DevOps has become a widely popular method of collaboration in the IT world. The combination of development, operations and quality assurance, DevOps requires every project have clear communication channels between development teams and individuals. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the best practices for internal communication within the DevOps structure.
Software development is the game that runs on invention and communication. Therefore, communication methods and channels play a significant role in project success. Better communication between managers, engineers, developers and testers leads to better performance and more satisfying results. Each practice presented can help improve communication within teams and make your work more synchronized and efficient.
Digital Communication Channels
Scott W. Ambler notes in his communication diagram, e-mail communication is noted as more effective than any other documentation options, including paper memos, audio tapes and others. E-mail is the best way to share official documents and company memos, making it more suitable for external communication in the DevOps project. But while most individuals today are able to access their e-mail on their smartphones, and e-mail enables users to send large attachments and contact several team members at once, DevOps teams tend to rely on more interactive communication channels.
Depending on the project needs and the preferences of team members, internal communication can be either through project collaboration apps, an intranet or even the usual communication apps or social media. Since Ambler’s diagram shows that video conversation is by far the most effective form of project communication (aside from face-to-face meetings), most project managers rely on apps with video-calling and videoconferencing functionality.
Regular meetings are the backbone of the DevOps communication. They can be organized in-person or through videoconferencing apps. Same as with the Agile Project Management structure, the DevOps team should meet at least twice a week. Preferably, the meetings should occur on a daily basis. The Monday or morning meeting can be used for assigning tasks to each team member and the Friday or end-of-day meeting can be used for assessing completed work and for future planning.
Building Soft Skills
Unfortunately, HR practices in many industries rely on stereotypes. One of the most prominent stereotypes about IT professionals is their lack of interpersonal skills. Although some engineers and developers fall into this generalization, their knowledge and interests go far beyond IT and technology topics. Still, even the most talkative and assertive members of the development team need to work on their soft skills to improve the team’s communication.
Improved soft skills enable team members to collaborate more effectively and to develop strong working relationships. The first task of every manager is to find the soft skills already present in your team. This will give the team the chance to find the best opportunities for further development. After the initial skill appraisal, manager can enroll members in courses for assertive communication, negotiation and conflict-solving, depending on their needs and current capabilities.
Importance of Time Management
The whole DevOps paradigm strongly relies on effective time management. The implementation of the DevOps model often changes the whole development process and wipes out all the previous scheduling and time-management patterns. A good manager needs to motivate his or her team to change their long-held habits and pace their daily routines so they can keep up with the new organizational patterns.
We already mentioned how regular meetings are essential for successful DevOps implementation. When organizing the meeting, schedule managers need to leave enough working time so each team member can effectively work on their tasks. Too many interruptions can break up the work process make it difficult for employees to focus. Effective time management relies on both team and individual needs and gives your team the flexibility to work as efficiently as possible.
Use of Data Insights
Internal communication on DevOps projects needs to be smart. It needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, and one of the ways to achieve this is to use accumulated data from current and previous projects. The thorough analysis of accumulated data can give managers more details on:
- The average number of working hours the team will need to release a new app, make various updates or make patches;
- How to make the team’s communication more efficient;
- Identifying the areas where the development strategy is losing its momentum; and
- Understanding how each task influences the project delivery.
Constant adaptation and changes in work processes is the base for successful DevOps implementation. This ideal can be achieved only through effective communication between team members. Communication also requires time, so the only way to ensure effective DevOps work is to combine strategic skills, process development, excellent time management and smart data insights.
About the Author / Nate Vickrey
Nate Vickrey is a business consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in finding the best solutions and latest trends regarding company management and culture. Nate is also the executive editor at one Bizzmark Blog. You can follow Nate’s work on his Twitter page.