Working and creating together is crucial for every industry and organization where the teams are globally distributed. It becomes all the more important for IT organizations where application development demands consistent and effective collaboration between teams which handle development, testing, analysis, and production.
Why collaboration is crucial for DevOps?
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Collaboration between DevOps team in an organization can work as a bridge that brings together technology and processes. Effective collaboration can enable the team members to focus on core app development activities and optimize operational overheads.
More and more organizations are realizing the importance of DevOps. As per the 2018 Global Developer Report by GitLab, 65% of enterprises believe that DevOps workflow saves them time during the development process. A majority of developers (81%) agree that it is important to work in a collaborative environment.
Following are some of the biggest problems that can occur if DevOps teams don’t collaborate effectively:
- Redundancy of work due to communication silos that prevent the sharing of ideas.
- Unproductive handoffs among software development and operations teams.
- Confusion among developers about who is responsible for which tasks.
- Negative impact on product stability and release cycles.
- Inefficiencies in operations which will result in late deliverables.
- A massive amount of emails, end-user dissatisfaction and revenue loss.
Undoubtedly, DevOps teams need to streamline the entire lifecycle of software development in a better way through effective collaboration.
What does collaboration actually mean for DevOps?
The word ‘collaboration’ is repeatedly used in DevOps, but what does it actually mean in the DevOps context?
Experts believe that whenever an organization announces that it will implement DevOps, the first thing that should come to everyone’s mind is collaboration. That’s the intimacy between DevOps and collaboration.
Every organization should focus on it right from the time of starting a project. When the Dev and Ops work together, it not only saves time but also helps in finding and fixing the issues quickly. When there is lack of collaboration, the Dev might say its Ops issue, and Ops might think it’s Dev issue.
So, through proper collaboration, Dev and Ops teams can join hands on a project, monitor, and log performance, and fix issues as soon as possible, having the customer focus in mind.
Best tools for effective DevOps collaboration
Slack is one of the most popular cloud-based team collaboration tools out there. It was started as a communication tool for startups but has grown to become a top choice for collaboration among big companies.
There are over 10 million daily active users of Slack, with 65 of the Fortune 100 companies already using it.
Slack can help in project discussions, exploring together important documents, conducting video or conference calls, and it integrates well with other useful applications, to name a few.
With more than 1,500 apps and a robust API, the team behind Slack continuously works with partners and developers to add more integrations to streamline work and automate repetitive tasks.
Slack for DevOps teams
DevOps teams can use Slack to work together on projects and release them before deadlines. There are channels and integrations in Slack which eliminate friction between teams and functions. This helps them in going from kickoff to commit in optimized time.
Channels in Slack
Channels are a place where users share files and messages with their teams. They can create channels for projects, topics, departments, etc.
For example, the #pull-requests-prod channel can be used to review or discuss the most recent pull-requests.
These channels can be created on the basis of team, project, client, and other things relevant to the organization. Members can join and leave the channels whenever required, rather than forming lengthy email chains.
Find and fix pesky bugs
Developers can uncover bugs faster and coordinate responses in real-time. They can monitor the issues, find resolutions to old bugs, and assign the right person to fix them.
Slack integration with other tools
Slack comes integrated with various automated tools so that users can get their work done in less time without leaving Slack.
JIRA is one of the most used software development tools used by agile teams. Built by Atlassian, the tool is specifically built for software development teams for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management.
DevOps teams find JIRA a seamless collaboration tool that allows them to plan, track, release and report great software.
Using JIRA, the user stories and sprints can be easily created, and the tasks can be distributed across the entire team. The teams can then prioritize and discuss the tasks in full context with full visibility.
Further, they can ship the tasks with confidence and ensure that all the data and information are updated. JIRA improves collaboration based on real-time visual data.
The software allows users to create a visual timeline, enabling visibility across all the teams and projects in a single place.
Furthermore, JIRA can be integrated with numerous other tools to enable end-to-end traceability. These tools include Tempo Timesheets, Zephyr, ScriptRunner, Risk Register, to name a few.
Trello is another easy and flexible collaboration tool that can help DevOps teams to manage their projects and organize everything. It features boards, lists and cards so that the teams can prioritize their tasks and organize things in a fun and rewarding way.
Users can check the details by adding comments, attachments, and due dates right to Trello cards. Trello enables collaboration on projects right from the beginning till the end.
DevOps teams can use it from remote places, as Trello can be synced across multiple devices.
As a productivity platform, teams can integrate their apps into the workflow. Trello comes with Power-Ups that helps in turning Trello Boards into living applications for unique requirements.
Asana is a popular work management tool for teams, allowing users to focus on projects and goals. It was named a leader in The Forrester Wave: Collaborative Work Management Tools for the Enterprise, Q4 2018.
With it, team members can set their priorities and deadlines, share details and assign tasks, at a unified place.
DevOps teams can create an Asana project for meetings, roadmaps, feedback or any other collaborative work. The participants can be added as project followers. Every team member can share their discussion items as tasks, whether it’s an existing task or a new one.
Teams can review and prioritize their tasks and items by easily dragging and dropping them as required. Further, it can be used to easily file, track and fix bugs.
Users can also add Asana projects to Microsoft Teams group conversations.
Glip by RingCentral is another well-known collaboration software tool that DevOps can use for messaging, group video chat, and task management. While the chat and instant messaging services are around for years, the Glip is aimed to modernize the experience and advance the state of the art.
Teams can track their routine tasks in conversations and can assign anyone to address specific challenges using @mentions. This helps in getting the attention of specific team members and in informing them about the tasks or issues.
It also allows attachment of files and images, and to add comments to shared attachments. Users can share their screen and collaborate live with their team members and clients. If DevOps teams deploy the software as part of RingCentral Office, the Glip can enable one-click calling and conference calling.
RingCentral Glip is available as iOS, Android, web, and desktop app, which enables work on the go.
Furthermore, DevOps teams can track their bug fixes and other to-dos, share code snippets, and discuss objectives of new features and functionalities.
Glip can be integrated with several other important apps for DevOps. These apps include GitHub, JIRA, Asana, MailChimp, Trello, Google Drive, Box, Zendesk, Bitbucket, PagerDuty, Zapier, and more.
Cisco WebEx is a cloud-based suite of productivity tools that keeps teams connected. Including WebEx Teams, WebEx Meetings, and WebEx Devices, this suite merges the web conferencing platform and the Spark team collaboration tool from Cisco.
With video meetings, file sharing, and team messaging, the suite allows for unified communications for any business from SMBs to enterprise-wide needs. With WebEx, all meetings within a company can be supported by either Cisco WebEx Meetings or WebEx Teams apps. The product also supports deployments of WebEx Hybrid Services.