You can’t turn around in the tech space without hearing about collaboration. Whether it has to do with the new economy being built around collaboration or the platforms designed to improve it or the various strategies one might implement to spur more of it on your team, collaboration is the hot new term, especially when it comes to DevOps.
All that being said, what is collaboration exactly? And the deeper question…can you get to an answer to a problem faster if more viewpoints are involved? Can you cut through space and time to overcome physical barriers and find the specific knowledge someone on the team has that others do not? Can you make the practices of DevOps, which are already more nimble, even faster by getting more eyes on the situation?
Here’s what we talk about when we talk about collaboration internally at VictorOps:
remote engagement – In order for collaboration to work, you need to be able to get folks involved no matter their physical location. Collaboration doesn’t happen just between 9-5 and doesn’t take place just in the office setting. Team members want to help out (especially during a firefight) but they may not want to give up everything in their life in order to do it.
real-time troubleshooting – As anyone who has used Salesforce or JIRA can attest, effective collaboration doesn’t happen in a ticketing system. If you want to work together, you need a communication channel that allows for synchronous discussion that keeps everyone on the same page, at the same time. Immediacy is a crucial factor in figuring out the cause of a problem and synchronous messaging, which closely resembles face-to-face conversation, is one of the best means of expressing that.
the right tools – These days, if you want your team to adopt a collaboration tool, you have to keep two things in mind: the tool must be mobile and the tool must feel natural to use. Without these two things, you’re going to have a hard time getting everyone on board. If a tool is clunky or requires a steep learning curve, no one will actually use it, making for very ineffective collaboration.
solving problems faster – The end result of effective collaboration is coming to a solution in a quicker manner. Whether it’s because you’re getting the right eyes on the problem, noticing data patterns or reducing new participant spool-up time, collaboration should help the entire team do their jobs better while achieving company objectives.
Collaboration can become just another marketing term or vague business concept without any concrete examples of why it’s important. In our next post, we’ll talk about different types of collaboration (vertical vs. horizontal, asynchronous vs. synchronous) and why collaboration works best when it’s vertical.