We’ve all been there: forced to work with that one colleague that refuses to listen, work as a team, or hear others’ opinions. Or sometimes teamwork issues arise in a different situation, like when different teams have to come together to work on a common goal. No matter the reason why, teamwork and collaboration are essential skills to master, especially in web development. Why? Well, DevOps, or a combination of development and operations, is becoming an increasingly common practice in the field, thanks to its ability to maximize efficiency and use the strengths of everyone involved to work faster and better together.
It seems simple, right? Taking advantage of individual skills to contribute to the common goal of the team seems straightforward, but is hard to actually implement when working with a large group or different groups. DevOps works to bridge this gap between various groups, achieving superior communication and collaboration; before we dive into DevOps and how it can help your organization, let’s cover some of the challenges of working across teams and certain situations you might face. Ready? Let’s dive in.
DevOps and Teamwork
As we mentioned earlier, DevOps seeks to optimize teamwork across different groups. The best thing about this methodology, however, is that it’s relatively new and malleable, meaning it can be molded to fit your teams’ exact needs. There are five main points that make up the DevOps process:
Continuous integration: why wait until you’re done building something to test if it works? A crucial part of the DevOps methodology is continuously integrating new tools to ensure everything is working smoothly and correcting errors as they appear, instead of when it’s too late to fix.
Continuous delivery: once code is written or developed, it’s immediately sent to be tested to check for bugs and issues and correct said problems if they exist.
Infrastructure as code (IaC): through managing infrastructure as code, IaC makes it easier and quicker to deploy new infrastructure. Developers learn what’s working and can repeat that throughout the rest of the project.
Automated testing & development: to free up team members’ valuable time, automating testing and development feedback can alert the team of possible issues without monopolizing their time.
Monitoring and feedback loops: you can create the perfect design in your opinion, but your users are the ones who need to like it and choose to engage with it. That’s why getting user opinions and comments throughout the entire development process, not just once the product is finished, can help you create an altogether better product.
The benefits of DevOps
Organizations that choose to employ the DevOps methodology in their projects can expect to see many benefits, including the following.
Better and faster deliverables
We’re sure that, at some point, you’ve reached the end of a project only to discover you were missing a crucial element early on. It’s time to throw out everything you did and start at the beginning–again. If you use DevOps practices, however, you will be checking the quality of your code and designs as you finish them, ensuring they’re working and what the client wants during the entire project lifespan, helping you fix errors before they impact other areas of the project. Not only does this make for a faster process, but also helps create better final products.
Teamwork and collaboration are essential parts of the DevOps methodology; however, these two skills can be tough to improve and nurture if you’re always working with the same group of people. Learning how other people work, think, and react to problems will help your overall teamwork skills, in addition to making future collaborations easier and more straightforward.
No one wants the reputation of creating low quality products that constantly require updates or improvements. DevOps help improve your overall company reputation by improving the products you’re releasing, ensuring they’re ready to enter the market and reliable.
The Challenges of Teamwork in Tech
Teamwork makes the dream work! Well, that’s what you’ve heard for years; while this saying is inspirational and does highlight the fact that teamwork can help certain situations, actually implementing proper teamwork principles across various teams, such as a web development team and a web design team, can be quite the challenge. Here are some of the most common challenges you’ll find when working on team in tech:
Security and permissions: your team might have full access to the necessary information to complete the project, but the team you’re partnering with doesn’t. They ask you for complete access, but that could take a while to grant or compromise your organization’s security.
The DevOps solution: evaluate the information that the other team truly needs to have to properly execute their role and ensure they have access to it. However, if it’s something that they don’t need to access, don’t compromise your organization’s security by giving it to them just because.
Unclear roles and leadership: when two or more teams come together, two possible problems arise. First, it may be unclear who is leading the project and the leaders of the teams need to decide who will be the point person on this specific project to streamline communication and progress. Second, with a large group working together, it’s possible that roles could overlap or be unnecessary; make sure you clearly define what people’s roles are and avoid any overlap.
The DevOps solution: clearly define the project leader and the go-to person for questions or concerns about specific issues. This will help people get help in the right places and make sure everyone understands their role, the structure of the project, and what they’re bringing to the team on an individual level.
Clashing personalities: your team is probably quite used to each other and fully understands how each member thinks, reacts, and works. But when you introduce a whole new group into the mix, personalities could clash and feelings could get hurt.
The DevOps solution: raise this matter to the entire team before you get to work, making sure they’re aware that there are new people with whom they’ll be working who may have different opinions or ways of handling processes. Then review the process of what to do in case of disagreements or problems so that solutions are easily reached without interrupting others.
A lack of interest in the task: the team you’re working with may be totally uninterested in what they have to do to help your team; after all, they typically work in a completely different area and may not be thrilled to be put on a new project with a completely separate team.
The DevOps solution: highlight the importance of each team member and establish the role they play, explaining why it’s necessary for the overall success of the project. Be empathetic towards the members of the other team, helping them adjust and finding an area in which they’re interested in to really let their abilities shine.
We could go on and on; there are lots of things that could arise when different teams come together to work on a common goal. But that’s exactly what DevOps seeks to do: improve this teamwork between different groups, producing a superior final product.
Implementing DevOps with Your Team
We’ve convinced you! DevOps is a great way to bridge the gap between different teams and foster a collaborative mindset across your company. But what’s the first step you can take? How can you begin to incorporate the DevOps methodology into your next project? Here’s what you need to know:
Evaluate what your team is currently doing: to identify areas of improvement and how the DevOps methodology could improve your processes, you need to first evaluate how your team currently works, flagging any problem areas. Once you fully understand how DevOps can help your team, you can customize DevOps practices to your needs and ensure you make the most of it.
Focus on quality communication: proper teamwork is impossible without good communication between team members. Make sure every member of the team has a clear answer to the following questions:
Who do I go to in case of an issue?
What is the overall goal of the project?
What is the desired timeline of the project?
What is my specific role in the project?
Who is the project leader?
Create a DevOps culture: easy, right? Well, this can be quite the challenge for many teams, but it begins with highlighting the need for constant communication and feedback, checking finished work as quickly as possible. Above all else, make sure your team:
Understands completely how and why the DevOps methodology is useful
Is ready for a challenge and understands they might be making mistakes at first
Knows how to communicate with the entire team
Is committed to making DevOps work for your company
Teamwork does make the dream work and establishing DevOps practices at your organization could make a difference in the quality of products you produce and the speed at which they’re released. So the next time you begin a project, consider DevOps and what it could do for you.
And if you’re interested in gaining the skills needed to be on a team that uses DevOps, Ironhack’s bootcamps in web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and cybersecurity are designed to help you enter the world of tech as soon as possible. We hope to see you in class!