How DevOps and Development Can Adapt to the New Normal - Part 2
November 17, 2020

DEVOPSdigest posed the following question to the development community: How should DevOps and development adapt to the new normal? In response, DevOps industry experts offered their best recommendations for how development teams can adapt to this new remote work environment. Part 2 covers team management and schedules.

Start with: How DevOps and Development Can Adapt to the New Normal - Part 1

LEADERSHIP

We will need to see the team shift from "command" management styles to "leadership" management styles. These leadership and influencing skills are emphasized when physical proximity diminishes.
Avishai Sharlin
Division President, Amdocs Technology

RE-EVALUATE

One of the key tenets of DevOps is agility. If the team is well run, and follows best practices, the COVID crisis should not impact them much at all. We've found that mature DevOps teams have experienced very little disruption in their ability to bring value to the business. If this is not true for your organization, then it's a key indicator that you should re-evaluate your team to make sure that they are armed with the right resources, tools, processes, and culture to address this.
Juan Orlandini
Chief Architect, Insight Enterprises

Read Juan Orlandini's recent blog on APMdigest: IT Modernization Jumpstarts Business Transformation

HOUSEKEEPING

Now is a great time to work on housekeeping items that don't require the type of in-person dynamics present before the pandemic.
Cory Virok
Co-Founder and CTO, Rollbar

PACE YOURSELF

DevOps teams have to pace themselves. Many are hitting mental fatigue with competing priorities to support the highly mobile workforce. In order to speed up they will need to slow down, and turn their best firefighters into strategists to triage and tackle challenges from a holistic approach to succeed.
Jeanne Morain
Author and Strategist, Transformation Luminary — October 2020, iSpeak Cloud

Read Jeanne Morain's recent blog on DEVOPSdigest: Debunking Myths About Containers in Production Impacting Transformation

TRANSPARENCY

Become more transparent and visible in your DevOps work. Whether working remotely, in an office, or hybrid, our "new normal" of a decentralized environment brings new challenges in collaboration and transparency. As we become more decentralized in our work, we also become more asynchronous. Thus, individuals, teams, and leaders should commit to letting everyone see and interact with what they are doing. With this transparency comes a reduction in communication friction, a corpus of facts, and the ability to proactively question and identify issues.
Vince Padua
CTIO, Axway

FTP

When multiple remote teams working on numerous projects need to share artifacts, instead of uploading them through the overloaded office VPN, have them use a shared, secured File Transfer Protocol outside your network VPN.
Dori Exterman
CTO, Incredibuild

ATYPICAL SCHEDULES

Our advice is to embrace atypical schedules. Startups are not known for their adherence to the typical 8-5 workday, but the lockdowns due to the global coronavirus pandemic have disrupted these boundaries even more. Members of our team have found themselves juggling new childcare duties and working from new time zones. However, we've found that embracing these flexible, overlapping work schedules has allowed us to maintain a more continuous development cycle. Those who have shifted part of their working hours to the evening, in order to care for children during the day, are able to pick up unresolved incidents from those who are just signing off. By maintaining consistent asynchronous communication, those who are offline when an incident is discovered can quickly get caught up.
Zain Asgar
Co-Founder and CEO, Pixie Labs

PROJECT RETROSPECTIVES

DevOps is highly automated, and the driving forces for an office environment are largely social interaction and continuous improvement. There is no doubt that virtual fatigue has permeated our work environment. But, there are some ways to get around this. For instance, project retrospectives ("after action reviews") help get people involved in learning what the team should start, stop and continue doing. This could easily work for DevOps. Team members get a chance to express what's working and what's not working with the entire end-to-end process. Plus, it gives team members a chance to give kudos to other team members and highlight best practices. Retrospectives get people involved on a personal level and build goodwill. I have found that in our remote-working environment, people are eager to participate in this process.
Alex Krikos
Senior Principal Product and Marketing Manager, Developer Tools and Programs, Red Hat

IN-PERSON WORKSHOPS

DevOps teams should host monthly in-person workshops and team building exercises, once it is safe to do so.
Marc Linster
CTO, EDB

ONLY MEET FOR SPRINT REVIEWS

Development teams should embrace the opportunities that remote work presents as it's allowing them to accelerate the pace of DevOps and be more agile. The only time developers now need to meet in-person in our new normal is to attend a sprint meeting every couple of weeks. This can be done outside if possible, maintaining social distance, and if that is not possible, a video conference meeting with cameras on works‚ in the interim.
Antony Edwards
COO, Eggplant

PERSONAL PREFERENCE

You've been working from home long enough to know how much you like it. Once the pandemic lifts, the question will be whether you'll need to return to the office, and for what purposes. If WFH is working for you, then why go back? On the other hand, if you're at your wit's end, that's a different story. How the new normal plays out (for technical people, at least), therefore, will largely be a matter of personal preference.
Jason Bloomberg
President, Intellyx

FULL STACK TEAMS

One strategy to adopt is to progressively mature development teams into self-autonomous, full stack teams. This means enabling your fragile teams to agile and including ancillary support personnel like network/cloud/DevOps etc, on full time/shared basis. These roles will enable your team to be self-reliant through automation and Cloud. Adding full stack talent into the team (including Design, Research personnel) also enables dev teams to deliver on all design and tech aspects. DevOps Institute's Upskilling 2020: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report talks about "E-Shaped Humans of DevOps" who are individuals with "breadth" and "depth" of knowledge. Being autonomous is a function of the organization structure, which can be progressively changed once teams become self-sustaining and start pushing for more autonomy.
Madhwesh Kulkarni
SVP and Global Head, Technology Transformation Group, Zensar Technologies

THE HYBRID IT PROFESSIONAL

While no one is sure what the new normal will look like, one thing is certain — the world has been cast into the future with alarming speed and accelerated dependence on technology from an individual, enterprise and societal use case. To adapt, the lines between ITOps, Development and Security have to blur, giving rise to the multi-skilled hybrid IT Professional. In the new normal, everything is code and everything must be tested and secured from the first line of code through and beyond production. Unlike the approach to full stack, in the new normal, most roles maintain a deep competency supplemented by a broad range of other skills. Developers must be able to write use cases and be DevSecOps aware. They must have infrastructure and IT Operations knowledge. The hybrid IT Professional of the new normal enables the creation of Hybrid Product Teams that are multi-skilled, multi-disciplinary and have deep and broad skills. In an effort to work towards advancing the humans of IT through an understanding of the must-have skill sets, please participate in the 2021 Upskilling Survey.
Jayne Groll
CEO, DevOps Institute

Go to: How DevOps and Development Can Adapt to the New Normal - Part 3

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