DevOps Culture of Collaboration in Industries 

Organizations often face technical and management level difficulties, which lead them to a quest for change. This prompts the need for a revolution in the system.  

DevOps Technological Revolution

How will this DevOps Technological Revolution and change take place? It can only be achieved when we kill the preconceived notions that we have now. A lot of time is wasted in the migration of code among teams. We must transform the process to where we can do continuous integration and continuous deployment.   

A Need for DevOps

Businesses across the globe were demanding new features, greater efficiency, and faster delivery. The number of developers within companies also increased, and organizations were forced to go into transition in automating the processes so IT teams could focus on the real tasks of the business as opposed to manual, tedious tasks. This impacted Developers and Operations teams and the need to integrate these two teams became especially important.   

DevOps was thus born and is the cultural shift of integration among these two teams we see today. This way of looking at things is arguably the biggest game-changer to IT.  

The Growth of DevOps  

DevOps methodology has been around for a few years now but is still the center of heated discussions. Most companies, industries, universities, & firms want to implement it but are unsure of how to approach it and use it in the right way.  

Microservices have revolutionized the industry tools, particularly for DevOps teams, but many are clueless regarding the product and its implementation. DevOps aims to bridge the gap between the client’s order and the development team’s delivery of the product. There is an emphasis on short release cycles, iterative approach to design, and automation of repetitive steps. It is basically the extension of the Agile Methodology, but with vast cultural importance and implementation patterns.   

DevOps Breaks Down Barriers

One of the most important IT cultural changes in history is growing significantly within all companies and firms across multiple segments. DevOps is there to break down the barriers between developer and operation teams for better communication, integration, and workflow resulting in improving overall business performance and customer satisfaction.  

Strength in Numbers 

Under the umbrella of DevOps, there is a team of software developers on one side of the aisle, and a team of operations folks on the other. Huddled in the same area is likely a product management team, a QA team, and a UX design team. These teams combine strengths to streamline and stabilize operations for rolling out new apps and update the code to support and improve the whole business. At the core of DevOps is the software development lifecycle (SDLC).   

As operations are responsible for supporting developers, developers are tasked with knowing more than just the APIs that execute on the systems and their operating systems. They must also understand what’s under the hood and running their software—the hardware and operating system—so they can better handle bug issues, solve problems, and communicate with operations.  

There are several teams involved from PMO office, Product Owner, Scrum Master, Software Development Department, Release Management, DevOps Engineers, Network/Server Team, and QA/Validation Team. Each team works in its own way, but the most important parameter is the working patterns with major emphasis on the ‘Communications and Collaboration.’  

All of the previously listed teams need to come in contact during each stage, be it a small development release or during a production outage maintenance.  

Tools for Keeping in Contact 

The collaboration and communication tools and channels we recommend are: 

  • Microsoft Teams   
  • Slack  
  • Skype for Business  
  • Zoom Meeting Rooms  
  • Trello
  • Yammer
  • Google Hangouts  
  • Company-Specific Internal Tools  

DevOps Brings Business Closer to Development  

When it’s done right in a practical approach, DevOps brings every unit and team closer. It allows businesses and clients to see what development is doing, almost in real-time and developers, too, can easily see how clients use the code they produce. Work becomes visible and value becomes tangible. 

With traditional deployment, you must wait several months before somebody notices bugs or missing requirements. With continuous integration and continuous deployment, everyone can react to every problem as it arises. Developers, operations, business folks, and clients can sit in one room and modify the working application according to current needs.  

Be it a Development or Production Release, rather than deploying (be it automatic or manual) we all need a Change Advisory Board team (bitterly known as a ‘CAB’) which runs Change Management Meetings on a weekly basis. All teams participate in these meetings and leverage the following 6 C’s throughout all the necessary disciplines and principles.  

Leverage the 6 C’s

In all this, the 6 C’s play a very important role in any team/department:  

  • Communication  
  • Culture   
  • Collaboration  
  • Control
  • Cultivation
  • Change  

The Culture of Communication: The First Way to Bridge the Gap Between Teams  

We may think it is only possible to improve collaboration between development and operations by creating better interfaces between them, like service-level agreements or incident backlogs. However, the opposite is true. By tearing down the interfaces and introducing empathy and a common cause, you will have a team that works towards a common goal. 

The Quickest Way to Establish DevOps is Better Communication

The popular book ‘The Phoenix Project’ covers a wide range of the scenarios DevOps should participate in. The coined term is the continuation of The Agile Manifesto and is based on the Principles of DevOps, which clearly mentions that it is the culture rather than the tools which keep all the projects alive.  

Instead of keeping tools in mind from developing and deployment first, we must think about the process considering the DevOps Principle.  

It is not the tools, but the people using them that make the process complex. To stay at an abstract level rather than collecting ideas and behaviors, being open to them takes us to a bright path. 

Organizational Culture’s Role 

Understanding the current culture of an organization is key before proceeding to any task. Culture is often ignored, misunderstood, and forgotten in many firms, yet it is a key factor responsible for a company’s performance and growth.  

If we don’t manage our culture, we will end up doing the wrong practices, which will ultimately affect our business goals. Culture tells us about the values and norms of a group or company. It identifies what is important, as well as how people approach and work with each other.   

So How DWe Describe DevOps?

Well, it’s either a methodology or a culture, or both, but to our knowledge it’s definitely a spirit. Doing a product release according to DevOps principles means that everyone—be it developer, operations engineer, or product manager—shares a common vision, maintaining it via communication. To a lesser extent, it also means that everyone uses the same tools. These tools aren’t meant to help any single group of people. They are meant to push the product forward. 

Going with this concept requires a serious change of mindset, which is the main obstacle. People must step out of their comfort zone and start collaborating with people that have different competencies. Developers suddenly need to learn how the cloud works and start to deploy their own code. Operations people need to abandon manual setups and start coding. Everybody needs to learn new concepts and everybody has their own (sometimes new) responsibility.  

This isn’t easy, but with good communication and a common goal, it is quite achievable. This communication involves establishing a people culture, setting up lightweight processes, and maintaining proper documentation every time during the release process. 

The DevOps Transformation WAre Looking Forward to  

If you want to start a DevOps transformation within your organization and teams, then start with improving the way you communicate. Evaluate your current state by asking yourself the following questions: 

1) Where does our current culture fail?  

2) Why do we wish to change the process?  

3) Have we clearly identified all the required changes?  

4) Do we have our stakeholders’ feedback?  

5) Was this issue escalated to the management/leadership team?

Don’t Simply Assume a Solution: Brainstorm with an Open Mind First   

In your brainstorming, you might find that, for example, tooling support is insufficient for your needs. That’s when you can consider tweaking your current tools or introducing some new ones and collaborating amongst teams—otherwise, you’ll likely be adding to the original problem you encountered initially.  

Are you having difficulty understanding the process and culture of your organization?

Cyber Group is here to assist you and give you a collaborative approach amongst teams. 

Click on Jay’s name below to view his other DevOps blog articles.

Written by Jay Shah, Consultant

Jay Shah is a Cloud & DevOps Consultant at Cyber Group. He has track record of success helping enterprise customers gain operational efficiencies through the adoption of various open source tools by having cultural and digital transformation. He has been a speaker and a contributor to The Linux Foundation and his published research papers speak about the recent trends and changes in the IT, Cloud and DevOps world.

Reach out to Jay to learn more about DevOps implementation for your team!