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 5 covers communication.
COMMUNICATION TOOLS: CHAT AND VIDEO
A step deeper is not to focus on the tools, but that the tool should make it fluid and easy to communicate and collaborate. Typically this consists of a text based chat system, and an easy video conferencing capability (unless the team members are co-located).
VP of Market Development and Insights, AppDynamics
In a traditional world, DevOps is the true collaboration between developers and operations working together and breaking down silos between their respective departments. However, this isn't always the case. Ops is often focused on production systems and tickets, which can take time to address, while Dev only focuses on matters than can be resolved in minutes. To help break these silos, it's time to introduce a chatbot or chat messages, which can be posted and addressed in real-time. This way, the Dev and Ops teams can work together, with the help of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning, to trigger intelligent healing mechanisms. Truly productive collaboration in DevOps world is a mix of Dev, Ops, and Bots working and learning on a continuous basis to automate operations.
President, REAN Cloud
Continual communication is key. Weekly "what's happening in production" email messages (what's rolling out, new infrastructure, etc), instant message channels, weekly planning sessions, and common ticketing tools keep everyone in sync.
VP of Engineering, Spanning
OPEN CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION
It is important that Dev and Ops have open channels of communication. Depending on the organization, these channels could range from periodic cross-functional stand-up meetings, project-aligned or cross-functional email lists, or interdisciplinary chat channels. Both Dev and Ops can use these channels to share information about the development status, test results, deployment stages, and production performance of application projects, giving everyone a better understanding of the state of their work and enabling more effective collaboration.
Principal Technology Evangelist, OutSystems
Members of the IT Central Station community say that the best way for dev and ops to collaborate is to use solutions that are built with collaboration features, automated workflows and give end-to-end visibility. This allows teams to implement feedback loops for continuous improvement.
Founder and CEO, IT Central Station
It is important that dev teams and IT ops adopt objective, scientific processes to ensure app demands and infrastructure are kept in alignment. Too many organizations rely on opinions and presumptions when communicating application requirements, and this can lead to massive downstream inefficiencies. For example, development groups often have no way of knowing exactly what resources their apps will need under real use, and are forced to communicate arbitrary or best-guess resource requirements. This can tie the hands of ops teams, who have to meet these requirements, whether they are correct or not. With the right process and analysis in place, this starts to look more like a continuous feedback loop, where ops teams can quantify and characterize actual app behavior, use this to optimize the hosting strategy for each app, and communicate this back to dev teams to create a virtuous fact-based devops cycle.
CTO and Co-Founder, Densify
SINGLE SOURCE OF TRUTH
Dev teams and Ops teams dip into dozens of different types of data every day. For them to collaborate effectively on building the right environment to deliver great apps to customers, they need to create a control plane that aggregates all the data they're getting, making it accessible and usable by all. A common source of truth is the foundation of any successful Dev/Ops relationship.
Director of Product Marketing, Cedexis
Accurate, up-to-date documentation is the best collaboration tool. When two teams can agree that the documentation they use is an accurate and complete description of how the technology is supposed to work, they have a single source of truth — which is essential. Complete documentation is more than just words — it includes definitions, examples, test suites, and automation.
SHARE DATA IN REAL TIME
Sharing data, in real time, is critical for devs and ops to collaborate effectively. Whether across a desk or across the globe, data is the one constant that everyone in DevOps can rely on. I see leading DevOps-driven organizations sharing technical data to accelerate delivery and improve quality — like story planning, sprint timing, code commits, test results, build status, performance characteristics, resource utilization, deployment times, etc. But the more advanced organizations take it one step further to share operational and customer data to drive greater insights into the underlying business impact of software — like application utilization, feature popularity, customer signups/cancellations, cart fulfillment/abandonment, click-through rates, and even revenues. Creating this type of data-driven feedback loop makes DevOps so powerful and leads to success for organizations who adopt it.
Chief Technology Advocate, Splunk
EASY ACCESS TO INFO
Dev creates solutions and provides fixes. Ops (and all non-Dev) tries to answer the "who, what, where, how and when" of the changes being delivered. The goal for every team along the application delivery path is to know the answers to those questions. Collaboration occurs when those answers are easy to obtain and understand. For example, Operations shouldn't have to read a CI build log to know what changes have occurred.
VP of Customer Success, XebiaLabs
Read The Best Way for Dev and Ops to Collaborate - Part 6, covering DevOps and development tools.