The COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on almost every business sector.
While retail shops, restaurants, and other business establishments had to shut their doors, software teams still managed to contribute to development efforts remotely. However, the challenges they faced in their remote DevOps efforts cannot be undermined or overlooked. With almost every team member working remotely – from their respective homes - the lack of real-time, face-to-face communication was a major roadblock which greatly impacted their ability to communicate, solve problems together, and set the stage for quick decision-making.
The DevOps approach to software delivery has benefited organizations in more ways than one; yet, making it work for a remote workforce brings with it its own set of challenges.
Here’s looking at some of the top challenges in the remote working of DevOps teams:
• Communication Challenge: DevOps works on the foundation of better communication between the different teams in the software organization – specifically operations and development. However, in a remote setup, where teams can only talk to each other virtually, the challenges that arise due to broken communication are many. The lack of face-to-face communication, the absence of daily or weekly team meetings, and the different pace at which each individual works and communicates impacts delivery outcomes in more ways than one.
• Ineffective collaboration: Just like communication becomes challenging for remote teams, collaboration also takes a huge beating. Because teams can only collaborate remotely, using a range of different collaboration tools, enabling and ensuring cohesiveness is difficult. Delayed or miscommunications, wrong interpretations, and unintended misunderstandings become the cause of avoidable anxiety that affects morale, engagement, productivity, and innovation.
• Progress tracking is difficult: Another significant challenge remote teams face is tracking the progress of their project and ensuring it meets time, efficiency, and cost goals. Keeping track of the progress made by team and ensuring that the entire team working towards shared goals when individual remote workers working from geographically dispersed locations can be extremely daunting – especially in the absence of the right tracking tools and a flexible remote working mindset.
• Security and compliance: Remote teams also face the brunt of compromised security and compliance. Because individual members are working from home, using their personal laptops, mobile phones, and home Internet connections to communicate and collaborate with peers and access corporate resources, the chances of security incidents and compliance issues are extremely high.
• Data fragmentation: Remote teams also have to contend with data being fragmented across different tools, systems, files, and personal hand-written documents. When data is stored in different places – instead of a single unified repository – it makes it difficult for teams to access the information that they need to make the right development decisions.
• Poor quality software: Lastly, poor software quality is also a challenge most teams face while working from different locations. Lack of direction and in the absence of the right project and team tracking tools make it difficult for remote teams to have a clear understanding of targets, which can ultimately lead to product quality slipping.
DevOps teams that are used to working with peers from a single office location find the transition to a remote setup difficult. In the absence of the right tools and the right mindset, teamwork gets greatly impacted – so does software delivery efficiency.
Here are 7 best practices to help with remote DevOps:
Ensuring DevOps efficiency in a remote work setup requires teams to communicate and bond with each other – even in the absence of face-to-face interactions and meetings.
Looking at the current global scenario, it might be safe to say that remote working might just be the future of work. Although becoming fully remote comes with its own challenges, with the right approach, strategies, and processes in place, organizations will be able to move to a 100% remote setup and continue to meet their organizational needs with just as much ease.
In the end, what makes remote DevOps teams really successful is an individual commitment and collective team behavior; it is only through this outlook that organizations can ensure accurate decision-making, timely conflict management, and constant empowerment.