The Best Way for Dev and Ops to Collaborate - Part 2
November 07, 2017

DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the industry – including consultants, analysts, organizations, users and the leading vendors – for their opinions on the best way to foster collaboration between Dev and Ops. Part 2 covers the personal interaction between Development and Operations.

Start with The Best Way for Dev and Ops to Collaborate - Part 1

TRUST

The key is building the right kind of relationship. Trust and understanding of one another are critical to building a good working relationship. Any time there is resentment, mistrust, or hiding of information or ideas, there will be misalignment which leads to animosity and ultimately creates a lack of cohesiveness between teams.
Jonah Kowall
VP of Market Development and Insights, AppDynamics

Trust is the key design parameter needed for Development and Operations. When Dev knows they are getting accurate real-time feedback on the performance of their new release, and Ops knows the sprints aren't causing major instability issues, the level of trust is incrementally increased with every deployment. This will help foster collaboration closing the loop between monitoring and planning.
Larry Dragich
Director of Customer Experience Management at the Auto Club Group and Founder of the APM Strategies Group on LinkedIn.

The only meaningful way for Dev and Ops to come together is through building trust that is verified by both teams. Without trust, the communications channels, collaboration tools, and cross-team meetings are all useless. Great trust building exercises include embedding staff members in each other's teams aka employee exchanges. Other ways to foster trust is to provide rotation programs for junior engineers of the Dev and Ops teams. These rotational programs ensure that Dev and Ops have to work together while earning and building trust that can be carried forward with each respective teams.
Kong Yang
Head Geek, SolarWinds

OPEN MINDS

The foundation of a collaborative environment for developers and operations is open-mindedness and effective communications. While traditionally each team has maintained their role while following standardized practices, there is an important human aspect to DevOps that is often forgotten: there is more than one correct way to do things. Because developers often need more insight regarding their target consumers and operations can be in the dark about the role of developers, the approach to DevOps needs to start at the culture level, with all participants employing empathy when being exposed to diverse viewpoints. This will remove silos between development and operations teams to increase transparency and facilitate effective communication and collaboration between departments. When Dev teams and Ops teams are no longer siloed, each team can come to see themselves as part owners not just of the work of their team but of the company itself. This can can lead to more agile improvements that can spread throughout the entire company and affect change.
Eric Sigler
Head of DevOps, PagerDuty

MUTUAL RESPECT

For Dev and Ops to work together, they must understand each other's role and how they both contribute to the goals of the business.
Dan Juengst
Principal Technology Evangelist, OutSystems

SHARE RESPONSIBILITY

As development engineers continue to automate repetitive tasks, the line between Dev and Ops is starting to blur. Organizations should take advantage of this trend by encouraging Dev and Ops to share the responsibility for solving and avoiding incidents. Doing so will help drive a dramatic increase in productivity and create a powerful engine of value creation.
Andreas Prins
VP of Product Development, XebiaLabs

PERSONAL INTERACTION

Go to lunch with one another. DevOps is about collaborating to achieve a common goal and in order to do that, we have to stop interacting via tickets and get to know one another as human beings. The first step to cooperation is getting to know one another. It is much better to already have rapport with the person on the other side of the phone when things go sideways and you need support – and believe me, at one point or another, things will go sideways.
Nathen Harvey
VP of Community Development, Chef

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PEOPLE

The best way for Dev and Ops to work together as a team is to have collaboration in mind when selecting the team. Having the right staff — people who are team players, willing and able to accept change and work together in a new way — is critical for the success of a DevOps initiative. Tools can, of course, provide the appropriate structure and visibility required, but should be implemented to help support a collaborative workflow, not be the workflow.
Eileen O'Loughlin
Content Analyst, Software Advice (a Gartner Company)

CREATE SPACE

You have to create space for developers and operations teams to work. That means, in some cases, physical space if possible. Sometimes it means temporal space – ChatOps for example are great for that. And also emotional space – so they feel safe to collaborate on these changes.
Anders Wallgren
CTO, Electric Cloud

SMALL TEAM

Gartner notes that small teams are ideal, e.g., a development team of less than 10 and IT Ops team of less than 10 as well. Start small, get everyone on the same page and take steps to ensure no one is working in isolation.
Eileen O'Loughlin
Content Analyst, Software Advice (a Gartner Company)

VIEW DEV AND OPS AS ROLES

Things don't collaborate, people do. "Dev" and "ops" are roles, not people – and a role is nothing more than a loose collection of responsibilities, duties, and tasks. To foster better collaboration, the first step is to think of dev and ops as roles rather than teams, departments, or other organizational units. The second step is to realize that in the modern corporate environment, individuals assume different roles at different times, and often several at once, depending on the needs of the organization. At that point, the labels "dev" and "ops" themselves start to blur, as many of the duties and tasks previously assigned to one or the other no longer fall into one role or the other (e.g. is creating a Chef recipe a dev task or an ops one?) In the end, of course, the question itself becomes meaningless. The real question is: how do we foster and support a collaborative environment across the entire organization?
Jason Bloomberg
President, Intellyx

Read The Best Way for Dev and Ops to Collaborate - Part 3, covering how to set up teams.

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