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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 3 covers visibility and alignment.
The new normal for teams is being agile and distributed. Many teams have done this as a quick response to the pandemic. To sustain the success of this approach, teams will need to step back and reevaluate their working agreements, the technology uses, and even their daily practices to avoid burnout. Working in a distributed and agile way when the world is in crisis is one thing, but sustaining it and getting better at it as quite another.
DevOps teams must work nearly in perfect unison, and although going remote has obvious advantages, it has made that unison more difficult to achieve at a time where the implications of DevOps mistakes are magnified. That change means manual processes simply will not work, and relying on "generalist" DevOps tools isn't ideal for CRM or ERP, where processes and tracking are markedly different. Adapting to this new normal, especially for DevOps teams in CRM and ERP, means embracing solutions that automate small processes, improve remote collaboration, reduce risk, and address the specific challenges that demand unison.
Product Marketing Manager, Panaya
STANDARDIZE TOOLS AND PROCEDURES
Effective DevOps implementation requires the teams to move out of silos and collaborate effectively. The first step in getting virtual teams to collaborate is to ensure that everyone is on the same page to begin with. While it may seem like a basic requirement, standardization of tools and procedures is the stepping stone towards ensuring innovation, adaptation and eventually a virtual transformation. Take a call on the kind of tools and technologies development teams need to collaborate successfully and ensure that it is uniformly available and easily accessible to all. Standardizing the collaboration platform ensures shared visibility.
Co-Founder and President, Arkenea
Centralized visibility and management across disparate teams, DevOps tools, and overall software pipelines and software assets — including their security and compliance status — is now more critical than before. Shared visibility and control, along with ChatOps and other automated notification systems, will help provide 24/7 visibility into the state of DevOps within an organization, as well as help with issue response and remediation.
Chief Product Officer, JFrog
The pandemic has altered how we work. We can no longer go into a co-worker's cube to brainstorm on a whiteboard or get updates from colleagues walking through the halls or during lunch breaks. These functions, which may seem minor, are critical functions that keep teams aligned. As a result, we are forced to succumb to constant Zoom meetings to get the information we need, taking valuable time away from developers. Organizations should invest in automation and visibility tools that give stakeholders insights into their jobs and the work that their colleagues are doing. Automation can drive consistency and predictability into how processes are run, from CI/CD pipelines, to security scans to artifacts deployed into production. And best of all, developers can spend more time doing what they love … creating cool features!
DevSecOps Evangelist, ZeroNorth
The "New Normal" really emphasizes the "Old Normal," reminding us what DevOps is truly about — collaboration. We know software delivery teams work best outside a command and control approach. For our cross-functional teams to truly be high performers, they need the autonomy to manage their own work to meet key goals. This means making work visible and ensuring access to work item statuses in real-time. In the past, teams have endured endless face-to-face meetings or had to rely on whiteboards and water cooler conversations to understand how work is really progressing. Even before the dramatic shift to remote work, that was not optimal — especially when you consider that we can all be unreliable at times with updating Kanban cards or having to log the same status in multiple systems and spreadsheets. The measure of great collaboration is the ability to share comprehensive up-to-date information in real time, and the "New Normal" forces us to focus on how best to share, integrate and visualize data across teams in an easy, reliable and efficient manner.
VSM Practice Lead, Tasktop
Visibility into metrics is important for developer teams. In a remote environment, teams have been forced to find new ways of creating visibility and accountability, and create clear metrics that individuals can access and rally around. Teams should expect their tools to not just help them do the work, but to help them understand what's working and what's not.
Co-Founder and CTO, Buildkite
DevOps teams need to be diligent and maintain organized workflows in order to make work measurable. Documentation of each task within the pipeline creates an estimated timeline of development. This allows other team members to know the shared progress.
Co-Founder and President, Arkenea
Making information visible through dashboards helps alleviate the communication gap.
DevSecOps Evangelist, ZeroNorth
As companies look to develop applications to better serve their customers during the pandemic, many struggle to align development and business priorities. Through our work with the BizOps Coalition, we often see this misalignment is caused by the siloed nature of IT, which has only intensified as teams work remotely. Without access to the same information, data and insights as the rest of the company, software leaders lack the inputs necessary to ensure their teams are working toward desired business outcomes. It is important to provide tools that allow remote collaboration, not just from a communication perspective, but also to provide easy access to consolidated data and metrics from across the lifecycle. Examples being lifecycle dashboards that inform and alert different stakeholders without having to collect and synthesize data from across multiple teams manually. Development teams — whether they're working in the office or at home — need to be part of the discussion. Trust, transparency and collaboration are crucial to ensure development is delivering what the business needs. And only through this alignment, can businesses successfully weather this storm.
