical discussions, hampering progress.
- Reliability Concerns: If freelancers become unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances or competing commitments, it can lead to project delays and disruptions, posing significant operational risks. Reliability and commitment are critical factors in the fast-paced startup world.
- Limited Legal Liability: When you work with a freelancer, either directly or through platforms like Upwork, you may face legal liability challenges, significantly if the freelancer breaches the contract. In contrast, labor laws govern employees’ work contracts in their jurisdictions. Moreover, while a DevOps Professional Services company has the resources and assets to be accountable for its liabilities, an individual freelancer might not have the means to meet legal obligations. This lack of resources can complicate contract enforcement with freelancers and potentially riskier.
Partnering with a DevOps Professional Services Company (DevOps as a Service)
Partnering with a DevOps Professional Services company might be the right path for startups looking to scale quickly and tap into a collective experience. With access to dedicated engineers, immediate readiness, and a culture rooted in DevOps, this approach has many merits. But like any other option, it has its challenges, too. This section explores the benefits and potential hurdles of collaborating with a professional DevOps service provider.
- Cheapt to start: Some DevOps as a Service companies, like CloudHero, offer fractional DevOps engineers. This means you can have a dedicated engineer working for you starting from two days per week. It makes this option very appealing to companies that need a skilled DevOps engineer but don’t have the backlog to fill a full-time position. Ensure you negotiate 24×7 on-call support in case of incidents to ensure uninterrupted service and response.
- Immediate Readiness: These firms are primed to begin immediately, minimizing lead time. In a competitive market, this speed can be vital.
- Collective Experience: Collective Expertise: By partnering with a DevOps as a Service company, startups gain access not just to the skills of a single engineer but to a diversified, highly experienced, and certified team of DevOps engineers. This collective expertise covers multiple specialization areas, enriching the startup’s capabilities.
- DevOps Culture: Such firms encapsulate a culture rooted in DevOps, ensuring startups don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This alignment with an established culture can fast-track a startup’s growth.
- Contractual Deliverables and Uninterrupted Services: Defined contracts fortify accountability and assure service continuity. Both these factors contribute to a reliable and stable growth plan.
- Cloud Partnerships: DevOps service providers often maintain formal partnerships with public cloud platforms like AWS or GCP. Through these partnerships, startups can benefit from facilitated access to Cloud Credits and various financing programs, offering financial flexibility and potential cost savings.
- Scaling Costs: As startup demands amplify, costs might scale, too. This financial aspect must be considered in the planning stage.
- Knowledge Retention and IP Concerns: A shift in provider mandates an exhaustive knowledge transfer, and startups must ensure the transition of IP rights for completed tasks. Both these factors must be meticulously contractually managed to avoid future complications.
While each hiring option has its merits and challenges. Startups must consider challenges like cost scalability and knowledge retention. This comprehensive approach to hiring will ensure that startups are equipped with the best possible team to drive their growth and innovation in an increasingly competitive marketplace.