CTO, DevOps Solutions, Broadcom
FOCUS ON ROI
In 2021, we will see more emphasis on ROI and better outcomes that can be properly measured. With so many organizations embracing remote working, people will have to get used to a new way of working; one that's less about work for the sake of working and more about work for the sake of outcomes. Organizations will become more and more focused on firming up the criteria around business outcomes and on properly measuring results and the return on investment. With workers not able to solely rely on in-person meetings and interactions, software tools that can be used anywhere, at any time, in any part of the world and can surface relevant data and metrics will become more and more crucial to connect development effort to businesses goals for organizations to grow, improve and succeed in their respective markets.
Product Marketing Manager, Software Delivery Management, CloudBees
VALUE STREAM MANAGEMENT
The basic collaboration tools everyone has flocked to aren't enough to communicate the complexities of a software pipeline, much less the health of the software delivery life cycle. The solution is a VSM (value stream management) product. No matter where people are, they can collaborate in a way that fits their role. VSM provides a single source of truth across an array of remote workers and remote software development teams, meaning that, regardless of whether every employee is able to return to the office, they can still work effectively with their teammates. VSM is the foundation for work transparency and provides team members access to self-service learning, ensuring everyone will always be on the same page. It also provides managers with insight into their team without requiring manual documentation and check-ins, again improving efficiency and helping remote workers to focus on the job at hand rather than checking in repeatedly every day.
In our remote work world, digital customer engagement is more important than ever. DevOps must adapt and clearly manage the process for delivering business capabilities and confidently point to driving financial value. We're in tough times and proving worth is imperative today, and the future. Value stream mapping is the key to unlocking the power of delivering value — it allows IT to visualize the process, quantify performance, and assess improvement opportunities quickly to keep up with the demand of our new normal.
Transitioning from a hybrid work situation that occasionally involved working remotely to a fully remote model with every member of the team working virtually is a huge challenge. DevOps model is dynamic in nature and requires continuous assessment and monitoring to ensure optimal performance.
DevOps leads need to gather insights from every release cycle, analyze performance data, implement what works and discard what doesn't. As everyone adapts to the new normal and remote work becomes mainstream, IT teams need to take up an approach of constant innovation and use data to fine-tune their actions in order to successfully transition into the new reality.
Co-Founder and President, Arkenea
SINGLE DATA MODEL
The New Normal has accelerated digital transformation initiatives as companies seek to provide the best possible employee and customer experiences. As a result, most large organizations are trying to increase the rate of adoption of Agile and DevOps practices. Some were already on this journey, but almost all are facing challenges because of the number of teams involved, the wide range of tools in use across the teams, and the balancing act required to allow DevOps teams to move fast while retaining the assurance that the operations teams provided. This is further complicated because right now teams are fully distributed. Even when they return to offices, we can expect a hybrid of local and remote team members to be the norm. In this distributed set up, excellent communication across the entire value stream becomes vital to delivering applications and services. In addition, management wants to understand impact on productivity with the transition to the New Normal. Tools that provide the visibility and collaborative work management across silos are key to knowing exactly where the new model is working or where it needs attention. We recommend an approach that brings data into a single data model that can normalize and connect all the key information to enable automation and deliver visualizations that help teams and management to adapt to the new ways of working.
VP and GM, IT Business Management and DevOps, ServiceNow
The pandemic made it difficult for DevOps teams to predict demand and where it would be coming from. These teams had to change the way they looked at spending, accessibility, digital customer experiences and more to support the way companies are working now. As we saw in our own research this year, 66% of technologists said the pandemic exposed weaknesses in their digital strategies. As we all live more digitally in this "new normal," there will be a larger focus on implementing monitoring tools and strategies like AIOps to help DevOps teams quickly adjust to needs in real time and scale resources up and down as user demands shift. Without knowing what the future could bring, adopting AIOps is an efficient way to transition because it can help make teams more agile and they can pivot quickly.
Regional CTO, AppDynamics, part of Cisco